Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

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!


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

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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

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Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Mine was particularly great (probably because it wasn’t at my house!  Thank, Ann).  None of our relatives were in town except my mother-in-law, so we invited another orphaned family to eat Thanksgiving dinner with us.  They have four girls that match up almost exactly with our kids and they played together nicely for hours.  Dalai Dan and I always marvel at the calming effects girls have on our boys.  They are like snake charmers…

Now, I’m getting off track.  What I really wanted to talk to you about came from a conversation I had on Saturday with Dalai Dan.  We actually had a date night and were able to discuss all sorts of things, one being my Thanksgiving post.

I’m not sure how it started, but we began to talk about that stressful day and I explained to him how aggravated I felt.  He obviously sensed it and said my post didn’t surprise him.  And then he said, “I don’t know why spending time with your kids would make you so stressed.  It’s sad.  There are moms out there that would die to be able to be in your position.  Relatively speaking, you have it pretty easy.”

No, girls, my head didn’t spin and Dalai Dan is, in fact, still alive.

But, it brought up an interesting discussion.  I explained to him that when he is with the kids, it can be all fun and games.  He doesn’t have to get anything else done.  I, on the other hand, am having to gets snacks, turn over laundry, do dishes, reply to emails, and check homework.  He, on the other hand, comes home from work and is finished.  His attention and focus can be on the kids.  He can just be with them.

Then he said, “Why can’t it be like that with you?  The dishes will get done sometime.  The laundry will still be there.  Why can’t you let it go and just have fun?”

There is no reason why I can’t.  I was speechless.  The only thing I could say was, “You’re just better at that than me.”

“Better at what?” he asked.

“Better at loving life.  Sometimes I forget.”

I swear that is why I married Dalai Dan – his good nature.  I exercise, eat well, visualize, meditate…so that I can live in the moment and enjoy what life has to give me.  It comes so naturally to him.

His words reminded me that I have strayed a little off course.  Sometimes my type A personality strives to get things done.  Check things off lists.  I need to rein that Big Boy in and remind it that the work will still be there.  I can allow myself to enjoy my kids.  Why would God have given them to me if it wasn’t to have fun with them?  Does anyone else out there have to be reminded to have fun???




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It has already started: the dreaded snack emails. Am I the only mother that detests being mandated to supply junk food to my child after he finally burns a few calories?

Another typical kid coming off the soccer field…

“Oh, but the kids just love it!” I hear. They would love having ice cream for dinner, too, so why stop there?

“Oh, a little treat isn’t going to hurt them!” Is another point of view. If only it were that ONE treat we had to deal with. Now you are encouraged to bring enough treats for siblings too. We have four kids and have an average of 4-6 games a weekend! On one special occasion, after consuming an untold number of fruity snacks, my son thought something was really wrong when his bathroom deposit was blue. Egads! How about hardening of the liver due to over consumption of high fructose corn syrup?

Treats have become the standard American reward system. Treats for good grades, treats for nice manners, treats for going potty on the toilet…do we really need to continue this illogical tradition of rewarding physical activity with calories? Do you treat yourself to a juice box and bag of chips after breaking a sweat?

So, to all you snack-list-making-moms out there, I give you five good reasons we need to stop the soccer snack madness:

1. They are eating more calories that they burn

How many calories do you think my five-year-old burns playing soccer? Taking into account actual playing time, intensity, and weight…about 80. (Check out this site) Yes, less than a low sugar granola bar. So, the argument that we are replenishing our children’s used glucose stores isn’t very compelling. Add a Capri Sun or Gatorade, and you have a potential weight gain scenario. While your child may not have a weight issue, it is an epidemic in America. Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years and has no sign of slowing down.

2. It engrains a “Pavlovian” response

This has already happened in our house. When I asked my son today how his soccer game went, his FIRST response was, “Bad. They forgot to bring snacks.” I am not making this up! Do you think, as a man, he’ll have an unidentifiable urge to eat goldfish after running on the treadmill? He might already be ruined. Perhaps I’ll send him to behavior therapy to disconnect the sweat-gut connection.

3. It is unhealthy

Here are the top snacks I see around the fields: fruit roll-ups, cookies, doughnuts, goldfish, granola bars, and graham crackers. And that doesn’t even take into account the sugary drinks. There may be the occasional mom who cuts oranges and organic apples, but more often than not the snacks are JUNK! They are highly processed and full of chemicals, sugar, HFCS, and trans fats. Rather than requiring the snacks be healthy, JUST DON’T HAVE SNACKS! The kids will survive that 20-minute drive home.

4. It can be unsafe with increasing food allergies

With the ever-increasing issue of childhood food allergies, we have to be very careful what we put out there. Nuts, wheat, and dairy are in almost everything. No mother wants a child to feel left out, but more importantly, no one wants an accidental allergic reaction from handing out Oreos. Especially when the kids come at you, like a pack of wild hyenas, grabbing bags of Scooby Snacks like it was their final meal before Judgment Day. One unintentional Nutter Butter munch and a kid could be sent to the Emergency Room.

5. Remembering to pick up snacks is a pain in the arse

What more is there to say? Please, spare me another item on my “to do” list. I can hardly remember to pick up milk, let alone 4 boxes of Juicy Juice….

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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

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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!

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