Monday, March 30, 2009

Fitness Tip for this Week

My challenge to all of you this week is to walk as much as possible.

Walk everywhere. Instead of driving to run your errands, walk to the store. If you have to drive, park far away and walk to the store. Park at the back of the parking lot or if you are parking on the street, park around the corner.

At the very least, take the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Walk up the escalator instead of riding. (I do this all the time and by the way, it is soooo much easier than walking up steps. So this is a good place to start.) If you are on a steep and really long escalator (like at the Bethesda Metro) walk part way and ride the rest of the way. I live on the fourth floor of my building and I almost always take the stairs. Ok, I do it not because I am so fit but because I am extremely impatient and don't want to wait for the elevator.

Find a friend or neighbor and take a walk in the morning before work, at lunch or before dinner.

Just walk as much as possible. Purchase a pedometer (they are so cheap these days) and record how many steps you take each day this week. You will be surprised how a little change to your lifestyle such as this can make a big difference.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Suggestion for this weekend

Spring is here. Let's start thinking about how we can add more physical activity to our days.

My suggestion to you this weekend is to buy a pedometer. They are sold almost everywhere these days. There are all sorts of pedometers. You can get one that simply tells you how many steps you have taken. Or you can buy one that tells you the time of day, the calories burned in a day, how many miles you have walked, etc.

You might also like to invest in a journal, so you can keep track of your statistics each day.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Morning or Evening Workouts?

Do you prefer to work out in the morning or evening? Here is one man's opinion on the pros and cons of working out in the morning. (Sure, he's a man, but most of what he says applies to us all.)

Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get Your Fitness Groove Back

Angela Bassett is definitely a fitness queen that we can look up to. She has arm that are to die for! The fifty year old actress (man, I hope I look that good at 50. Shoot, I hope I look that good at 40...) used to work out with personal trainer Harley Pasternak (who has also worked with Halle Berry and Eve).



Pasternak recommends that his clients exercise for 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week. These workouts incorporate strength training and cardio in five minute intervals.

He also instructs his clients to eat five small meals a day (which is actually something that I do) instead of fewer large meals. Eating five meals a day raises your metabolism and provides a constant supply of vital nutrients, which helps your body to become toned and fit. Pasternak encourages Bassett and his other clients to eat foods that include quality protein (chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish), moderate carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats (like omega-3 found in salmon and olive oil). He also encourages them to drink sugar free beverages. (I think that people often forget that beverages that have a high sugar content are also high in calories. And not good calories either. Take a look at the label on your next can of Coke or beer.)

This sounds like great advice. And it is advice that is not difficult to follow. If you are looking for a workout that you can do in 25 minutes, check this out. Try out Harley Pasternak's advice and see how you feel. (and remember to keep us posted.)

Let's all work to get our fitness groove back!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Your money is no good here


Do you think that it costs a lot to stay in shape? It doesn't have to!

Today, I actually got up on time and went to a free yoga class at the new Lululemon on P Street in Logan Circle.

Their clothes may be too expensive for me, but one thing that I do like about Lululemon is that they host free fitness and yoga classes at their locations. The classes are usually taught by instructors at local yoga studios or local personal trainers.

Today's class was taught by Alex, the owner of Yoga Chai in Adams Morgan. I literally live less than five blocks from this studio and have been meaning to go and never have. The vinyasa yoga class was a great way to start the day. I left feeling really good. Alex is a good teacher. I did some things today that I have never done before and he mixes in his own brand of humor in the class, which I like. You should check him out at his studio.

The good thing about free classes is that they are all taught so that beginners and veterans alike will be able to feel like they got a good workout or practice. So you don't have to worry about whether or not the class will be too hard or too easy. Plus, since they are free, if for some reason you don't like it, it's no big deal. It is also a good way to learn about local gyms, studios and personal trainers.

Yoga Chai will be offering another free yoga class next Sunday at 10 am. I will be there. Holla if you want to join me! (Or check out a Lululemon near you to take advantage of their free classes.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Dream Girl Gets Fit

You know who has been looking slimmer these days? Jennifer Hudson! It is rumored on various celebrity sites, including "How Celebrities Lose Weight" that she has lost 60 pounds by changing her diet. She has cut out fried foods (imagine that!) and eats low fat, low calorie meals. In addition, she has hired a personal trainer who also travels with her. Her workouts include running, squats and pushups.



She is definitely looking good these days and seems to be making great lifestyle changes!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Celebrity Trainers

I was thinking about positive celebrity role models and it occurred to me that you never hear about black celebrities and their trainers. You always hear about white celebrities and their trainers. Tracey Anderson (http://tracyandersonmethod.com/), the personal trainer of both Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, has been getting a lot of publicity lately.



Regardless of what you might think of her method, she is still a high profile trainer to white celebrities. Can you think of any high profile trainers for black celebrities? I am going to see if I can find some....

Our community needs this sort of role model.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How Does She Do It?

I have been looking at different sources on line to see if I can find out how Mo'nique is losing weight. Most of the information that I am finding is coming from unreliable rumor websites and blogs. I have not found an official statement from Mo'nique or her people yet.

I really hope that she is doing it through a healthy balance of diet and exercise. Many of the sites that I have found so far are suggesting that she may be looking into gastric bypass surgery. I really hope this is not the case.

My personal feelings on gastric bypass is that it is very dangerous (well, any surgery is dangerous) and that it is just a quick fix. In order to stay healthy for the duration of one's life, you really have to change your whole life style and way of thinking. No matter what anyone says, there is no quick fix.

Plus, I want for our community and our young people to have an example (a high profile example) that shows that a healthy diet and an active lifestyle are the right way to go about losing weight and being healthy.

But at the very least, if she is going to have gastric bypass surgery, I hope that she doesn't try to pull the wool over our eyes and tell us that she lost weight doing Pilates like Star Jones tried to do!

I am going to keep looking into it.....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Inspiration

Now see, this is what I am talking about! You have got to read this blog post from The Black Fitness Blog. This woman may not be black, but her message is wonderful. She says that fitness saved her life. It literally could save yours. What did you do today to save your life?

Click here for inspiration....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fat Chance

Actress and comedian Mo'nique is one of the reasons that I have started this blog. She is the one that started "F.A.T. Chance", a beauty pageant on the Oxygen network that basically glorified being overweight and obese. She also wrote a book called "Skinny Women are Evil".

I have always found Mo'nique's message to America (especially to African-American women) to be horrifying and if not irresponsible and just plain wrong. Now, I am all for each woman having high self-esteem. We (myself included) are all not meant to look like the image of beauty that American fashion tells us we should look like. However, never once did she say that we should be happy to be who we are but we should strive to be healthy too. She never mentioned the importance of eating healthy or exercising.

As if F.A.T. Chance were not bad enough, Mo'nique "graced" the cover of Essence magazine at least five times between 2004 and 2007. Again, I was horrified. Essence magazine is the leading publication for African-American women, one that I had previously enjoyed. (I no longer read this publication.) In the Essence appearances, Mo'niques's message was the same. Jill Scott even chimed in on one issue. What kind of message is Essence sending to our community by featuring Mo'nique and her message so often?

But now Mo'nique's message is changing. It is being said that Mo'nique has lost at least 25 pounds because she is realizing that in order for her to be around for her family, she must be healthy. And that starts with losing weight. Thank goodness, Essence put her back on the cover, yet again, last year so she could talk about her change of heart, among other things.



How is she losing her weight? I am going to look into it and find out.

Ladies, tell me, What do you think about Mo'nique and her message? Both her old message and her new message?

The fitness revolution starts with changing the way we think about fitness. Part of that revolution is for prominent African-American Women to send a better message to our community-especially our young people.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Running is better than a Gucci Bag

It was beautiful out on Saturday. So, I went to my favorite its-beautiful-out-on-a-random-winter-day place: Georgetown.

I walked past the lululemon store on Wisconsin Avenue. This sign was in the window:


This led me to remember something that two of my clients said to me last year. Each one was talking to a friend about working out with their trainer (me). And the friend said something to the effect of, "I don't know how you spend so much money on going to see a trainer." To which the client replied, "Well, you spend that much on getting your hair done/shopping."

Why is it that we as black women will shell out our hard earned money on clothes, getting our hair done, shoes, pedicures, manicures, hand bags, you name it, but we are not willing to spend money on exercise? Exercise will keep us healthy and lower our chance of suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. These other things just help us to look nice, but heart disease doesn't care how fly you look.

Don't get me wrong. I love shoes too. But, ladies, we need to get our priorities straight.

It's time for a revolution!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It just feels so good

This morning, after setting up this blog and participating in a phone conference, I decided that I had to go outside. I checked weather.com and saw that it was 63 degrees. I still had to put together an agenda for the staff meeting at The Hot Mama Fitness Studio that afternoon, but I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't take advantage of this beautiful day.

So I got dressed and went out. I ran from my building to Malcolm X Park. (This is my favorite place in DC, by the way) I did a lap around the park, stopping to do squats squats (4 sets of 25), step upsstep ups on a bench for 1 minute and box jumps box jumps onto a ledge for 90 seconds.

It took all of 30 minutes. (workouts don't have to be long to be beneficial) It was hard, girl (I haven't run outside in a long time. You know, I DON'T DO COLD) and my heart rate sure was high (a good thing). But, man, did I feel awesome when I got home!! I can't even describe it. Nothing else creates this sort of feeling.

This is exactly what I want to share with the women in our community. There is nothing out there that makes you feel this good (and is legal and free)! I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it!

Holla at me if you want to join me for a run! (Or jog or walk....)

It's Time for a Revolution!

The slogan in America for 2008 and 2009 is "Change". We expect change in our political system, change in the health care system, change in our financial situation.

But what about change in our daily lives? What are you doing to change your life and the state of your own health and fitness?

In my opinion, we, as black women, need more than change. We need a revolution! We need an all out, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the mountains of Cuba revolution. We need an attack-the-community-while-they-are-sleeping-they-know-what-hit-them revolution.

You know what? I take that back. It is not "in my opinion." It is a fact. We need more than change. We need a revolution.

Here are some facts that have not yet changed:
-According to the National Health Interview Survey, 71% of all women are physically inactive. 80.4% of African-American women are physically inactive
-According to the CDC in 2004, 80% of African American Women were obese. Being obese is defined as having a BMI over 30 or being more than 30 pounds over weight.
-African American women are more likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes than white women.

What is the one thing that can help to correct this trend? A change in lifestyle. Healthy eating and exercise.

Ladies, let's start a revolution! Let's promise today to change the way we think about health and fitness to change the fate of our community and the future that lies ahead for our children.