Five fitness commandments to live by.

This is so well written, I share it with you. Encourage you to stay moving and maintain your health!-Karen

Explore Magazine: Gadd’s Truth: Five Fitness Commandments to Live By


Apr 27, 2016

The truth about aging and fitness: Five fitness commandments to live by.

Watching other people work out is endlessly interesting to me. Although I’ve tried many weird workouts over the years, the human drive to find new ways to get fit always amazes me. As I watch someone stack a balance board and a bouncy ball into a squat rack, I can see the wheels turning in his head (it’s almost always a “he”): “This is gonna be great! Nobody has ever thought of this before!”

“Workout fail” compilations on YouTube have reduced me to tears of both laughter and empathy. But I’d argue anyone who has never bailed off a treadmill while trying to run backwards with a pack on, or dropped a loaded bar inappropriately while attempting to snatch it one-handed, hasn’t been trying hard enough.

I’ve been seriously training for one sport or another for more than 30 years; in that time, I’ve borne witness to some truly weird workouts, diets and mental training regimes. I’ve gone from a 150-pound pudgy adolescent, to a clinically anorexic 142.543-pound sport climber, to a 195-pound CrossFit gym rat, back to a 150-pound bicep-less skinny guy obsessed with trail running. With all this training, diet and switching of sports, I’ve started to notice some truths about fitness.

The first truth about working out is that, in the long-term, it doesn’t matter what you do to work out. Lift weights, swim, hike around the neighborhood with your dog, cross-country ski, do squats while wearing inline skates (I’ve seen that)—it just doesn’t matter. The gym-rat bench-pressing 250 pounds fully believes that is the way forward, and for him, that’s true. That day, right there, he is working out. That’s what matters. Doing something physical, pretty much every day, kicks ass on not doing something physical. If movement doesn’t happen, then atrophy is winning. Atrophy always wins eventually, but it doesn’t have to win today. Today is a good day to work out.

The second truth is that individual workouts don’t matter much, but regularity does. Most of us are training for a specific sport even if we don’t realize it. If you’re puking occasionally and scraping all the hair off your shins while deadlifting in a CrossFit workout, you’re training for CrossFit at that point in your life. If you want to get better at shin-hair removal, then you’re going to need to do it regularly. Specific sets, reps and weights—all less important than showing up regularly. Miss a workout and you don’t progress. Do some weird-ass version of your workout in a hotel room using the towel rack (I ripped one out of the wall once, it was expensive) and you’ll at least maintain—and likely get better.

The third truth is that your sports and interests will change over time, and fighting that natural arc is counterproductive to staying fit. I used to travel with a pull-up bar and a piece of wood with small finger-holds on it. I’d hang the fingerboard in hotel room doorways; that exercise mattered to me more than anything. I haven’t done it in 20 years, and I’d likely shoot myself if I had to do it today. Hanging on to what was important in the past isn’t conducive to lifelong fitness. It’s more important to follow your interests, stay active and explore new physical skills and ideas. A little or a lot of obsession is essential for high-performance competitive sport, but life changes, and we have to change our physical expressions as well, or we’ll get bored. People who are bored with moving, stop moving. When I see a pack of elderly folks busting a move through the mall wearing coordinated track outfits, I cheer them on, and use their motivation to get my own sorry ass to a workout. Those folks probably weren’t doing that in their 20s, but they look and feel better than the other elderly people reclining in the food court.

The fourth truth is that the most important movements are less about strength than understanding the movement itself. I recently taught a climbing/training clinic where one older guy—in his late 60s—intrigued me. I noticed that when doing pull-ups, he always pulled the rings down to his pecs, not the usual half-hearted chin-fuzz over the bar. There were a couple of hipster post-CrossFitters in the clinic, who started showing off by doing sloppy muscle-ups. The older guy asked, “Is that valuable for climbing?” I replied, “Probably not directly, but it does show you have good range of motion and strength.” The old guy then did the cleanest, smoothest muscle-up I’ve ever seen. He was a gymnast in his youth, and still coached. His arms were twigs, like mine, but he understood how to do a muscle-up in the same way old mountain guides know how to walk smoothly through rough terrain. Being strong is less important than understanding how to move. And moving is everything.

The final truth is that fitness is worth sacrificing less important things for, and most things are, long-term, far less important than fitness. Fitness is really health, after a certain point, and being healthy requires exercise. There is very little that exercise doesn’t help alleviate, from depression to diabetes to osteoporosis. Find a movement that feels good and do it with regularity. Thirty minutes of running through the streets and a fast bowl of soup is a far better use of an hour than looking at new sofa fabrics or whatever else we do at lunchtime. Blow off that work meeting to hike up a hill—when you’re 70, still being able to hike up a hill will be far more important than the meetings you missed.

Today, I’m going to blow off some emails so I have time to do something physical outside with my five-year-old. Because she needs to know that I care about both her and about getting some exercise. She deserves it as much as I do. The emails will wait.

You can’t turn back the clock.

You can’t turn back the clock. But, you can wind it up again.
I LOVE this.

So many people struggle with aging and they find themselves living in the past. But, just because we can’t turn back the hands of time, doesn’t mean we can’t live today to the fullest!

How can you do that? Ahhh, here it comes.

Exercise!

One of the best ways to live each day to it’s fullest is through exercise. Our muscles, our brains, our organs and our bones all love exercise!!

Let’s add energy to our lives today. Let’s give our bodies what it needs to be the best it can be.

Let’s Wind It Up Again.

A new 6-week fitness challenge begins April 25. Each week I give you two video workouts that you can do anywhere! All levels will benefit from these workouts!

We all need structure and discipline around our exercise schedule. We all need to wind our clocks every day!

PS-How old do we need to be to actually remember winding a watch or clock?

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Wind It Up Again Fitness Challenge begins April 25!

Click on the link below!

Registration is OPEN!!

Get signed up, you don’t want to miss a workout!!
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Need more details about the workouts? Check it out here!

Take a look at my website and let me know if you need more information!

Questions? Let me know: karen@karenkreft.com

You ready? Let’s go.

Healthier you!! Change your life.

We all try very hard to make healthy choices. Our pasts are filled with ups and downs, but right now is most important. And right now is pretty awesome!

I want to help you change your life. I want to help you build a strong body, resulting in a healthier you. I want you to workout with me!

Everyone would do this if it was easy.

But, it’s not easy. The exercise itself can be tiring, challenging, and sometimes painful. The time commitment is hard, there are too many other priorities pulling on you. And once you decide to go to the gym, you are unsure what to do, what will work? After a few weeks on a cardio machine you still haven’t seen any results and it is easy to get discouraged and let your routine slip away.

I want to be on your team.

I want to engage you in a healthy lifestyle. I want to inspire you to be active and strong. I will provide both the tools and encouragement. I have lots of exercise ideas to help you get started and to maintain a fitness routine.  As a result you will feel so empowered and confident in all areas of your life. You will be proud and satisfied when you make healthy choices—and sometimes you’ll surprise yourself when you realize just how far you have come.

Why should you exercise?

Most people already know that they should exercise. It can be to lose weight, change eating habits, results of a doctor’s visit and an unhealthy report, or preparation of a pending event. These are all great incentives to help move you towards a fitness routine. However, there are a lot more reasons that should be considered. A truly healthy body has healthy hormone production which helps to manage body composition, weight management, sleep patterns, along with prevention of disease like Type 2 diabetes.

Exercise is called the silver bullet to fight against aging—known for improving strength, cardiovascular systems and circulation, and maintaining bone density. Research has also continued to link regular exercise to improved brain health, memory and cognitive thinking.

So many good things!!

So, how do you get started?

The first step is usually the hardest. So BIG CONGRATULATIONS that you are here!

The next step is for you to commit to making yourself healthy. You can set your own goals for weight and inches to lose. But, I want you to set a goal to become a rockstar!

I want you to show up and push yourself through these workouts. I want you to groan when I say “one more round”—I want you to feel the energy (and a little soreness) pulse through your body because YOU DID IT! I want you to look at yourself in the mirror and feel that pride that you did something to improve your health.

Are you ready?

How about 35 minute real time video workout—just like you are in class with me!! How cool is that?

You can carve out a corner of space, put down an exercise mat, lace up your sneakers, and press play! I have planned a workout for us, I have programmed the timer and I am ready to workout—-anytime.

The next 6-Week Challenge starts soon. Get yourself signed up and you’ll be ready when the class starts. In the meantime, I have some FREE video workouts and some stretching videos that you can try. Once the classes start, you will join an online group of workout buddies. Over the 6 weeks, you will build strength—both muscularly and emotionally. You can do this!!

So, bop on over to the Ready for Spring Fitness Challenge and check out the details.

I hope to see you in an upcoming workout!

REGISTRATION IS OPEN!!

Hello 2016 Fitness Challenge

 Begins January 4th! Let’s do this!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! OK, maybe it’s dark and cold and a little stressful getting through the holidays. We ate and celebrated with the best of them! But, that is all going to be over VERY soon!

Then what? You’ll need something to fill your time. Something to help you get back in your groove. Focus on your health and fitness. Maybe reach those resolutions that you write down every year.

Hmmm, I wonder what that could be?

How about a new fitness challenge? This challenge is FULL of opportunities. New friends, additional workout buddies, LOTS of support from me (although some people think I am a bit bossy during the workouts. Sorry about that!). Then there are all of the health benefits. We will build strength, improve our cardio capacity, and increase balance and flexibility. 

The final result? A stronger and healthier you! With a regular fitness plan, more water intake (that’s another great side benefit of my bossiness, I encourage water all the time!). We will also learn to make some better choices for nutrition to support our active bodies.

All of that equals a great big happy present from me to you! We can check several of those resolutions off the list! And six weeks is probably longer than you would stick to them on your own!

Bam, bam, bam.

You need this! You want this! And you are ready for this!

You have a couple of days to ratchet back your diet (like eat the rest of those sugar cookies or put them in the freezer, don’t leave them on the counter taunting you), increase your water intake (see, I’m at it already) and maybe start moving a bit, just walking, spinning, or even stretching. Get your blood flowing and move the toxins out of your body. 

Registration is open. We begin on January 4th. 

Are you in?

Registration is open!

Sign up now! I want to see you in my workout! Need more details about the workouts? Check it out here!

Take a look at my website and let me know if you need more information!

Questions? Let me know: karen@karenkreft.com
 

Holiday baggage…..week 4!

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you grateful for? How about your own body and soul that make you who you are. That’s what we are grateful for!

Week 4: This is a week of celebration and reflection. We all have our ‘go-to’ favorites, what are yours? Remember to celebrate your meals. Eat what you want, but be sure to enjoy every bite. Also, follow each meal with 2-3 glasses of water, add that lemon for a bonus! If you feel a bit full, think about some fresh veggies, carrots, cucumbers, pea pods and celery all add a ton of fiber to your body and help offset those carbs. And, if you are feeling up to it……go outside for a walk. Breathing in that fresh air will also help distribute nutrients throughout your body and encourage metabolism of the sugars.

 

Holiday baggage……week 3!

Hey there! It’s been two weeks, how are you doing? Just being mindful of what you eat and how you nourish your body can go a long way to being healthy. We have added fruits and veggies, increased our hydration, and how do you feel?

Often, increasing hydration results in sleeping better, having more even energy levels throughout the day, and fewer cravings. Keep drinking that water!! 

Week 3: This week is serious, because next week we may eat more sodium in one meal than we eat in a total week normally! So, let’s prepare for that!! It’s time for more veggies, this time greens…..spinach salad, kale, or more broccoli. You choose, but get another serving in each day. Also, let’s cut out some simple carbs……reduce crackers, bread, or pasta. We will flush our systems and prepare for the increased salt intake next week!

You can do this. A couple of pounds this week just by making good choices! You will feel great heading into Thanksgiving!

Muscles and bones and ligaments, oh my!

When we begin an exercise program it is often to improve heart health or for weight loss. These are commonly known results of a regular exercise program, along with building strength in our muscles. But, did you know there are many other benefits to a regular exercise program?

Back in gym class, most of us learned about muscles…they get sore when we workout, and bones…they break if we whack them hard. But, what about ligaments and tendons?

Within our structural frame, our skeleton is a series of bones, connected at joints. Each of those joints have ligaments and tendons wrapped around and through to hold them in place and to actually move them. Tendons attach the beginning and end point of muscles to the bones, transferring muscular energy through the body. 

These connectors are imperative to provide movement through lever action, joint stability and support, and alignment of bones, muscles, and organs.

Ligaments, tendons, cartilage and fascia are referred to as connective tissue. All are made of collagen–the most abundant protein in the body–providing strength to connective tissues and cushioning–as cartilage–to joints. And, as we know, our bodies reduce collagen production as we age. Therefore, if left to nature, our connective tissues would become less strong and supple, losing elasticity, and more prone to injury.

Injuries can be acute or chronic and include strains, overuse and inflammation (tendinitis and tendinosis), ruptures and tears, “she suffered a torn ACL” (anterior cruciate ligament of the knee). All of these can be extremely painful and require a variety of long term treatment, often including surgery and therapy.

The good news is, the best way to improve muscle and connective tissue health is EXERCISE!! These tissues also benefit from good nutrition and hydration. Consistent use of the connective tissues through a full range of motion will help maintain flexibility, agility and allow for good balance. 

Cartilage—the buffer that protects the ends of bones—depends heavily on joint movement to absorb nutrients and remove waste, which means that for every step that you take you are not only strengthening the muscle and tendons surrounding that joint, you are also helping the cartilage and making it less susceptible to Osteoarthritis. Think: wrists while doing planks (joint weight bearing)! See, we do everything for a purpose!

Listen to your body. Many of us experience a reminder of a past injury. This can be a dull ache or a sharp, debilitating pain. Regular, controlled and specific exercises can alleviate the issue or strengthen the muscles surrounding the injury, reducing the direct pain.

However, there are times, when we just need to stop doing what hurts! 🙂 I could be a doctor.

Let’s strive to be “better than yesterday’s self”!  

Holiday baggage…week 2!

How did you do with week 1? Was it a treat to get to eat an apple each day? I have mine late in the afternoon with a few raw almonds, when it would be SO easy to have a less healthy snack! But, as I leave the house, I slice an apple and pack it with me. I know it is there and will fill me up and satisfy a sweet craving.

I really believe in packing food with me. I always have an ice chest in the car full of snacks or a meal. I know myself well enough to know that I will make less healthy choices on a hungry stomach! And it is often hard to find an healthy choice in a restaurant or store.

Be prepared and take something yummy with you!

Week 2: It’s an addition again! This week we add 4 glasses of water with fresh squeezed lemon. The lemon really helps to manage the acid levels in our bodies and assist with healthy digestion. There is discussion out there about how much water a body really needs, but I know that most of my friends and clients DO NOT DRINK ENOUGH! A healthy, hydrated person needs to pee every hour or so……when was the last time you peed? See? Just sayin’. Drink more water!

Holiday Baggage……Excess Baggage.

So, each year we head into the holidays with a blend of excitement and hesitation. When was the last time you thought, “I can’t wait to wear this and this and see all of my relatives, because I look my VERY best and have such so much positive self love?”

Let’s change that! It’s early in November and we have weeks to deal with! Let’s do what we can to build confidence, stand taller and totally believe in ourselves. And, along the way, let’s take off 2 lbs each week through the holidays! Okay?

Just 2 lbs. That is 6 lbs by Thanksgiving (maybe more if you rock it!) and another 6-8 lbs by Christmas! That is crazy and only 2 lbs a week. Just by being aware and giving yourself some love through the holidays, we can do this.

For the first week, here is your assignment!

WEEK 1: Add an apple or pear EVERY DAY. Also, add one serving of veggies each day. This can be raw carrots, celery, peapods or it can be cooked broccoli or asparagus, or a small salad. The first week you get to ADD food! Yum!

See you next week!

Rest Days! Actually marked on the calendar.

I’ll start with the best news.  You need a couple of REST DAYS each week! And you will probably have better performance if you limit the frequency to no more than 3 workouts in a row. As you begin, 2-3 days/week is great. Then as you get some conditioning you can move to 3-5 days/week.  

So, for example–Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Sunday=4 days/week

Or–Monday/Tuesday/REST/Thursday/Friday/REST/[Sunday]=4 days/week [5 days/week with Sunday]

The TABATA high intensity workouts in this challenge can stand alone and do not require you to “add cardio” or “add weight lifting”. However, if you are training for a marathon (or other distance cardio activity) you can incorporate 2 or 3 days of TABATA into your training schedule.

Just remember the REST DAYS.  

Performing high intensity or continued steady state training with no REST DAYS increases fatigue, muscle breakdown, and possible repeated use injury. Did I mention the REST DAYS? I want you to get stronger and stronger through the weeks of the Challenge. Take care of yourself. Schedule REST DAYS. Allow your body to restore and strengthen for the next workout, you will be stronger for it.