Hot Hot Hot

By Susan Howard

Temperatures have risen to 116 degrees here in LA, even the desert succulents are drooping in our front yard.  It’s challenging for me, the fitness guru, to want to get in the gym and work up a sweat seeing as all I have to do is dip my head outside and I am dripping.  What to do when all you want to do is squeezing into a ball in your refrigerator or watch a double feature in the blasting AC?

Here are a few ideas to stay on track when it’s boiling out.

First off, if you have a POOL or access to a public one by all means get in that thing!!!  You could buy some of those webbed gloves to get some extra strength training in, but honestly swimming laps is great too.

Next you could find an iceskating ring and join in on one of their public sessions.  If you’ve been reading my blogs you’ll know I have been getting really into skating, but especially on a hot day it’s  a refreshing way to get your heart rate up and have some serious fun.  Lots of places let you rent skates right there.

If you normally go for a run, you could do a day pass at a gym.  No, it’s not the best deal going for a one time try.  Expect to pay $20 bucks or so for the day, but there is AC and if you go to an upscale one they may even have cucumber water, hey hey!

Lastly, stay away from high heart rate raising classes like bootcamps and spinning until it cools down.  It’s easy to over heat in these types of classes.  You can still hit it by doing hard strength training routines with a trainer, with an online video or old school calisthenics.  Take breaks often to cool down and drink water or even Gatorade.  Be sure not to get your heart rate up too high unless you are in AC.

Oh yeah and drink some cold ice water, down the whole pitcher, and eat juicy fruits.

Don’t let the high heat be excuse to take a fitness vacation, just work differently smarter.

Stay Ready.

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Much Obliged

By Susan Howard

Like in an annoying friendship, hanging out with someone because of guilt or feeling like you are “supposed to” leads to a destructive unhappy life.  My new responds when someone tries to lay a trip on me about not calling is, “I don’t do that guilt thing.”  I verbally reject the bogus accusations because, guess what, I am an adult and I get to do what I want, when I want.  As I protest, it is obvious I have previously fallen victim and bought into their heavy negative feelings.  In the past I have felt remorse and crappy about myself.  That is why now I have to reject the lame attitudes out loud to prove it to myself.  “I’ll call you when I am damn ready.”

Which brings me to this; food.

You have no obligation to eat what you ordered at a restaurant.  

You have no obligation to eat what someone else ordered at a restaurant.

You have no obligation ..read more

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Hail Mary

What do Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have in common? That’s right, with the football game on the line and time running out, they have each perfected the Hail Mary. They can throw a bomb half the length of the field, into the end zone for the game winning touchdown.

What does this have to do with you and why do you care? Maybe you don’t even like football and could give two hoots about the Superbowl. Fear not. My usage of the term “The Hail Mary” is to be used thusly; if it’s the end of the day and you haven’t had a chance to workout because of work obligations, travel, family events whatever, you still can throw a Hail Mary.

You should answer the question what could be your Hail Mary routine and keep it in your mind and write it out so you know what to do in a pinch.

Picture this; it’s 9:30 pm and you are ..read more

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Dark Daze

By Susan Howard

It’s a rough time right now, and all of us are being taken down by the political animosity in one way of another. Let’s face it, it’s stressful! We can pretend not to pay attention, but it’s impossible not to notice the frenzy around us. Even Tibetan monks are struggling on mountain tops, Namaste.

The only way around the craziness is through. Get sweaty, take action, walk in nature, write letters, wave flags, take a knee. You do you. Don’t let the dark cloud leave you lethargic and lame. Don’t let this time be an excuse to get lazy or be overwhelmed with anxiety. It’s time to stand up and be on the go.

I don’t mean this metaphorically, I actually want you to get to the gym, jump on your bike or go swim laps. Positive energy in your body creates positive thoughts in your head which in turn leads to calm focused decisions.

We all want change, but what ..read more

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Sense Memory

By Susan Howard

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 ..read more

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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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