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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Keep moving throughout your day -- even at work -- if you really want to lose weight and get in shape.

Just a Sec

By Susan Howard

My clients that have successfully lost weight have one thing in common.  They wanted it.

They wanted to drop excess pounds more than they wanted to keep them.  You want it, too, you say…but how much?  Instead of excuses they found possibilities to make healthy choices and squeezed in moments to move no matter what.

Over the years, I’ve received photos of clients doing push ups in the snow, squats in an O.R. hospital room, biking in the rain, and crunches on the floor of a plush office.

We are animals meant to MOVE.  Go get ‘em tiger.  Get back in touch with this need, the fire within you. Feel your heart pumping.  Steal away for a quick walk during your lunch break, something to make you feel alive in your body.

Here’s a quick workout if you don’t know what to do.

Squats – 20 reps

Push ups – 20 reps (or just hold the top of a push up and count to ..read more

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Make sure what you eat is worth it for your overall health and wellness.

Cheater Cheater

By Susan Howard

Growing up in my family we had one very important rule. The rule was that you could eat anything, but it had to be worth it. With this rule, you didn’t have to take into consideration nutritional value — but base the worthiness of the food on taste.

Being the granddaughter of Jack and Eddie Peck, owners of Peck’s Bakery, I had a lot of chances to sample. This became my first of many opportunities to acquire a healthy (not so healthy) sugar addiction.

The one thing my grandparents did religiously was keep their offerings fresh.  They insured this by selling day-old treats at half price.  The customers knew that what they were buying was made that morning.  (Later, upon selling the bakery to a guy who did not practice the same diligence, the store went out of business in 6 months. People knew.)  For herself, Grandma Eddie always had to make sure things were piping hot and just out ..read more

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A Los Angeles trainer admits to eating unhealthy at times and is making a commitment to reduce the amount of desserts she eats per month.

Confessions of a Los Angeles Trainer

By Susan Howard

My whole life I have basically been able to eat what I want.  Though I profess healthy eating (and mainly eat fairly well), I also have eaten my share of junk, like fries, pastas and sugar.  I naturally have a pretty quick processing metabolism — (don’t hate) — and my workouts have improved that function, so I have always been able to get away with being less than perfect with my eating.

Until now.  The day has come that my body does not want to process things as quickly and my extra snacks have nowhere to go, but to store.  Okay, turn to fat.  I am okay with this and have decided it’s probably time for me to enter into the adult world and limit my intake of crap.  Cupcakes are for five-year-olds, seriously.

So this year I am allowing myself one dessert a month. If I’m freaking out, I’ll have my one out, but I will no longer mindlessly shove ..read more

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Weight loss starts by loving yourself and then getting more active in your daily life.

What’s Wrong With YOU

By Susan Howard

One of the blocks to successful weight loss is feeling bad about yourself.  You’re a blob.  You have no will power.  You are lazy.  You will never look like Channing Tatum or Jessica Alba or whoever is seemingly hotter than you.  So why bother?  The reason we get heavier and heavier is we have given up on ourselves.

Maybe we were in shape, but we got injured or had a lifestyle change — married, divorced, family tragedy, new job, depression the list goes on.  We are very good at coming up with excuses that even WE believe.  Random reasons we can’t make time to exercise.

Well, all that is going to end NOW.

Hear this.

You are GREAT.  Whatever size, whatever shape, you are wonderful and sexy and amazing.  First things first, we must love ourselves.  Easy to write or say and super hard to do.

There was a study done with women in which half were handed a notebook with an ultra ..read more

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Best Investment of My Life

By Susan Howard

Every once in a while I get a really kind compliment that makes me smile and gets me thinking.

One of my most successful weight loss clients told me she was talking to another doctor in the hospital she works and she said training with me was the single best investment in her health that she has ever made.

Wow.  That was nice.  Why is this I wondered?  She cited the workouts, of course, and the accountability and the friendship too.

This may turn into an accidental love letter but here it goes.

I have been training for a long time and honestly some of my clients have been with me for over 10 years and a genuine relationship with a lot of them has occured.  Not only do I care about their workouts and diet, I care about them.

In this day and age of phones and screen time, we really are closed off to each other, and in turn, closed off ..read more

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Make a commitment to workout every week!

I Get So Emotional, Baby

By Susan Howard

“My mother-in-law is coming into town.”

“I have a super stressed work week.”

“My kid vomited on my running shoes.”

Whatever excuse you come up with not to workout, needs to be tossed aside.

“But, Susan,” you plea, “I really do have a super packed work week and my dog did chew up my iPhone with my run keeper app.”

Over my last decade of training clients, I’ve trained people with various degrees of busy-ness. And with every one of them, I stress that they shouldn’t think about whether they want to or have time to workout. Just start moving for 20 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week and don’t stop committing to that.  My clients with the highest degree of consistency always get the best results.

“You can spend one hour working out or 24 hours dead.”

Having returned from a four-day fitness conference this is one of the messages that still rings in my head.  It’s true — the bounty of ..read more

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Why you should keep working out even if you have pain in your body.

Watch Me Nay Nay

By Susan Howard

Unless you are in the NFL, don’t play through the pain.  Unlike what you may have heard from other sources, pain in your body is a little message telling you that something is off or being overused while something else may be weak and non functioning.

Switch up your workout if you feel pain. If you are running try spinning or swimming; if you are doing a lot of heavy lifting, try Pilates, and if you are doing a bunch of yoga, pick up some weights. Our bodies get tired of the same input day in and day out and we can get repetitive stress disorder which can wear down the ligaments and attachments and overdevelop the muscles in a certain plane of motion.

If you are in a lot of pain, get with a personal trainer to help you out.  Don’t be sidelined by your pain.  The instinct to think, “I messed up my knee so I can’t go ..read more

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Double Your Results With Eccentric

By Susan Howard

Recently I returned from a fitness conference where I took several courses and workouts from some of the top minds in fitness, the P90X guy (Tony Horton) to the Gatorade research folks, to the industry leaders in kinesology and body testing.

One presenter that had a big impact on me was this quirky guy from the University of New Mexico (of course) talking about eccentric movement.

What is eccentric movement and why do I care about it?

Eccentric is the opposite of concentric, so in a bicep curl the concentric is the “up” movement when you contract the muscle and the eccentric is when you elongate it towards the pull of gravity.

I signed up for the class to learn more because, contrary to conventional wisdom, the contraction part of a move is not nearly as important as the eccentric part and I wanted to know more.

Here’s what I got.  You will garner 40 percent better results by focusing on the eccentric ..read more

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