Facing Fear With Movement

So, I’ve been listening to uninhibited women leadership online conference with Ashley Burnett this week and the topic today was about fear. I found it interesting to discuss fear and struggle to know what I am truly afraid of. I spend a lot of time working with people who are afraid, I talk about it most days for multiple hours per day, and here I am not sure how to label my own. As I thought about it, I came up with a movement flow to help you get to the essence of your fear … in case you are like me and find it’s a bit of an enigma for you, slippery, and hard to fully see. You know it’s there, but you just can’t make it out clearly.

Many are afraid of living the life they could, afraid of giving up a label like being depressed, anxious, female, male, successful, a failure – you name it people are often afraid to give up an identity, even if it’s one they don’t like. That identity has protected you in groups, helped you define who you are and who you are not, and maybe guided your path for a long time. Well, what if you could step off that path and become something else. Something more in line with who you want to be today. Would you do it? Would you be able to let go? Dive into the practices that can help you become your highest self, your personal best dream – would you do them?

climbing the stairs

It’s often difficult to really know what you are afraid to give up. The bottom line is who would you be if you weren’t afraid. This question offers you the glimpse into what you might be afraid of. Here is an exercise set to help you cut through the mental chatter and just focus on what’s holding you back. Movement always helps me see more clearly and decrease the mental chatter that clouds me.

Step One:

Complete an easy warm up or use this set in the middle of your regular workout.

Step Two:

Get a Tabata Timer – this is very helpful and there are a number of free apps that will help you do this (and other interval workouts). If you don’t want to get one a simple kitchen timer can work, your watch, or phone. You need to do 20sec exercise intervals with 10sec rest intervals – 8x.

Step Three:

Start by picking your mantra. This could be a question – what am I afraid of? What’s holding me back? etc. or a statement – Fear. Let Go. – you get the picture. Find a phrase that works for you and visualize it – maybe it’s a picture, maybe a set of words, etc. You want to truly feel it deep within you.

Step Four:

Begin a jumping squat tabata. With the help of your timer, you begin your jumping squat set for 20 sec, rest 10sec, 8x. Total of 4min. Tabata’s are hard, just know that. If you have to take a break, try to keep the movement going, even if you take out the jump or begin to alternate legs, etc. You want to be completing the full movement at the end of the set.

As you complete the tabata focus on your mantra or visualization. See what arises. There is nothing to do, nothing to fix. We just want to see what remains when it gets really hard to focus. Often this is the essence of the thing we can let go of, we fear, we want to transform. Sometimes we even transform it in the tabata. I’ve seen clients start with “I am not good enough” to yelling “I’m fuckin’ rocking it” with conviction by the end of just one 4 minute round.

Step Five:

Repeat Steps 3 & 4, this time with the thing you want to gain or embrace in your life. Again, take a few moments to breathe, see your goal clearly in your head, and find the right set of word(s) to represent what it is you really want.

Then begin another tabata – any exercise will work.

I often like to superset pushups, lunges, low rows, squats, high rows, jumping lunges/split lunge, plank hold. This order will get you a full body workout in about 40 min with 2-3 min in between each tabata for meditative work and visualization preparation. Finish with whatever core/abdominal work you are focusing on and a full body stretch. If you complete all the steps you’ll have an hour worth of movement with a meditation and self-growth focus. It’s not an easy workout, but one that will help you distill your thoughts into what you want next, see where you want to go, and help you feel confident enough in your own abilities to actually complete and live the practices you’ll need to reach your goals.

Have fun finding your FEAR!

 

*Please remember that exercise is physical and in the event you have a medical condition or other reason to be concerned about completing hard/intense exercise or movement that you check with your doctor.

 

Getting over the Plateau

How’s everyone doing on your goals? Hopefully, you are still progressing. Sometimes (approx 6wks) things get a little boring and may feel a bit stagnant. If you’re in that camp it may be time to change it up. You can do this in a variety of ways. What we want is to become inefficient again. Our bodies are smart and adapt to overload (i.e. exercise) fairly quick. So challenge yourself to do something different this week. Here’s a list of ideas to challenge you.

You can …

1)      Increase your intensity – make the movements bigger, faster, stronger by adding power (speed and strength together).

2)      Decrease your intensity – you might need a recovery week. To do this spend the majority of your workouts in the bottom range of your THRZ – don’t do this if you have been working at the lower intensity thus far – see #1 instead.

3)      Add new movement patterns – try a more complicated step or trail. You can also begin to add in more arm movements – this keeps your body more confused, not to mention your brain, and you’ll work harder because you have to think more. You can also re-arrange the way you do your movements so the muscles have to recruit in a different order.

4)      Add intervals or tabbata to your workout – intervals are something like 30sec on, 45 sec recovery (you can play with the times). The “on” set is all out. Tabata is 8 rounds of 20sec on 10 sec off (total of 4mins). Both are very effective at increasing metabolic rate and training the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Tabata a bit more so – if you try them both you’ll see why.

5)      Take a new class or learn a new exercise. You can check out strength training options at SuperiorWorkout.com on my video blog or YouTube. I go over a variety of options for major muscle groups. Or YouTube, ask a friend, look up Synergy Fitness, Inc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXD69lc1OTY (this is one YouTube Video) or Alien Training http://www.alientraining.com/  – I like this dude (I get no profit from my recommendation. He’s got good stuff). Go to http://tabatatraining.org/ Great workouts, free, and more explanation on the method.

The New SuperiorWorkout.com Focus

I’ve taken some time off from blogging to complete my PhD. Here’s my new vision for SW.com …

It is time. Time to put some effort and thought back into reaching out. I have missed my regular forays into the experience of touching lives through writing. There is something pretty amazing about writing a piece from personal thoughts, experiences, and then put it out there. There is no guarantee that others will read, listen, like, care, yet when they are touched by a piece of what I have written it is a gift. When I hear stories of how folks reconsidered a long held belief, changed a behavior, or tried something new, and maybe even scary, with success or failure, it is a gift. It brings ‘this being human’ back to our interconnectedness.

And isn’t that what we all crave? The acceptance and belonging that come from being connected with others. Some of us require (or want) more or less humans in our lives. Some of us require very little human interaction and really prefer the animal kind of acceptance that comes from caring for a pet or animal in need. Others want an entourage. Both are fine and good. By embracing ourselves as we are and accepting the differences we have, we learn to live in less fear and more openness. There is no need to judge ourselves when we can accept that we are ok just as we are, because the person next to us is ok, just as they are. Thus, no need to judge them either.  Ahhh, the sweet sound of acceptance, so much more open and easy. This is the place to live from.
As I have transitioned my career from the fitness center (working with the body in physical health) to somatic based psychotherapy (working with the body in mental health) it has become time to broaden my audience once again. It has been awhile since I reached out regularly in the blogosphere or newspaper columns. As I make the transition back into writing I am creating a new focus at SuperiorWorkout.com. This focus brings together why I think your workout must be more than just exercises, more than just movements, and more than just thinking about and planning your new healthy lifestyle behaviors. This new focus brings the balance back into our lives. Borrowing from the concept of SuperiorBalance, Inc (which was the brick and mortar fitness center), SuperiorWorkout.com’s Blog will bring back the BALANCE that was the foundation in developing the business model that was part of programming at Superior Balance Fitness Center. Now I have a new shiny degree (PhD in clinical psychology with a somatic psychology concentration)
to guide the new direction integrating the body and mind as one unit, not two that share a boundary. All that learning taught me how the body experiences life rather than how to push it, direct it, mold it. I have found that as I allow for an unfolding of experience there is no need for pushing and prodding and working so hard (mentally) to accomplish a physical goal. So I plan to bring that openness, ease, and flow to SuperiorWorkout.com.
____________________________________________________________________________
BALANCE is needed in everything we do and many of us struggle to understand what it is, how to maintain it, and when it’s off. Here’s how I am going to use Balance to guide SuperiorWorkout.com:
B = Body
A = Activities we do for health – in work, home, family, physical, social – everywhere in our lives.
L = Love … and hate, along with all the other emotions that are an intelligence system when we read them right.
A = Acceptance of ourselves, of others, of the way things are. From this place of non-judgment change isn’t so hard.
N = Nervous System – We become dysregulated due to traumas in our lives. These could be big, small, relational, events. As a result we throw off our endocrine system and wreck havoc on our life. Learning to regulate is a very important task.
C = Cultivating Calm & Creativity. From this centered place life doesn’t have to move so fast, yet much more gets done.
E = Enlightenment – We still have to do the daily chores of living however we can do them with joy, being, and peace.
D = Diet … or anything we ingest into our system – news, food, relationships. How do you fill yourself up?

Body Mindfulness

I’m sure you’ve heard of mindfulness, and I would bet a number of you practice, but what about body mindfulness? Sure, in flexibility training, yoga class, or pilates you notice when you are asked to check in. What about when you run, bike, climb, shoot the ball, or skate? Do you focus your attention on where you are in space, how your body feels, and the sensations you experience? Here’s three steps to creating more body mindfulness.

Mindfulness allows us to focus our attention as a “Witness”. This allows space to observe what is going on around us and within us without attachment to the activity, thought, emotion, etc. From this point we have more access to our internal wisdom and therefore are better able to effectively meet the challenges in the given moment.

First, begin by setting an alarm on your phone, watch, oven timer, computer, or another way you can remember to do a “moment to pause”. Set it to random times throughout the day. This way you are training your mind to reflect despite your activity levels.

Next, pause when you hear your alarm. Notice how much you feel connected to your body. Stop whatever you are doing, take a deep breath and feel it all the way to your feet. Notice your feet on the support they are touching, then move to the legs – notice the front vs the back. Then your torso in space. Is is tilted to one side, twisted? Then pay attention to your arms, your hands, your shoulders. How do they feel? Finally, notice your neck, your head, your face. It may help you to close your eyes or choose a gazing point. Soften your gaze so you aren’t distracted by visual stimuli.

When you have finished the above it may be helpful to notice how in your body now. Is it different? How so?

Then return to your task and your day. Next bell check again. Notice any differences throughout the day. Over time this exercise allows you to gain more wisdom about your personal process, adds space in your day, and helps refocus your attention. See how you feel after a few weeks.

Making Fitness Fit Your Life.

Can you make your fitness fit your life? Planning is key. Life will happen. It is important to consider how you will live life as a healthy person. Many, don’t take this into account and create goals set up for failure. Here are two considerations to make when you are planning your new HEALTHY life!

If you can look at your upcoming schedule for the next few months. Note any big things like trips, events, extra work projects, etc – that way you can time your workouts to reflect life rather than trying to make your schedule fit your exercise. This is usually a little less hectic and more successful in the long run.

You can create a workout plan that includes light weeks and weeks of “active rest” (just scheduled activities like on vacation but not a true workout if it’s not available) for the weeks you need more time. The week before you would schedule a heavy workout week – more time working out and the week after a moderate amount. Then you have a plan and don’t fall completely off the wagon for a well deserved vacation.

Planning is key to sticking with healthy living goals. Here’s to a great and healthy 2014!!!

Fitness Apps Keep You on Track

Here’s some apps from Huffington Post to help you track and stay motivated. I just heard a radio spot talking about the success rates of using apps to reach fitness goals. The odds are increased and success rates climb when people are using something to track- apps add another element to tracking – they are in real time, showing calorie breakdowns, exercise benefits, and lots of color to keep your eyeballs happy. Plus many of us keep a phone with us most of the time so our tracking tool is at our fingertips no matter where we are.

One I love that’s not on the list is livestrong.com‘s daily plate. Here’s the list from Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/slideshow/2365811/271246/?icid=hp_healthy-living_gallery

Is your 2014 health goal outside the fitness realm? Adding exercise into your daily routine, increases energy, helps you sleep better, and often leads to more healthy eating. I just read a research article that discussed how exercise cuts cravings for alcohol and makes quitting smoking easier.

 

Quick Reminder on Benefits of Exercise

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that starting exercise doesn’t have to be overwhelming AND there is good reason to consider adding it to your life if you haven’t already. Here’s a quick reminder on some benefits and how to get started with short bouts of movement.

Exercise has so much potential to make your life better – less stress, sickness, and disease, not to mention, endorphins (body’s morphine), endocannabinoids (body’s pot), and it just feels good to have completed something that makes you sweat. Life gets a little easier when you take the time for you each day even if it’s just minutes. Fitness goals can be accomplished in intermittent bouts of exercise, you know so take some time to do just a little here and there until you’ve reached your daily goal. You can do this and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to start.

IF you are still struggling – See me. Let’s look at your obstacles and maybe pare down your goal.

IF you are feeling pretty good about your current health place – EXCELLENT!!! You’ve put in the hard work to make the change and now it’s becoming habit. Work on continuing to solidify and look at timing to add another layer of healthy change on – for example: it’s often easier to focus on diet or exercise to start with, once your fav becomes easier to stick with you add the other component. This helps you stay focused and challenged. Loss of motivation happens just as easily from boredom as difficult tasks.

It’s Park & Walk Season

So,  I was noticing on my way out to the car mid morning …  that is smells different outside. Tis the season of …

Parking and Walking!!! Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!!!!  The ice is gone and may not return in full force (to cover our parking lots) till the leaves fall again.

I’m sure that’s not the seasonal name you were thinking I was going to say. So now that I’ve got your attention and before you list all the reasons you can’t walk more hear me out.

In order to lead a more healthy lifestyle you must add physical activity (PA) into your day. PA is about doing more throughout your day that gets your body moving  AND the small things add up. Below is a chart from the 2008 physical activity guidelines http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter1.aspx

You can see adding as little as 150 min / week of medium level of activity brings some to substantial health benefits.

Below the table are definitions of intensity levels. If you are wondering about intensity levels;  how to figure out your ideal low, moderate, high ranges l can help you do that. Otherwise go with the concept that low you can hold a conversation about the flowers, medium you can say a sentence about them, probably sweating and your breathing is getting heavier, and high you are speedy, their colors are blending together, you aren’t commenting much on them one way or the other but you are sweating and breathing hard.

AND before you say I don’t have 150min to give up each week, I’m already too busy. Here’s some ways:

PARK AND WALK. I don’t park by the bus stop because I love the asphalt. I do it because I can. I can pay it forward. I know someday I’ll have to park closer. It allows me to fit more activity into my busy days and the view is nice walking into our Bodo building.

Get up every 90 min and walk around your worksite – outside or in doesn’t matter just move.

Do desk yoga – It helps with repetive movements, getting us grounded for our next clt, and stress levels

Strength Train – YES, I said you can strength train during your day. I have a program so that you can hit all the major muscle groups, move once an hour, and NOT sweat too much, at least not enough that you have to change your clothes.

Take the stairs whenever you can. – Stair climibing is a great way to get a cardio burst in throughout your day. Challenge yourself to run up, or take two at a time, or go up and down for a full 10min.

Check out the MET chart below. METs are a way we calculate energy expenditure. If you’d like to know your range I can figure it out for you, it’s based on weight and uses a an value of 1 for resting. As the METs get higher the harder the PA you are performing. As you can see from the chart there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily work and life activites. You JUST might be doing more than you think you are already! There’s also a great chart at the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/pdf/PA_Intensity_table_2_1.pdf

Rember to meet the guidelines you can break up the time – 3 /10min sessions still equals 30min in your daily activity counts.

And before you let the words “I can’t do those things because of my knee, my back, my hip, my kids, my ______ (or whatever)” STOP. Fine, don’t park by the bus stop. Park the next spot up from your normal spot and walk 10 steps more not 20. Don’t take the stairs if you feel more pain – pick something else to do. Focus on what you CAN do not what you can’t.

You never know, you just might find that by going slowly it doesn’t take long to do that thing you felt you’d never do. Step by Step – literally

Enjoy your parking and walking (aka spring) season!

 

Classification of Total Weekly Amounts of Aerobic Physical Activity Into Four Categories

Levels of Physical Activity Range of Moderate-Intensity Minutes a Week Summary of Overall Health Benefits Comment
Inactive No activity beyond baseline None Being inactive is unhealthy.
Low Activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes a week Some Low levels of activity are clearly preferable to an inactive lifestyle.
Medium 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week Substantial Activity at the high end of this range has additional and more extensive health benefits than activity at the low end.
High More than 300 minutes a week Additional Current science does not allow researchers to identify an upper limit of activity above which there are no additional health benefits.

 

Action is needed at the individual, community, and societal levels to help Americans become physically active.

  • Inactive is no activity beyond baseline activities of daily living.
  • Low activity is activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week or the equivalent amount (75 minutes, or 1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Medium activity is 150 minutes to 300 (5 hours) minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week). In scientific terms, this range is approximately equivalent to 500 to 1,000 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week.
  • High activityis more than the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

MET chart:

Iowa CHAMPs Cardiac Rehabilitation Guide: Exercise: http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/internalmedicine/champs/metchart.html

.

METs Exercise Recreational Occupational Activities of DL
1.5-2.0 METs Strolling 1-1.5 mph 1 miles in 40-60min Knitting; Playing cards; Sewing; Watching TV Desk work; Driving auto/truck; Sitting doing light assembly; Typing; Using hand tools; writing Brushing hair/teeth, Light housework, Making bed; Partial bath; Polishing furniture; Washing clothes
2.0-3.0 METs Walking, level 2.0-2.5 mph, 1 mile in 24-30min Cycling, level outdoors-5mph Horseback riding (walk); Light golf (power cart); Playing musical instrument; Shuffleboard; Woodworking Bartending; Crane operation; Standing doing light or medium assembly; TV/auto/car repair; Working heavy lever Cooking; Driving car; Ironing; riding lawn mower; Scrubbing floor; walls, cars, windows; Showering; Sweeping; Tub bath
3.0-4.0 METs Walking 3.0-4.0 mph, 1 mile in 15-20min Cycling, outdoors

5.5 mph

Billiards; Bowling; Canoeing; Croquet; Fly fishing; Golf (pulling cart); Shopping; Volleyball (non-competitive) Baling hay; Driving heavy truck; heavy machine assembly; Janitorial work; Light welding; Operating large levers; Plastering; Plumbing; Stocking shelves Cleaning windows; Climbing stairs (slowly); General House work; Kneeling; Light work; Packing/unpacking; Power lawn mowing (light); Sexual intercourse; Stocking shelves; Vacuuming
4.0-5.0 METs Walking 3.5-4.0 mph 1 mile in 15-17 min Cycling, 8 mph Calesthenics Swimming (20 yd/min) Ballet; Dancing; Gardening (how, weeding, digging), Golf (carrying clubs); Table tennis; Tennis (doubles); Volleyball Building interior of house; Carrying trays/dishes; Farm work (sporadic); House painting, Lifting, carrying objects(20-40 lb); Light carpentry; Mechanic work Raking leaves, shoveling light loads
5.0-6.0 METs Walking 4.0-4.5 mph 1 mile in 13-15 min Biking, 10 mph Canoeing (4m/hr); Gardening (digging); Skating (ice/roller); Social/square dancing; Softball/baseball (non-game); Stream fishing Handyman work (moving, shoveling); Heavy Carpentry; Putting in sidewalk Raking leaves, shoveling light loads
6.0-7.0 METs Walking/jogging, 4.0-5.0 mph 1 mile in 12-13 min Biking, 11 mph Swimming (breaststroke) Backpacking (light); Badminton; Hiking; Hunting; Horseback riding (trot), Skiing (cross country 2.5 mph); Skiing (light downhill); quare dancing; Tennis (singles) Exterior home building; Lifting, carrying objects (45-64 lb); Shoveling (10/min, 9 lb); Splitting wood Lawn mowing (push mower); Snow shoveling (light snow)
7.0-8.0 METs Walking, 5 mph 1 mile in 12 min Biking (outdoors) 12 mph Swimming (backstroke), 40 yd/min Badminton (competitive); Basketball (non-game); Canoeing (5 mph); golf (carrying bag); Horseback (gallop); Skiing (downhill, vigorous) Ascending stairs with 17 lb load; Lifting, carrying (65-84 lb); Moving heavy furniture; Sawing
8.0-9.0 METs Jog/run 5.5 mph Biking (outdoors) 13 mph Swimming (breaststroke) 40 yd/min Rowing machine; Rope jumping (60-80 skips/min) Basketball (non-game); Handball/squash/racquetball; Mountain climbing; Soccer (non-team); Touch football; Tour skiing Lifting, carrying (85-100 lb); Moving heavy furniture (moving van work); Shoveling (14 lb scoops, 10 scoops/min); Using heavy tools
9.0-10.0 METs Jog/run, 6 mph 1 mile in 10 min Football (competitive); sledding/tobogganing Heavy labor; Lumberjack; Shoveling (16 lb scoops) Ascending stairs carrying 54 lb
11.0+ METs Run 7 mph (11.5 METs) 8 mph (13.5 METs) Competitive sports: Basketball, Handball, Racquet, Rowing

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5 Ways to Get Around Workouts and Weather

So you think you’re pretty committed to your fitness routine but whenever the weather doesn’t do it your way you are no where near your exercise plan. Hmmmm, are you letting the weather dictate how your workouts go? If so it’s time to get the right gear and commit to yourself. Here’s 5 ways to get around the weather. 

  1. Get the right gear. Rain, wind, snow, sleet all can derail a good plan in no time. Having the right gear can help you stay focused even if the weather isn’t cooperating.
  2. Find a Buddy as committed as you. It’ll help on those gray sky days.
  3.  Have a back up plan. Do you have a gym you an hit if the weather doesn’t comply.
  4. Schedule a couple of times on those days you have a heads up about storms. If you miss the morning workout hopefully you’ll be able to make and afternoon time.
  5. Double up on another day that week. If you miss a workout try to make it up the next day by increasing the intensity of your regular workout and leaving time to make up the missed one.

Spring Into Fitness

Spring is around the corner. Are you ready to take your workouts to the next level? Burning calories isn’t just about how long you work it’s about how hard you work. Intervals are a great way to increase your workout calorie burn without increasing the amount of time you spend working out. Here’s how to use intervals in your program.

Begin with a warm up. Move through the movement patterns your are going to do during the intervals at a slower pace. Stretch anything that feels tight or like it needs some attention. Then begin at a moderate pace (formula below) for 2min. Take your pace to a vigorous pace for 1 min. Return to a moderate pace for 2. This is your recovery time. Repeat this pattern until your workout is complete.

To make it more difficult shorten your recovery times and increase your vigorous work phases.

To figure out your intensity levels you can use a heart rate formula to find your target heart rate training zones. This is the Karvonen Formula a popular one used by personal trainers. You’ll need to take your resting heart rate (RHR) by finding your pulse (radial artery on your wrist) and counting for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 for a 60 sec reading.

220 – Your Age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

MHR – RHR = your Hear Rate Reserve (HRR)

HRR X .40 = training % range

HRR X . 85 = training % range

training % range + RHR = your target training zone

training % range + RHR = your target training zone

40-65% = moderate workouts

65-85% = vigorous exercise.

You can recalculate according to the zone you want to workout in. Use a heart rate monitor for easy reference or divide your target training zones by 6 for a 10 second count.