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All the Energy You Need…And Then Some

October 29th, 2014

Boulder

Last week I had a tough night sleep. You know the nights where no matter what position you find yourself in, it just doesn’t seem comfortable? My first session began at 5:30 am, and so the few hours I managed to spend in bed didn’t really add up to much energy in the morning. However, as soon as the first clients came in the door, my energy shot way up and we had a great session.

Has this ever happened to you?

And have you ever wondered why you are able to go from such low energy to such high energy in a matter of minutes?

My answer is that energy can come from two sources – Willpower and Purpose.

Willpower requires sheer determination. It requires that you put your head down and gut it out. Willpower allows us to achieve many things. With enough of it, we can reach a goal and feel successful. However, willpower requires an inordinate amount of energy. It is like pushing a boulder uphill. Can it be done? Absolutely! But how much effort, force and energy does it take to get there?

We can take that a step further and say that willpower is the reason that many people begin and then fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. They start off with a high level of energy and commitment toward their goal. The first few weeks they are ‘all in’, but as the proverbial ‘boulder’ gets heavy, their energy starts to wane. It becomes harder to push and eventually they give up and go back to their old ways.

Ultimately, willpower is an inefficient method of reaching a goal because it requires such a high amount of energy to maintain. It will take us a certain amount of the way, but if we really want to use our energy efficiently, we have to look toward Purpose.

Like willpower, Purpose can help us achieve many things. It can lead us to our goals and make us feel successful. The difference is that purpose requires little to no effort. Purpose means aligning with your passion and doing the thing you love to do. Purpose also requires an understanding that the reason you are doing something exists somewhere outside of you. Purpose gives us meaning, and when we tap into that inner drive it requires a significantly smaller amount of energy output on our part.

In comparison to pushing a boulder uphill with willpower, purpose is like a having a winch hauling the boulder up the hill. The winch is our purpose, and when it’s connected, all we need to do is gently guide the boulder as the winch does the work. Purpose requires little effort or output of energy and propels you quickly and easily toward your goal.
Connecting back to New Year’s Resolutions, you can probably think of examples where those who have a Purpose stay with it. If someone wants to be healthy so they can see their grandchildren grow, they will be more likely to lose the weight and keep it off. If someone wants to exercise more regularly so they can spend more time doing activities with their spouse, it will be easier for them to stay on track.

Bringing this back to you — just ask yourself the question:

Do you want more ENERGY?

Then connect with your Purpose. Find your WHY! Align with the inner drive that creates the meaning in your life. When you do, you will have all the energy you need….and then some!

It is about BREAST CANCER!!

October 19th, 2014

I don’t often have the reaction that I am going to share with you today. Most of the time I am easy-going and can ‘roll with the punches’ that come. However, I cannot keep my mouth shut on this issue because it is really bothering me!

This week I saw SEVERAL (not just ONE) people posting about fitness events they are hosting to help support BREAST CANCER. I LOVE that people are onboard with raising funds for research and to help those who have been afflicted by this terrible disease. I LOVE that people are hosting events to help raise awareness and to give support to people and families who have been impacted by breast cancer. What I CAN’T STAND is that they are diminishing it by titling their programs “Burpees for Boobies” or “Barbells for Boobs” or any other combination of words like that! Honestly, even as I write those words I have a visceral reaction to them. Those words are so offensive!

I have thought about this for a few days before responding because I want my words to be heard. BREAST CANCER is a SERIOUS disease. This year alone, more than 230,000 people will find out they have it. In fact, it affects 1 in 8 women, and is the 2nd leading cause of death in the female population! It doesn’t just impact women, however. More than 2300 men will be diagnosed with it this year as well. I will guess that almost every one of you reading this has been affected by this disease because you have had it or know someone who has. That is SERIOUS!

And yet, as a culture, we are diminishing and degrading the problem by using a word that is infantile at best and derogatory at the worst. The word, ‘boob’ or ‘boobies’ is demeaning! It is a way of describing a body part that is silly and ridiculous. It has NOTHING to do with breast cancer, and using that word diminishes the suffering and anguish that those with this illness experience.

Words are POWERFUL. The way we say something and the vocabulary we use makes a difference in the way the message is received. We are talking about BREAST CANCER, not about boobs! There is a SIGNIFICANT difference between the two!

Think about it — if we wanted to do “Dips for Dicks” to raise funds for testicular cancer, would there be an outcry? What about “Crunches for Cocks?”

The truth is that it wouldn’t happen! No one would stand for it because it is NOT OKAY to use those words! So why, then, is it okay to use “boobies?”

As I was thinking about writing this blog, I decided to ask some of the women I know about how they feel about this word and how it is being used to help raise awareness of about the disease of breast cancer. EVERY SINGLE WOMAN I spoke with said that they feel completely offended by this trend. They talked about the “I love boobies” bracelets that are being sold by organizations and companies. Although the underlying purpose is to raise money and awareness, the message is skewed. We use the word, “boobies” to make fun of a body part. We use the word ‘boob’ to laugh at someone or some thing. In many cases, they are simply marketing ploys that have NOTHING TO DO WITH BREAST CANCER!!

I could make a strong feminist case for this if I wanted to continue here. I could talk about how we have made so many strides forward in our country to make sure that women are taken seriously and seen as worthwhile individuals. I could argue that women are not just the sum of their body parts. But what I really want to do is raise YOUR awareness so that you begin to question the practice – to help YOU understand that words are important and consider that just because it’s happening doesn’t mean that it’s okay- and ultimately, I hope I make YOU think twice before using those words again.

breast cancerIf you have comments about this, or want to raise your voice along with me or against me, please feel free to comment below.

Lessons From My Puppy

October 11th, 2014

IMG_0565

Even at 10 months old, my dog, Cody,  is a creature of habit. Every day we take a morning stroll up the street. Every day he walks up the left side of the street and comes down on the right. Every day he goes the bathroom in the same yard and we come back home to get his breakfast which he sits and waits for expectantly.  In the afternoon we take another walk – this time to the park. He knows we are going even before I tell him, and he waits patiently for me at the back door. When you think about it, it’s really incredible that he has established these routines and patterns at such a young age.

Then again, maybe it isn’t.

We are all creatures of habit. We all have established routines that we conduct every day. Think about the way you brush your teeth, the route you take to work or the way you get your table set for dinner. We have created patterns and rituals that help us get things done more efficiently and once they are ingrained in our mind, we don’t even think about them. We just do them.

The habits we have created tell alot about the kind of person we are, and also help to determine whether we are successful in our endeavors….or not. Successful people have different daily rituals than those who are not. Productive people have different daily rituals than those who are not. People who are content and happy in their lives have a different set of daily rituals than those who do not.

Consider the daily habits of a person who is overweight and unhealthy, for example. Don’t you think they have a different set of daily behaviors than someone who is fit, healthy and active?

This morning Cody reminded me of the importance of creating and maintaining daily rituals that allow you to live the life you want to lead. Let me share with you some of my best practices right now:

1. Meditate for 10-15 minutes every morning.

2.Spend 10-15 minutes stretching in the morning.

3. Write in my journal for 10-15 minutes a day (right now that is a gratitude journal)

4. Exercise for 30-45 minutes every day.

5. Have 1 hour of time in the evening where the kids and I turn off our phones.

6. Spend focused time with each of my 3 kids helping them with homework and talking with them each night.

7. Walk and play with my dog every morning and afternoon.

8. Get my work done in 25 minute segments to help me keep focused and on task.

These are some of my current best practices. What are yours?  Feel free to share them in the comments below.

In the meantime, I am going to go and hug Cody and thank him for being my inspiration today! :-)

Little Things Matter

October 8th, 2014

Little things matter

Last week I was in San Diego at a Mentorship Program hosted by Todd Durkin. Approximately 70 fitness professionals gathered from all over the world to learn about themselves, about their business and about life. As I left the conference, I was struck by the thought that ‘little things matter’. I had opportunities over the weekend where I noticed that something as small as buying someone a cup of coffee, taking time to listen and really focus on someone or simply giving someone a hug have made a difference. I am encouraging each of you to do some little things this week. Impact as many people as you can by doing small things, and watch what a difference it makes.

Leading Long Island Personal Trainer Exposes 5 Fat Loss Myths

July 28th, 2013

Being a Long Island personal trainer for the past 15+ years, I can tell you that fat loss myths are rampant. One of the biggest reasons false information is so common is because there is too much information out there. Simply do a google search for “fat loss diet” and you’ll see what I mean. One source will tell you that a low carb diet is the way to go. Another will tell you that you need plenty of carbs for energy. The next search result will lead you to a page claiming a high fat diet is the answer. If you keep looking you’ll find that fat is the enemy. Rather than keeping your head spinning, let’s get back to the basics. Simple education combined with some common sense will go a long way. Being a Long Island personal trainer with hundreds of success stories, I promise to not steer you wrong. Here are 5 Fat Loss Myths to avoid…

1. Resistance Exercise will Make you Bulky

This one takes the cake, especially for women. Women have on average 10% less testosterone than men. Even with all the extra muscle building hormones, men find it very difficult to pack on muscle mass.

With steroids, yes! Those grotesque looking female bodybuilders on the magazine covers are taking anabolic steroids. Lifting weights naturally will have the opposite effect. It will make you look more toned and increase femininity.

2. More Crunches will Reduce my Stomach

This is something we have to constantly drill into the heads of our Long Island personal training clients. Many of them are convinced that hundreds (even thousands) of crunches are the key to a “six pack.” We don’t even believe crunches are the best exercise for the abs and core but I’ll save that for another article.

While crunches and other ab exercises can help develop the muscles of the midsection, it will do very little, if anything to remove the fat that is covering them. This is known as “spot reducing” and unfortunately is a Big Fat Myth!

3. More Aerobic Exercise will Lead to Long Term Fat Loss Success

Sorry to burst your bubble here. I hate when I see people dependent on tons of aerobic exercise to maintain a certain weight. Eventually they run out of time in the day. They start with 30 minutes per day. After plateauing they bump it up to one hour. Sometimes even 2 hours. Next they are quitting their jobs and disowning their families just to get their aerobic exercise in.

Too much aerobic exercise, especially combined with a lack of proper nourishment can lead to muscle wasting. This will have the opposite effect of what you want. Metabolism will slow. The good news is that there is a better way; which our Farmingdale personal training clients are thankful for!

4. I’m Stuck with a Slow Metabolism and Can’t Lose Weight

Many people are stuck with a victim mentality, not a certain metabolism. While genetics play a role, blaming your fitness level on them is a lame excuse. There are so many lifestyle changes you can make which will change your metabolism for the better.

What changes can you make? I’m glad you asked.;) Here are a few…

• Eat a healthy breakfast daily
• Write down what you eat for a few days
• Perform exercise on most days with some of those days increasing the intensity (for your level)
• Get 8 hours of sleep

5. Losing Weight on the Scale Equals a Leaner and Healthier Body

People that focus on developing healthy habits rather than the number on a scale tend to do much better. The scale can be misleading. We do periodically take measurements of our clients including scale weight. This is just to make sure they are on track over the long haul. Weighing yourself every day is a mistake. Stop it. Seriously!

Bottom Line:
Fat Loss doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. As a Long Island personal trainer, I encourage my clients to make exercise fun by doing things they enjoy. We also recommend exercising for other reasons such as health, fitness, performance, and stress relief.

Focus on healthy habits while maintaining a positive attitude. Get as much enjoyment as you can out of your exercise routine. Make sure your caloric intake isn’t too high.

Keep a journal of your nutrition for a few days. This will help you see where you can cut some unnecessary calories. Over time, you will be astonished with your results!

Billy Hofacker is a personal trainer on Long Island committed to helping people get into the best shape of their lives and have fun doing it. He graduated Cum Laude from Queens College with a degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science. His fitness facility, Total Body Boot Camp, in Farmingdale, NY has been voted Best Boot Camp on Long Island 2 years in a row by Long Island Press Magazine.

Weight? What?

May 7th, 2013

Biggest Winner is amongst us and we know what that means: time to only eat fruits and veggies, starve yourself from sweets, and lock yourself inside to avoid the temptation of attending the grand opening of the Olive Garden.

Lies! No need to take such drastic measures while trying to lose weight. You can still be “normal” and enjoy a nice dined out meal with friends and family. You just need to be smarter than the fork!

According to Prevention Magazine, there 13 simple rules to take into consideration while dinning out:
1. Know before you go: Check out the menu online and be prepared to order
2. Sit in a quiet spot: Those who sit in busier parts of a restaurant are distracted by what is around and lose track of how much they have consumed
3. Be the first to order: This way, you cannot be influenced by what someone else ordered
4. Have it your way: Don’t be afraid to ask the server if modifications can be made or substitutions offered
5. Don’t be seduced by words: Watch those descriptive words, they can trick your taste buds into thinking “savory deep fried chicken with an extra dab of ranch dressing” is delicious and good for you
6. Stay away from snacking: Appetizers=great way to pack in the extra fat before a meal
7. Make a meal out of apps: If there are healthy options for apps, try it for an entrée (which is closer to an actual portion size anyway!) or pair it with a salad
8. Be salad savvy: Just because it is a salad doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Be sure to top your salad with low-cal, fresh veggies and steer clear of toppings such as cheese, bacon, or croutons. Even try the dressing on the side and dip fork as necessary versus drenching the salad.
9. Go on the low side: Swap out the high-cal side dish for a low-fat option such as a double order of steamed veggies.
10. Choose low-fat methods: Determine how your meal is prepared. Ask your server if the meal can be baked or grilled versus fried.
11. Enjoy (a bit) of alcohol: If you decide to kick back with an adult beverage, try to limit it to 150 calories or less for example: 5 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz of liquor, 12 oz light beer
12. Practice portion control: If we went to France, we would all starve. Portion sizes have gotten out of control in America. To minimize portions doggie bag half the meal, eat slower, and listen to your internal hunger signals.
13. Practice the 3-bite rule: Can’t avoid that chocolate craving? Try 3 bites of the dessert and set it aside.

www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips-cut-calories-restaurant

Still can’t shake that sweet tooth? Head home and try these easy-to-make, low-calorie black bean brownies. I know, black beans and chocolate? Bear with me, they are delicious and a great alternative when you are reaching for a sweet.

Ingredients: (1) 15 oz can unseasoned black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup water
1 package brownie mix

Preparation: Puree beans and water in food processor or blender. Add brownie mix and bake according to package instructions. No oil or eggs necessary!
Serves: Approximately 16

Nutritional information: 80 calories, 3g fat, 8g carbs, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein

 

by Christina D’Amico, CSCS

And the Greatest of These is Love

April 22nd, 2013

“He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me’.”

-Chris Bauman

This quote came from the brother of Jeff Bauman, one of the heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings. If you haven’t heard Jeff’s story, and the story of Carlos Arredondo, the man who helped Jeff, please take some time to read about them:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/16/jeff-bauman-jr-both-legs-amputated-dad-says_n_3094882.html

http://lightbox.time.com/2013/04/18/the-hero-in-the-cowboy-hat-carlos-arredondos-story-by-eugene-richards/?iid=lf%7Caround#1

Why am I sharing the story of these two heroes today? Because their stories are what we need to remember.

I know that we have all been watching the events unfold in Boston this week. Not only do most of us know someone in Boston or someone who has been involved in the Boston marathon, but we are also Americans who care about what is happening to the people in our country.

At the same time, it is so easy to get caught up in the fear of the event. Fear has a way of sweeping over us and paralyzing us. It has a way of dragging us into a cesspool of negativity. It causes normally accepting people to point fingers, and that fear is continually fed by a 24 hour news stream!

What I want to remember, and hope that you will, too, is that FEAR and LOVE exist side by side! And at the end of this tragic story, where there was and still is, great FEAR, there was, and still is, great LOVE!

We have a choice to which one we focus on the most. If we choose to focus on fear, negative emotions, mean words and tragic consequences continue. If we choose to focus on love, positive emotions, uplifting words and better endings follow.

What happened in Boston was beyond comprehension! Four people are gone. Countless others have been wounded for life. That is unacceptable. But the way to fight it is to focus on GOOD rather than the evil.

Jeff and Carlos are not the only heroes that emerged in this moment. There are so many others!! I urge you to find their stories. Seek out the information on those who helped in a time of great fear. Focus on those who are still here. Pray for the families of those who aren’t.

As I finish writing this morning, I am reminded of one of my favorite Bible verses – I Corinthians 13:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

80% Off Course

June 13th, 2012

In an article I read this week by Chris Trout*, he shares an interesting statistic that “a jet flying from New York to LA is off course 80% of the time.” Think about that – as you fly across the country, you could be off course 80% of the flight, and yet, still make it to your destination. Now Shawn, as an air traffic controller, can speak to that statistic better than me, but it still got me thinking.

What if that same statistic applies to us? Is it possible for us to be off track the majority of the time and still make it to our end goal?

I think so, and I want to share an interesting analogy in order to demonstrate my point.

My nephew joined the Children’s Choir at his church. Rehearsals are at 7pm on Sunday evenings. My sister KNOWS, without a doubt, that he will be in his seat in the front pew at 7pm on Sunday night, ready for rehearsal to begin. What she doesn’t know is HOW he is going to get there. He might choose to come in the back door, race down the center aisle and skid into the front pew just in time. Another possibility is that he walks in the side door, pauses to get a drink of water in the fountain, and saunters into the sanctuary with plenty of time to spare. There are endless choices that he might make including crawling under the pews, chatting with his friends or stopping to read the quotes on the stained glass windows. However, no matter which way he chooses, he will still be in the front pew at 7pm. In fact, the only way he won’t be in that pew on time is if he chooses to stand still and do nothing.

What’s important is that it really doesn’t matter which way he chooses to go. In fact, most of his choices – perhaps 80% of them – will even lead him temporarily off the course. However, as long as he moves, he will eventually reach his goal. As long as he makes a choice to walk forward, he will be presented with opportunities that will help him get there. He will also have experiences that will help him along the way.

The same is true of us. As we strive to create businesses, design websites and brochures, or decide upon our career paths, it doesn’t really matter HOW we get there. What matters is that we know WHAT we are trying to achieve. As long as we are clear about WHAT we want, we can begin to move forward, make choices, take action and slowly make our way there. Some of those choices will turn us off course. Some of those decisions and action steps will temporarily turn us in a different direction. But, with constant progress and small adjustments along the way, we will all reach our goals.

Based on some of the threads and the phone conversation last week, I wanted to share this thought today. When you are very clear about where you’re going, you can make choices that move you forward. Even if your decision throws you off course for a moment, you will still get to your goal if you keep your sights on it. And along the way, you will enjoy new opportunities and many experiences that will make the journey rewarding as well.

Your ‘front pew’ is waiting, so start walking!

And that’s just a thought…

Love, Kelli

*Chris Trout, “Are You Blocking Your Own Clarity,” http://www.strengthsinfocus.com/2012/01/are-you-blocking-your-own-clarity/

Dress to the 8′s

June 13th, 2012

Somewhere along the way our society became very casual in the way we dress. Maybe it began with the concept of “Casual Friday’s” in the workplace. For those of you too young to remember, you might be surprised to know that the idea of ‘dressing down’ or wearing jeans to work was extremely controversial at one time. Now it seems to be the norm.

I recognize that even as I am writing this, I am in a profession that takes the crown for casual wear. After all, we sport spandex and sneakers every day! It doesn’t get much more casual than that!

I also realize that I am not living in an urban area where the dress code might be a little more ‘upscale’. In general, however, I believe the trend is out there, and quite frankly, I just don’t think people dress the way they used to.

We had a discussion about this at the Studio a few months ago, and the consensus was that we have become very sloppy. Being ‘comfy’ has taken the place of a ‘dress for success’ mentality. In fact, you can walk into any store or coffee shop and see teens dressed in pajama bottoms and women wearing extra large sweatshirts with sweatpants sagging off their backsides.

My question is – what have we lost in this trend?

In a time when there is an epidemic of low self-esteem, it might not come as a a surprise that our dress code has gone so far south. With obesity at an all time high, it’s pretty easy to see why we dress for comfort rather than results. But I am a firm believer in the idea that you act the way that you dress, regardless of your size, shape or age. What we wear on the outside is a direct reflection of what is happening inside, and that is where I think we have lost something very important.

So then the question becomes — how do we change it?

Well, at Studio 8 Fitness, we decided to create an occasion for people to dress up. Instead of ‘dressing to the 9’s’, we decided that at Studio 8 we dress to the 8’s, and that became the name of the event. In addition to giving people a chance to dress up, we also announced the winners of our Biggest Winner Challenge and inducted 5 people into the Hall of Gr8’s as recognition for training with me for more than 3 years.

With all of that on the plate, it had to be a great night. And it lived up to its name! People who are usually dressed in stretch pants and shorts were decked out in beautiful dresses and sport coats. The women were stunning as they showed off their toned arms and long legs. The men looked healthy and strong! Throughout the party you could see people standing tall. In fact I joked with them that for all the time we work on posture, I didn’t realize I just needed to have them dress up in order to stand so straight.

The reality was that they felt good about themselves and it showed in the way they stood, in the way they carried on conversations with complete strangers and in the way they laughed all night.

So, I offer this thought to you as a possible idea. I’m not suggesting we can change the world by creating a single night for people to dress up, but if we want to help our clients feel good, we need to find ways which allow them to show off their physical success. Designing an event, posting before and after photos, or creating other unique ways for people to ‘stand tall’ will foster self esteem and make people feel better.

And that’s just a thought…

With love, Kelli

P.S. You can check out a video of our Dress to the 8’s Party at this link — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mME0FS2Lg5M&feature=plcp

Through the Eyes of a Child

April 26th, 2010

Last week we had a few beautiful days here in New York. On my way to school on one of those mornings, I was thrilled to see that trees were flowering, bushes were budding and new flowers were coming up out of the ground. When I got out of my car, I was immediately bowled over by the scent of fresh cut grass. To me, that is the smell that promises the coming of Spring. I stood outside and inhaled that scent for a few minutes, savoring it, before heading into the building.

Beauty is hard to find in this corner of the city. In order to see it, you have to look past broken windows and run-down houses, some burned by fire and others boarded up because they are no longer fit for anyone to live in. You have to look over the garbage on the sidewalks and ignore the broken down vehicles in driveways along the street. Despite all of those things, on this particular morning, it was there.

As I walked down the hall to my first class, I was smiling. From around the corner, one of the 4th graders came running up. “Do you want to read my poem, Ms. C?” he asked his excitement clearly visible in the lilt of his voice and smile in his eyes.

“Of course,” I answered.

I know this boy pretty well. He is the product of a broken home, living in foster care, struggling to make his way in the world. At the same time, he has an irresistible energy, an impish look on his face, and a constant smile. He always hugs me when he sees me, and tries very hard to be ‘good’.

Quite honestly, when he said he had a poem, I was a bit shocked. I know he likes to draw, but didn’t know he liked to write. So, I was interested in the fact that he had written one, and was more than happy to read it.

The simple poem was written on a piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook. The left hand edge of the paper was shredded, and the lines of writing were scribbled all the way around the paper. It took me a moment to figure out where it began, but eventually I found the title. Written with a dash in front of it, the poem was called “-Things we see Outside”.

It took only two lines before I had tears in my eyes.

-Things we see Outside

At the window, the air smelled like grass.

I saw flowers on the side of the school building.

We saw cars in the parking lot – gray and black ones

And the lunch room door with a gray doorknob.

It felt like a nice day and nothing would go wrong.

The tree had little green leaves like puffy hair.

Two blackbirds walked together in the grass.

To make the story even better— I asked him if I could make a copy to hang in my office and he gladly agreed. Then I headed to class. Ironically, the classroom I was going to was his teacher from last year. When I walked in, this poem was on top of my books and I thought I would share it. I explained that it was written by one of her previous students, and she listened along with the class as I read it out loud. The kids clapped when I finished and all wanted to talk about the things they noticed on their way to school today. The teacher sat there with a huge smile on her face, and said, “You just made my day.”

A young boy’s thoughts, a moment of sharing, and a difference was made.

I hope each of you will take a moment this week to share a story, write a poem, take time to look at a picture drawn by a child, or just stand outside and smell the fresh cut grass. Any one of those things will make a difference in your day!

With love,

Kelli