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Can you ski if you are overweight?

By | Fitness, Training

As the obesity epidemic continues to grow, at least in America, one may question if it is safe to ski if you are overweight. Being overweight causes many uncomfortable situations, among them fitting into skiboots and taking turns too fast, yet,  being overweight does not make it any more unsafe to ski. In fact, there are no more reported ski injuries for overweight skiers. That being said, giving yourself a ski fitness and flexibility plan before you hit the slopes is  possibly the best thing you can  do for yourself and others near you! Not only will you ski more confidently, but your ski conditioning plan will most likely help you loose a few pounds as well.

So, where do you get started? Plan to spend at least 15 minutes a day with dynamic stretches to loosen up your muscles and to strengthen them so they can handle the stress and endurance they need to put up with your body on the slopes.

Here are some sample beginner strengthening stretches:

  1. Leg swings front and back: 10 repetitions 1-3 sets
  2. Leg swings side to side: 10 repetitions 1-3 sets
  3. Standing quad stretch, hold left leg with right hand and reverse, (Not the same hand), more on this secret later…
  4. Standing hamstring stretch- dynamic, toe up- heel firmly pushing into the ground.
  5. Twist your body, left and right and let your arms swing freely  – this is very important, as it activates your inner core and outer core in the way it is being used in skiing.

For more on ski stretches and ski conditioning, contact me personally or look for my ski conditioning program on my website.

The Secret of Midlife Parenting and Fitness

By | Fitness

 

While many parents find excuses for not exercising and staying fit while raising kids, there are those who do. What is their secret? Some fit parents, share their insights.

Jeff, a 48 year old dad of a 14 and 16 year old, deals with time pressure by making fitness a PRIORITY. Getting up early, and sharing responsibilities with his wife. What drives him, is his children ASKING him to do things with them – playing basketball, running and biking. They like to play beach games together – throwing footballs, Frisbees and surfing. He knows it is a small window of years, when his kids want to spend time with him, so he takes advantage of it, and stays fit so he CAN! He loves the fact that he can “compete” with them, and keep up with them!

His recommendation to other parents is to simply make it a priority – everyone is busy… There is ZERO downside to staying fit. You have to keep up or stay behind – a lonely place to be.

His final words: “ I don’t want my body to get to a point that I cannot do something that I want to do. Exercising gives me these options”

How to prevent falls

By | Fitness, Training

Falling is the number one injury to Seniors. About 1/3 can expect to fall each year. The risk is greatly increased for people with Parkinsons – the imbalance, stiffness and festation that often accompanies this disease.

I have seen that even after minor falls, people become fearful of doing the same activity again. Major falls can of course be debilitating and even cause death.

So, where do most falls happen and how can one prevent them? It turns out –  most falls happen at home. Your home has many hidden hazards such as loose carpets or rugs, cords, water and oil spills. Then there are clothes, slippers, and socks laying around on the floor. Keep a diligent watch over your floors, ask another person to look over your house with a fresh set of eyes,  and remove anything that you can trip over. A neat, tidy home is essential for your safety.

The most hazardous area in your home is the bathroom – most slips happen while getting in and out of the shower. Install handrails,  safety bars and nonskid mats on the floors.  On stairs, make sure you also have solid handrails and hold on to them!

Another way many people fall is by carrying too much, which blocks the view of the ground. Preferably carry only in one hand, and use the other hand to support you, should you need to.

I have personally been told that of many falls that have occurred, when turning around too quickly in the house.  Be aware of when turning – turn slowly and  hold on to something, in case of sudden dizziness.

The most important step to avoid falls is of course to keep up your strength, balance and agility with regular exercise. Practice picking up your feet rhythmically and with extra height. A simple 5 minute session every day of small marches and squats should be adequate to see improvement it this area.

Focus on one goal at a time

By | Fitness

There are many reasons for working out: to improve your sport performance, lose weight,  (bodyfat), tone muscles, build muscles,  get stronger, overcome or prevent injuries etc.

Often there are several goals we try to achieve, for example fat loss AND better muscle tone. What happens when we try to work on several goals at a time? Sooner or later they come in conflict with each other, And neither goal gets fulfilled.

Sadly, I see this all the time in the gym watching  people train day in and day out, looking exactly the same way, day in and day out, or worse… year in and year out….

When you have several goals, the best thing to do is focus on one at a time. Professional athletes use this method, known as Periodization. For example you can focus on weight loss for six weeks to three months, then strength training for the next six weeks to three months. When you start to see results and you start to plateau, it’s time to change focus.

In order to get the results you desire- a razorsharp focus is of utmost importance!

PREPARE- PROTECT-PRESERVE

By | Fitness

Glowing skin is IN, and this season, we are told by the fashion industry that your biggest accessory right now is – HEALTHY, GLOWING, almost translucent SKIN. And while years ago the science of skin did not make this a possibility at any age, many things have changed in recent decades.

How to PREPARE you skin  – for sun, ski or just a  change in weather should start with what I call “BEAUTY FOODS”. Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, tomatoes, paprika, cucumbers, spinach and blueberries.

In addition, foods rich in Zinc, a mineral essential for  your immune system and repair of skin tissue. While meat and shellfish are rich in Zinc, there are downsides to these foods and many people prefer to stay away from them. Instead, opt for eggs, chickpeas and seeds, such as hemp and pumpkin. Nuts, such as cashews are also good sources of zinc, and lastly, my favorite source of zinc – dark chocolate. Become a skin PREPPER and add these nutrients to your DAILY diet.

PROTECT! When you are skiing, or just outside in the sun (how about a winter vacation to the canary islands?) you need to protect your skin! Gone are the cremes that cause breakouts and melt into your eyes. Nowadays protection products come in wonderful dry formats that give you a beautiful glow as well. My favorite is dr. Dennis Gross Dark spot Sun Defense spf50. A cocktail of wonderful ingredients that nourish the skin and protect against UVA and UVB.

Another one of my favorites is JUST SKIN FOOD – UNSCENTED ORGANIC SUNSCREEN spf30. made with non-nano zinc oxide and other organic oils. No water, no fillers. Awesome and effective! Also a tinted sunscreen is Nature’s brands day cream organic sunscreen, organic oils and sage and bergamot. $15. KARI GRAN makes use of Avo oil and other oils. Nice! SPF 26 ($48). JOSH ROSEBROOK sunscreen also reduces redness, acne and repairs skin. SPF 30 ($50)and KYPRIS – Pot of Shade Organic sunscreen SPF30 ($68).

PRESERVE – Skin preservation is like the cherry on top of the frosting on top of the cake! The popularity of sheet masks have a reason, they work and feel amazing! Other preservation tips are using serums after cleansing and finish with a natural oil. In order to calm the skin after a day on the slopes or beach or walking in the woods, look for ingredients like Chamomile, a potent skin calming substance. Some of my favorites are OSEA – Sea vitamin boost, with organic algae, that reduces damage from sun and wind. ($38). SOLEIL TOUJOURS ($26), organic antioxidant calming mist. For DIY’s you can use Aloe Great Tea Leaf extract, Yogurt, Cucumber, Almond oil, Grape and Sunflower seed oils and Calendula flower extracts. For some reason, mists, cooled in the refrigerator feel so good and if it feels good, the benefits increase exponentially.

 

Moving from HIIT to LIIT!

By | Fitness, Training

For the last couple of years, HIIT, or high intensity interval training has been the buzzword in fitness. Coming up on the scene is its gentler cousin LIIT, known as low intensity interval training.

After doing HIIT training, many people sustained stress fractures and injuries. Mostly because they simply were not ready for such intense stress on the joints and muscles. Studies now show that even the low intensity interval training has great effect on strengthening your heart, shedding more body fat, and being easier on your joints and bones.

In LIIT training, the intervals simply come from changing speeds, or changing directions for about 30-40 minutes. At every 4-5 minutes you should change direction or speed!

This way you would burn about 20% more calories then if you’re walking in a straight line!

Go for it and see how it feels!

Everything starts with your feet

By | Training | 47 Comments

I have for a long time been a proponent of working from the feet up when it comes to sports conditioning, such as in my specialties golfing, skiing, and skating. It is just starting to become in vogue. Yes, feet are not a fancy thing to work, but in my opinion it is the most necessary thing.

The human foot and ankle has 26 bones 33 joins 107 ligaments and 19 muscles.

The soles of the feet have more sensory nerve endings per square centimeter than any other by the body. What this means is, that your feet are the largest communicators to your brain, as to where you are in space. Therefore, The most important, and yet so often missed part of fitness, and recreational sports training,is that you must get strong from the ground up.

I find interesting, that Americans have for years tried to cover up their feet with shoes, heavy inflexible shoes, while in other parts of the world people are walking, and running barefoot and don’t  have as many bone, joint, and ligament problems as Americans. Could this be due to a profit driven shoe industry idea?

I often run into people, who cannot bend their toes, and  find it very painful. Yet, toes MUST BEND  in order to walk properly, and not shuffle your feet. Start bending your toes, flexing your feet, and my guess is your toes won’t break… but be healthier instead.

Joseph Pilates thought the feet to be so important he invented several foot  training apparatus just for this purpose.

My training therefore begins with a conscious awareness of your feet, especially arches which are connected to the core of your body. If this  bores you, then I will assume that being pain-free bores you as well.

However, if interested in improved balance, strength and endurance – the feet need to be at the base of your training.

The True meaning Behind Trendy Fitness buzzwords

By | Fitness | 178 Comments

Ever been confused with what the words functional fitness really means? The exercises and approaches to functional fitness are about as varied as lady Gagas hairdos! To weed out the erroneous, the stupid, and the dangerous approaches, I will give you a simple definition.

A functional fitness exercise is: Any exercise, or activity that moves you towards a specific goal which YOU have set, is deemed functional. In other words, you are looking for your fitness level becoming such, that it allows you to function effectively  in your daily life! Or, another one:  The demands that you place on your body throughout the day, be it your work, sport or leisure activity- you are able to do to your desired level of skill, and without injury. That to me is being FIT ENOUGH!

Lets take another word now: BALANCE! Many people experience balance issues, especially as they get older. Statements such as “my balance is bad, ” is a common expression – and so vague, that these words are merely a worthless complaint. The truth is, there are two kinds of balance, one is called righting reflexes, which keep your body up right when you moving over a stable surface, such as the ground. The other, is tilting reflexes, which allows you to keep your body upright if somebody bumped into you, or you are on an unstable object such as a bike or a swiss ball.

What kind of balancing exercises you need, depends on what kind of balance you want to improve. All balance however is dependent on muscle mass and your neuromuscular Communication system! In other words, no muscle, no balance, and if your brain is not able to communicate with your muscles- also no balance…

Next, let’s take the expression “Flat abs”! Who doesn’t want flat abs?! The answer is, we all do, but what are we willing to do to get them. By now I think we’ve all come  across Some piece of information, to yhe effect that crunches won’t do it, sit-ups wont do it, etc. The answer is all too simple, straightforward, and maybe even a bit uncomfortable. The truth is, when you abdominals Are bulging over your belt, it is the effect of undigested food in your gut. Plain and simple, end of story. Get rid of the undigested food that is sitting in your belly, fermenting away, because of over eating, and you abs will be flat immediately. There are many good cleanses out there, and if one doesn’t work for you, then try another kind. Something will work, and you’ll be healthier and have more energy in the process!

CORE- yes, CORE. This has got to be The biggest and most misunderstood word of the 20th century. Few people if any take The time to do a little research, and read up on what somebody with a bit of education has written about it, and defined core to be. The same people hire a trainer, with a wide variety of hypothetical certifications,and experiences, and allow that trainer, to tell them what the core is and how to activate it. Ha, I won’t go any further into it either, as I think there’s plenty of good information out there for those who are serious about finding out. What I will say, in conclusion is this: It is only, and I say ONLY  your thoughts/ imagery that can activate the Core.  Period. End of story.

How I became a Fitness Concierge

By | Fitness | 63 Comments

Once upon a time… That’s how the story begins… I, Ingrid Johnson, moved to Encinitas, to a town I fell in love with about 15 years ago, while still  living in Michigan.

After moving here,  I couldnt believe All The variety of fitness classes and trails available. I was like a kid in a candy store, so during my off hours, I would visit yoga studios, spinning classes, TRX and kettle bell classes, and anything I found interesting fitness- wise, all over the town. I walked, ran on trails and beaches, biked, hiked, met new and interestning people and had so much fun!

As I would tell people about my experiences, I started to get people asking ME for advice on where they should go for example yoga, spinning etc.

I now Had  a lot of different classes, studios, and teachers under my belt. I knew many beautiful trails, so I would give them advice on what I think they would like, what would be the most beneficial for them….

The next thing you know, concierge fitness, I started. It is no secret, that Encinitas is an amazing tourist town, with the friendliest residents, and most beautiful nature ..or, maybe it is a secret, in which case I want to reveal to people that it is more than just a town to visit, but a place to experience, embrace, and love, with an unbrideld passion.

All these fitness experiences, are part of Encinitas, which you can take with you everywhere you go for the rest your life.

Unlike a souvenir that wears out, and collects dust- your experience of fitness will continue to energize you, inspire you, and ravish you for the rest your life.