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5 Ways Facebook Can Help You Get Fit

420x294xFunny-Fitness-Cards.jpg.pagespeed.ic.5rHfpsBpivPeople may laugh at all the “I’m going to the gym” or “I burned 325 calories” facebook posts out there (thinking “Who cares?!”) but, the truth is, people need accountability – and putting it out there on facebook is probably one of the best ways to make your goals public so you succeed. And, even as a fitness professional, sharing my fitness helps me too.

I purposefully make my fitness journey public because I also need all the accountability I can get. I know most people don’t really care what workout I did, or what tennis shoes I wear, but I also know that when I post that stuff, it forces me to follow through – to live out my fitness, beyond facebook. Plus, I can’t expect to help anyone if I am not leading by example. Does it come any easier for me because I work at a gym? Heavens no! Work is work! I don’t care if you work at an office, a bakery or, yes, a gym – there will always be work to do, and things to distract you from working out. If anything, I just look the most ridiculous if I can’t get my workout in, since the weight room is about 30 feet from my office.

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So, if you’ve been wanting to lose weight and workout, start your journey on facebook. Warning: this won’t work for habitually lying facebook creepers who has no intensions of ever posting a photo of yourself. Yes, a REAL photo – preferably an occasional full-body shot too, and not just one of those pictures where you hold the camera 10 feet above your head so you look skinny and your big hips are out of frame. Because, in order for this to work, you have to be honest – with yourself and others. If you are willing to be THAT kind of facebooker, then  here’s how facebook can help you reach your goals.

Five Ways Facebook Can Help You Get Fit

1. Sharing your goals makes your pursuit real. There is something to say about actually verbalizing something. As soon as you say it (and in this case, type it), it makes it real. You are officially going on a diet, or starting an exercise program. Accountability begins.

Sweaty pic2. Posting pics adds accountability. Anyone can say they are working out, but show me your sweat. Show me your feet on the scale with the numbers dropping. THAT is the ultimate accountability. I, personally, hate taking pictures of myself. I don’t have the whole “self-photo” thingy down like all the teens. They are the pros at taking great pics of themselves. Me, not so much. I’m too embarrassed to take a pic of me in the gym and I hate the way I look (sweaty, gross and, normally the way my pictures come out, my face is all distorted from the great self-pic iphone angle). BUT, I’m working on that, and trying to do it more – and as a result, I’m amazed at the encouragement that follows.

fitness motivation3. Facebook offers a ton of motivation. Motivational photos are ALL OVER facebook! Motivational quotes, testimonials, photographs – you name it, it’s out there for you. Sometimes just the right words will pop out at you telling you just what you needed to hear to get moving. I try to post mantras, photos and encouragement every day on my facebook. See my Motivational Mantra Photo Album.

Beautiful fit body4.  You can motivate your facebook friends. Motivation doesn’t always come from the fit looking pros. It comes from regular people working toward a goal. If you aren’t sharing your journey, your struggle and your own personal victories, you are doing all your facebook friends a disservice. Once you begin sharing your own experience, you will not believe how many people will begin to tell you how you are inspiring them. And, the more you share how HARD it is, how MUCH you struggle, the more you will encourage others. They will begin to realize, if YOU can do it, THEY can too!

5. Facebook has great support groups. Whether you create a facebook group, or join an existing one, facebook makes it easy to find like-minded people who can motivate you, hold you accountable and share information (like healthy recipes, fitness gear and workouts) with one another. You no longer have to go to a weekly weigh-in to get that kind of accountability and support. With facebook groups, you can build awesome relationships, share your journey and support one another – all from your computer or smart phone!

funny fitness cartoon for facebook

50 Shades of [Athletic] Grey

Before I even begin, I must confess I have not read this book. I have no idea if there is any reference to the actual greyscale. Now, with that in mind, hold on to your panties – because I’m about to get down and dirty – about fitness that is! 😉

The fitness industry often bounces back and forth between two extremes – black or white. Like we’ve seen in politics, fitness is often either extreme right or extreme left. People preach fitness is very easy or ridiculously hard. I think we need more grey!

Black & White

Back in the 80s, fitness gadgets and programs were always marketed as fun, easy workouts – rarely showing someone even breaking a sweat. It’s like they thought they could fool people into getting fit. But no matter how easy the fitness model made it look on TV, sooner or later the person was going to figure out it took work.

Then came Biggest Loser and P90x where extreme measures were exploited, making people believe they weren’t working out unless they were jumping 4 feet in the air one hour straight. Drill sergeant trainers, yelling in your face, stole the show – and people wanted the Jillian Michaels experience, so they too could be “forced” to workout and get results. The major difference between the two extremes was the message. One tried to attract the fat and lazy crowd, and the other tried to attract the fat and desperate I’ll-try-anything crowd. But what about everyone else?

The Danger of Pale Grey 

I personally think everyone fell into the pale grey aera. Even with extreme fitness being more more accepted, most mainstream magazines and brands continue to lean toward the gentle nudge “pale grey” approach, in an attempt to make people feel better about making very little effort. Many writers mislead readers by promoting basically anything, but sitting, as a fitness routine – and people believe it. I guess headlines like “get off your fat butt” doesn’t sell. Maybe we need a clearer message because, in a recent diabetes study, data showed only 3.5 percent of Americans between 18 and 59 did the minimum amount of physical activity recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services. Mediocre message might just make a mediocre impact.  I think we need more honest headlines, honest advertising and real hard facts, but the truth hurts.

People want to believe they are doing everything right. People don’t like hearing that they need to workout harder or that they need to improve. Most people think that doing anything is good enough – and while it’s better than nothing, that doesn’t mean it’s the answer.

50 Shades of White

When it comes to painting a room, most people will gravitate to neutral colors. White, off white, antique white, linen white, smokey white are for people afraid of commitment. When you choose an actual color, you have to stick to decorating around that color. It takes a lot of thought and requires some level of commitment. The same goes with fitness. Like bold colors, bold fitness makes the biggest impact. The problem is, people are often too afraid of failure to commit. So they play it safe, choosing a “white” workout that’s not too difficult, not too scary, not too risky, and that doesn’t require too much of a commitment. As a result, they don’t get the impact they hoped.

The New York Times recently did an article on Updating the Message to Get Americans Moving. In the article, the director of the psychology laboratory at the University of Georgia, Rod Dishman, said he was annoyed when students enrolled in walking classes, boldly saying “It is a sin for a healthy, capable young adult to enroll in a walking class. It is obscene. What they are getting credit for is avoiding making any effort.”

I’m sure none of the students felt that way. However, I totally understand the director’s point of view. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking walking and I realize his words are harsh. Walking may be someone’s only option. I’m trying to encourage people to realize that even an out-of-shape body is typically capable of so much more – and I’m sure the majority of his students could have done more too.

A New Start

Instead of choosing a program based on what someone is willing to do, maybe they should look at fitness from the finishline instead of the starting place. What do I mean? I mean, a person should base their activity on their goals. For most people, fitness is about being physically fit and at a healthy weight. When it comes to weight loss and making drastic changes, it’s not enough just to move – you must move purposefully.

So, what shade of grey are you? Now THAT’s a good question. You may not only pick only one “shade” or training style. Of matter of fact, I’m a firm believer in variety. Whatever you choose, you should have an idea of where that exercise falls on the fitness greyscale.

Here’s a simple chart I created of various popular activity, and the approximate calories burned. In order to get a real understanding of calorie burned, note that sitting on a computer burns approximately 100 calories per hour, so you can subtract 100 from the calories burned during exercise to reflect INCREASED activity. Also, please realize these are generalities only.

The Fitness Greyscale

White: (130lbs: 100-200 calories/hour. 200lbs: 200-300 calories/hour.)
Walking 2mph
Stationary Bike, no resistance

Mild Stretching

Light Grey:
(130lbs 200-300 calories/hour. 200lbs: 300-400 calories/hour.)

Walking 3mph
Elliptical, light pace/resistance
Stationary Bike, light resistance/pace
Swimming
Tai Chi
Weight Training, light weight with moderate rest
Seated Exercise Class
Bicycle, less than 10mph
Light Calisthenics 
Golf

Grey:
(130lbs: 300-400 calories/hour. 200LB: 400-500 calories/hour)

Power Walking 4mph
Elliptical, moderate pace/resistance
Jogging (12-min mile)
Low Impact Aerobics
Body Toning Class
Weight Training, light weight with little rest
Weight Training, moderate weight with moderate rest
Weight Training, heavy weight with ample rest
Beginner Yoga or Pilates
Water Aerobics
Zumba
Stationary Bike with Moderate Resistance/Pace
Swimming Laps
Moderate Bodyweight Exercises
Cycling 10-15mph
Moderate Calisthenics 
Stepper
Rowing, moderate
Tennis

Dark Grey:
(400-500 calories/hour. 200LB: 500-600 calories/hour.)

High Impact Aerobics
Kickboxing
Spinning
Running
Advanced Zumba 
Power Yoga
Circuit Training
Weight Training, moderate weight, with little to no rest
Weight Training, heavy weight with little rest
Vigorous Calisthenics 
Jump Rope
Cycling 20mph
Gauntlet Stair Machine
HIIT
Boxing
Rowing, vigorous

Black:
(130lbs: 500-600 calories/hour. 200LB: 600-700 calories/hour)

Sprinting
BCx Boot Camp
P90x
CrossFit
Insanity
Sports Conditioning
Olympic Lifting
Plyometrics
Tabata 

Get Ready for the Holidays & Help Someone Get Fit: 

Read my fitness gift guide: Top 25 Fitness Gifts for Your Fit Friends

Do You Need Better Border Patrol on Your Fitness Journey

“ID Please.”
“Are you American?”

“What is your business here? “
“Where are you headed?”

We may think of Border Patrol as a bother, but we know it’s necessary to keep our country safe, as well as our surrounding countries. Not only does it keep the bad people out, it helps keep the good stuff in, protecting our assets and making certain people don’t take valuables out of our country illegally.

In many ways, I believe WE need better personal border patrol when it comes to our fitness journey. We need specific boundaries and rules in place that help protect our assets while we “travel”, as well as road blocks in place to prevent us from harm on our way to our destination.

Unfortunately, while we live in the land of the free in a nation that pretty much allows you the right to do just about anything, we get comfortable without rules, without borders. Borders are helpful and necessary – especially when you are trying to live healthy.

Think of how much better off we’d be if we were to ask these questions every time we encountered a new friend or yummy temptation.

“ID Please

Are you who you really say you are? How many foods out there are not really what they say they are? Low-fat foods often still are packed with fat and no-sugar added foods can still be loaded with natural sugar or other high-calorie ingredients. This is why we should read labels as closely as a Border Patrol Officer studies your driver’s license and passport.

 “Are you Healthy?”

Just like you are either American or you are not, something is either healthy or it is not. It’s more black and white than you think. Vegetables are healthy, but as soon as you deep fry them they instantly turn unhealthy. Even salads can appear healthy, but after you add 1,000 calories of fattening cheese, nuts, dried fruit and dressings, you officially made something healthy unhealthy.

“What is your business here?” 

Food has business to conduct too – and it can either be good for you, or it can be bad for you. When you eat something healthy, it continues working for you long after it hits your tongue. The same goes with unhealthy food. It continues wreaking havoc on the body after it’s eaten and forgotten. Besides the weight we may gain from eating too much food, most of the damage caused by letting unhealthy food in goes undetected for years. Like a fugitive on the run, you must catch it before it causes more harm and stop it in it’s tracks. The only way to do that, is to put up better borders and keep the bad stuff out of your precious territory.

Where are you headed?

Every decision you make determines where you’re headed. If you want to be in control of your destination, YOU have to make those decisions. If you let anything in, then food and people will make those decisions for you, and THEY are in control of your destination.

If you want to succeed, you need to realize every decision and every friendship can either help you reach your goal, or prevent you from reaching your goal. If you ask these questions to yourself, you will likely reveal what friends and foods shouldn’t cross your border.

 

Happy Trails!

CAUTION: Fitness Can Be Misleading

Fitness is a lot of things to a lot of people. However, people can be so focused on the small stuff, they lose focus of all the right stuff. Some people get led astray by specific aspects of fitness that tickle their fancy in the moment. Others get turned off by the obsessed fitness freaks who treat fitness more like it’s a cult than a healthy lifestyle, shaping their bodies into something that looks more like a cartoon character than a picture of health. Then there are the people who really have never experienced fitness, so the only impression of fitness maybe a self-absorbed coworker mocking them at the office every day.

Fitness: Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture

It’s more than a trend.
Fitness is cool and everyone knows it. People don’t look at fat, lazy people and want to grow up to be that guy. They want to be the guy or girl they see running the beach in the morning or hitting the weights religiously in the gym every day. They want to be the celebrity in the tabloid shot  leaving yoga or doing a quick workout while on vacation, like Matthew McConaughey from Magic Mike.

Fitness is cool, but we need to remember the impact it can make on people’s lives. People who live the fit lifestyle are leaders, whether we like it or not. People are watching us and we have the opportunity to use that cool-factor to encourage others to get healthy. We can ACT cool and turn people off, or we can BE cool and turn people on to fitness. Just think, you may be the only flesh-and-blood fit person someone comes in contact with. Are you going to attract them to fitness or make them run back to the couch and ice cream?

It’s more than a sport.
It’s not just one sport, fitness has a ton of sports and games. Bobybuilding, Figure competitions, Crossfit Games (#CROSSFITGNC), Marathons, Triathlons, Mud Runs, 5Ks, Power Lifting…you name it. Then there’s the competitive side outside of actual sporting events like the P90x Challenges, Biggest Loser contests at work, 90 day challenges, etc.

It can be easy to get so deep into the sport of it, you forgot why you started the whole fitness thing to begin with. Some people get so focused on the sport, they become judgmental toward others that don’t take their fitness to the competitive level they have chosen. Before you know it, someone can focus so much on their particular sport, they  begin to neglect their actual health and let other areas of a healthy lifestyle slide.

Yes, it’s a sport, but it’s not just about winning and losing. We need to make sure we don’t get so caught up on our performance that we forget our improvements – and where we are headed.

It’s fixes more things than you think.
Although most people depend on fitness to fix their waistline, no one should expect fitness to be a quick fix – or just fix one specific problem. It fixes a lot of problems – and if you realize that, you will feel even more successful in your fitness journey than you would ever feel if your only concentrating on finding your six-pack.

Sure fitness can whip your body into shape, but it improves (and can completely fix) many ailments and physical issues like heart disease, obesity, cardiovascular health, diabetes, asthma, poor flexibility, body pain due to weak or tight muscles, and many other issues that can make life pretty miserable. Not only that, it helps our mood and is scientifically proven to drastically improve, and sometimes completely eliminate, depression.

Remember, there are no quick fixes, but there are REAL fixes – and fitness shouldn’t be about just fixing only one of them.

Fitness is a lot of things to a lot of people – what does fitness mean to you?  – B –

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