Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

I have said many times on my blog:

I love people that

a) get over their fear
b) to follow their passion
c) which helps and inspires others

I venture to guess that most of the people reading this post are not pursuing the heart’s desire. Usually the excuses are centered around time, security, failure, and risk. But all are about FEAR. The fear of failure. The fear of the unknown.

When you let go of the fear, magic happens

I sat down to interview Darby Brender, founder of Fusion Fitness, and was struck by her passion and energy. Just like us, she had a dream. Her passion was to open her own boutique fitness studio in a time when big box fitness centers dominated the scene. For years, Darby had designed and followed her own workouts, blending high energy moves with poses from yoga and pilates. She would even hold her own “classes” for people on vacation to help scratch her passion itch. She knew the kinds of classes she wanted to take, and there was nothing out there like them.

(Yes, this is her actual body. Come on, stop looking at it and keep reading.)

Finally, in 2008, with a one-year-old daughter and still being relatively new to Kansas City, 28-year-old Darby took the plunge with friend and partner, Shandy Rooney. The two of them worked tirelessly on innovative workout routines, performing them over and over for each other until they were flawless. After finding the perfect spot in Overland Park, Kansas, the two invested their own money and opened the doors on May 5th.

Just four years later, and Fusion Fitness is THE fitness studio in Kansas City. If you see a good body walking around town, Darby probably had something to do with it. Her classes are intense, results-oriented, and FUN. As she says,

If you want to see a transformation, you have to work hard. I want my clients to see results and strive to give them the best work-outs I can. I am constantly changing the routines so the body doesn’t plateau from getting used to it. I always want to keep Fusion Fitness cutting-edge.”

Something special is going on over there, that’s for sure, because classes are packed and they studio has already had to expand twice. Business is booming and it has been virtually all by word of mouth.

That is what happens when you follow your dreams.

The Universe conspires to assist you along the way. And your passion is contagious…better than any magazine add money could by.

After taking over the business when her partner moved, she went right back into innovating. Her next dream was an exercise video. Not just another exercise video…something that has not been done before. Where you feel like you are actually in the classroom. Clients across the country wanted to be able to take her classes anywhere they went.

Darby says deciding to make the video was

One of the scariest things I have done. Much scarier than opening the studio. I really had to work through that fear and ask my supporters to help me keep on track

The project had a huge time committment and much greater financial risk. But, she followed her dream, got over the fear, and went for it.

As with any intention you put out there, if you focus on it, things start falling into place. Darby serendipitously realized a client had a film production company and would be able to produce the video, a friend hooked her up with the perfect music producer, and actual Fusion Fitness customers agreed to star in it. The results are magical.

The first 500 videos have already flown off the shelves, and you can see why…

Not only is this exercise video amazing enough to go crazy viral, I venture to guess it won’t be the last one you’ll see from Darby. She has “trainer to the stars” quality, and that, coupled with her passion, is contagious. She is truly a special spirit who wants nothing more than to help women’s health.

When you follow your heart’s desire, success is inevitable

Check out her website and blog, and if you want a reall a$$-kicking, treat yourself to her video! (disclaimer: every time I have taken her class, I can barely move for 2 days. You won’t be disappointed!)

Start following your dreams, readers! And while you are, let Fusion Fitness get you into shape!

Read Full Post »

This is totally incredible. I need to start taking yoga where this guy goes…

Read Full Post »

So, you are all ready to get off the holiday pounds by cleaning out your closets, but what about real exercise?

A recent study published by the Journal of Physiology found something intriguing…

Researcher in Belgium recruited 28 healthy men and split them into 3 groups. For 6 weeks, each group was fed the same incredibly unhealthy food: 50% from fat and 30% more calories, overall, than the men had been eating. Each group, however, varied their exercise.

Group one didn’t exercise at all.

Group two exercised in the morning, after a big breakfast, and drank a sports drink during the workout.

Group three exercised in the morning, on an empty stomach, and only drank wanter during the workouts. They still ended up consuming the same fat/calorie ratio but just ate the meals after their workout.

The two exercising groups did the exact length, intensity, and number of workouts a week.

What do you guess happened?

I’m sure it is no surprise that the non exercising group gained the most weight and showed signs of insulin resistance. Group two, who ate their breakfast before exercising, gained half as many pounds as the first group, but also showed signs of insulin resistance.

Group three, however, gained no weight, showed no signs of insulin resistance, and burned the fat they were consuming more efficiently.


So, I guess my last post where I wrote it’s all about “calories in and calories out” isn’t entirely accurate!

I usually have a light breakfast before working out, but I think this week I’m going to exercise on a fasting stomach. I may pass out, but at least I’ll be burning fat…

Read Full Post »

So, I have 3 holiday pounds to lose.  How about you?  Three didn’t sound that bad.  Until I made meatloaf from the 84 packages of ground beef we have and I could fully imagine what 3 pounds of fat look like.  AND IT’S SOMEWHERE ON MY BODY.

What I need to lose a few pounds, I take a little different approach than my typical detoxes.  When I am on a “cleanse” I am eating very clean, but I am not counting calories.  I could easily have 500 calories in avacado and nuts and I wouldn’t know it.

In the end, losing weight is calories in and calories out.

I don’t revert back to Snackwells and protein bars, but I do make it very easy for myself.  The harder it is, the easier it is for me to mess up.

Here is my plan:

1. Write everything down.  Duuu, no-brainer, I know.  But, if you have an iPhone, try this cool application:  Daily Burn.  It is extremely easy to enter in your meals and also has an optional scanner, which I LOVE.  Anything that has a barcode, you can just scan and it will bring up the exact calories.  AMAZING!

2. Stock up on “healthy” prepackaged foods.  I sill eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially apples and bananas since they are grab-and-go), but I don’t want to get caught in a jam and have nothing acceptable to turn to.  My favorites are:

Amy’s Kitchen frozen meals and burritos

Organic Bistro frozen meals

Sabra hummus singles

MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Burger

Trio Bars

3. Clean and organize my closets.  Yes, the Dalai household undergoes a massive purge when the Dalai Lina needs to lose a few pounds.  Closets, basement, cupboards, toy boxes – nothing escapes me.  I find that I’m burning extra calories, but more importantly, there seems to be some kind of symbiotic relationship between my body and my house.  As soon and I start letting go of the junk, my body joins in.  It’s one big, Dalai liquidation.  All the excess “fat” gets disposed of, and by the time I’m done, I’m ready for the new year in mind, body and house!

Read Full Post »

I play tennis. Badly.

I started taking lessons three years ago. I never had touched a racquet before. I see, now, how this is a huge disadvantage. I think it is like riding a bike: once you learn your body has some muscle memory. I, on the other hand, am like a stroke victim laying new nurological pathways.  I may as well be re-learning to brush my teeth after a brain injury.  My mind is commanding my body to make contact with the ball but the message doesn’t get there in time.

This brings me to my guest post. It is about doing the correct warm up to get the synapses firing and those fast twitch muscles moving. God knows I need all the help I can get. I used to never warm up, and if I did it consisted of a couple hamstring stretches. Those old fashioned static stretches are out the door! Read more from Gregg Best, a friend and local trainer……

As a trainer, clients enlist me to maximize their workouts. After 12 years in this industry, I have watched the evolution of exercise and its ever-changing fads.  With better scientific research, however, we are able to dispel many of the common misconceptions.  One of these misconceptions is how to best warm up before and stretch after a workout or a sporting event.

So, Why Do We Need to Warm Up?

Most people will answer, “to prevent injury,” but this is actually false.  In a study by Pope et al in 2000, static stretching was studied in more than 2600 soldiers and found to have no apparent effect on the risk of injury.  The level of aerobic fitness, however, was a powerful predictor of injury risk, so much so that the least fit had a 14 times greater risk of injury versus the fittest subject.

Warming up, then, is to prepare the body for the game or training session that follows.  You should be able to START the athletic event able to perform at optimal intensity and ability.  Warm ups should:

  • Increase body temperature
  • Increase heart rate and blood flow
  • Increase oxygen uptake and transport
  • Increase activation of the central nervous system
  • Increase the rate and force of muscle contraction
  • Increase suppleness of connective tissue

Traditional Warm Ups Don’t Measure Up

Traditionally, athletes have been taught to prepare for a game or race by warming up with cardio vascular movement, then following it with static stretching.  Static stretching is stretching a muscle to its farthest point and holding it for 15-30 seconds.

There is more than adequate research in the area of stretching before exercise to deem it not effective.  If we look at research in depth, most all of the activities tested had a decrease in performance.  Unfortunately, most people do not know that isolated static stretching immediately before a sport or exercise will actually impair a person’s strength and power.

A Better Way:  The Dynamic Warm-up

A dynamic warm up is a much safer and effective way to prepare the body for exercise.  The dynamic warm-up also begins with a general cardio warm up, but is followed by dynamic stretching instead of static stretching.  Dynamic stretching is a type of movement where momentum and active muscular effort are used to stretch to the end position and is not held.  Dynamic warm-ups are short, explosive, multi-directional movements that prime the nervous system, lengthen connective tissue, and increase muscle activation.

There are two kinds of stretch receptors.  One measures magnitude and speed and the other measures magnitude only.  Static stretching improves only static flexibility (magnitude) and dynamic stretching only improves dynamic flexibility (magnitude AND speed).  Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to use static stretches before a dynamic activity!  Not to mention there are few sports where achieving static flexibility is advantageous to success in the sport.  It makes more sense for the warm-up to resemble the activity to be performed.

Not only will your athletic performance increase, there are many studies that suggest dynamic stretching does reduce injury rates.  So, not only will you be better able to win your tennis game, beat your marathon time, and perform better in your next training session, you will be able to stave off injuries and stay in the gym.

Dynamic Stretch options:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Crossover Jacks
  • Jump rope
  • Body weight squats
  • Reverse lunge with upper body reach over
  • Front lunge with upper body rotation
  • Leg swings

Read Full Post »

Yoga Smell

I probably should write my first yoga article on the amazing benefits of yoga. The strengthening, the stretching, the clarifying, the focusing, the detoxifying effects…but they are probably widely know by anyone reading this. Maybe I’ll go into it more in another post.

What I really wanted to write about is my recent yoga observations. I have become a smell magnet.

Let me clarify. I LOVE hot yoga. I absolutely love sweating out toxins in a 106º room. I also am aware that ½ naked, hot, sweaty bodies are not going to smell good. But, with more and more men starting taking hot yoga (which, thank God they are) the smell has been taken to a new level.

First it was the man with the smelly feet. When we would lay down in savasana, his feet were directly besides my head. The smell was so intense it was like having my 10 year-old’s summer, sockless, stinky shoes right up my nostrils.

This is pretty close to what I look like. I think my leg is a bit straighter.

Then there was the extreme halitosis of another gentleman. How do you smell the breath of a person a body length away? I wasted half the class attempting to locate the odor source by detecting subtle changes in the air circulation. I fell out of standing bow when a strong whiff came my way and my odor detective work broke my concentration.

Dalai Dan and I like the couple eagle pose too. Very romantic.

Lastly, there was the college frat boy flatulation. This happened just this past Saturday and I can’t get it out of my mind. Not only the smell, but also the sound of this guy farting in class when doing the eagle (aka “ball buster” by male friends). It brings back painful memories of my first yoga class, 4 years ago, when I accidentally tooted on my instructor while she was adjusting my pelvis in downward facing dog. I almost never recovered.

Would you have been able to show your face again?  I had to switch yoga studios…

I think these are all signs from the Universe that I need to stop worrying about other people and keep focusing on my own issues, like the fact that I am totally mental about camel pose. So, the next time I encounter overwhelming body odor, I plan on visualizing the sweet smell of my baby boys when they were newborns. Way before the days of farts and stinky feet and certainly years before they do it in a yoga class.

I personally prefer the traditional speedo over the short cut.

Read Full Post »

A new report from the EarlyBird Diabetes Study suggests that physical activity has little if any role to play in the obesity epidemic among children.

A review published in 2009 of all trials using physical activity to reduce childhood obesity showed weight loss amounting to just 90g (3oz) over three years, and the EarlyBird study wanted to know why the trials were so ineffective. So they challenged some popular paradigms.

It is well known that less active children are fatter, but that does not mean — as most people assume it does — that inactivity leads to fatness. It could equally well be the other way round: that obesity leads to inactivity.

And this is the question EarlyBird was uniquely placed to answer.  Does the physical activity of the child precede changes in fatness over time, or does the fatness of the child precede changes in physical activity over time?

And the answer, published recently in Archives of Disease in Childhood, was clear. Physical activity had no impact on weight change, but weight clearly led to less activity.

The implications are profound for public health policy, because the physical activity of children (crucial to their fitness and well-being) may never improve unless the burgeoning levels of childhood obesity are first checked. If this cannot be achieved through physical activity, the focus has to be on what — and how much — children consume.

EarlyBird has already shown how the trajectory leading to obesity is established very early in life, long before children go to school, and how most childhood obesity is associated with obesity in the same-sex parent.

While portion size, calorie-dense snacks and sugary drinks are all important contributors, early feeding errors seem crucial — and physical activity is not the answer.

Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (2010, July 7). Inactivity ‘no contributor’ to childhood obesity epidemic, new report suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707212127.htm

Read Full Post »

I used to be a cardio junky. Step, spinning, Jane-Fonda-like aerobics, ANYTHING that got my heart rate up. I hated lifting weights. It was a waste of my time. Isn’t losing weight all about burning calories? I thought cardio was the yellow brick road to Thin City…

But I was always 10 pounds heavy.  Bummer. Must need more cardio.  How about 2 classes a day?  Lets see if that works. No, still have those extra pounds.

That was until I made a significant change in my workout routine.  I went from 90% cardio to about a 50/50 mix. Three days a week I do nothing but weight-bearing exercises…no grape vines or Charleston kicks involve.  And when I say weights, I mean WEIGHTS.  Heavy enough that you can only do 10-12 reps.

Over time I noticed a huge difference. I was getting leaner, I had much better definition, and I lost those nagging extra pounds!

So, it wasn’t a surprise to me when NY Times published an article about the benefits of heavy weight training.  I know there is a myth circulating that lifting heavy weights will bulk us girls up, but unless we start taking testosterone supplements, we will never look like this…

Back to the article…In a 2002 study scientists analyzed two groups of women given various resistance exercises: one group worked at 85% of their maximum ability for 8 reps and the other group at 45% of their maximum for 15 reps.   The women lifting more weight fewer times burned more energy and had a greater metabolic boost after exercise.

Similar findings came out in a study last year.   For six years 122 women were followed.   Those women assigned to do resistance exercises three times a week — sets of 8 reps at 70 to 80 percent of their ability — lost the most weight and body fat.   Another two-year study of women who did strength training with challenging weighs twice weekly had similar findings, with a notable reduction of “intra-abdominal” fat.

So, girls, start lifting those weights!  Short time is just around the corner!

Read Full Post »