SFLP: Part 8

At the beginning of this program, we talked about inner baggage, guilt, and things that weigh us down.  I’ve kept my posts here to a minimum and allowed time and space for thoughtfulness.  After all, anyone can give advice, pontificate, and wax eloquent.  But really, the DOING is up to you.  So how have you done on the internal part of this program?  Have you let the mental chatter slow you down and prevent you from tackling the physical parts of this journey?

I’d like to come full circle for this final post of the SFLP.  Have you uncovered those hidden things which hold you back from being truly and simply fit?  Are you finding that your motivation to exercise or eat right is REDEMPTION rather than FOR JOY?

For the rest of this week, keep your notebook close by, and write down your thoughts on “doing for joy rather than for redemption.”  See if you can find the source of your need for redemption in there.  You might just find that you aren’t so bad after all, and not really in need of “fixing.”  And then, maybe, just maybe, you might find yourself free to enjoy exercise and wellness because you want to!

SFLP: Part 5

For this part of the Simply Fit Lifestyle Program, I’d like to give you an easy, at-home strength training routine.  Of course, you need to make sure you are healthy enough for an exercise program.  You need to make sure that you have a doctor’s okay, especially if you have a heart condition, are pregnant, or are at risk in some way.  And you need to make sure that you understand that sometimes you can drop a dumbbell on your foot, pull a hammie, or otherwise hurt yourself.  Consider yourself waivered and informed. . . .

To do this routine, you will need a few pieces of inexpensive equipment:  dumbbells, ankle weights, and a stability ball.  It’s a quick and easy program that you can even do in front of the television.

I do not list an amount of weight to use because that will vary with each person.  I am suggesting that you do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise; therefore, you will want to choose a weight where you are able to complete the 10 reps and are glad you don’t have to do any more.

This routine suits the individual who is “just getting back into it.”  It is also a nice workout for those who have progressed past the beginner stage and are ready to mix it up a little.  It may be too easy for some, and too difficult for others.  But it’s free and it’s simple and it’s convenient to do at home when you are short on time.

I suggest trying this routine for four weeks.  Do the routine twice a week.  (I have Tuesday & Thursday listed, but do whatever two days suit your schedule…. just don’t do back-to-back days.)

Please feel free to ask questions in the Comment Box below!  Happy strength training!

Full Body Home Workout

SFLP: Part 3

In Part 2, we looked at the burden of guilt that many of us carry and that can unconsciously drive many of our actions.  Since writing down your thoughts on what you might want to transform in that area, how have you felt?  Have you thought about what it might feel like to be free to simply BE and not feel motivated by guilt?

Let’s continue letting those thoughts simmer while we move to another topic:  our physical self.

One definition of fitness is “quality of life.”  Another definition includes things like cardiovascular health, muscular strength and endurance, body composition, and flexibility.  Either way, a fit person should be able to move easily and complete daily tasks.

Now, even if you already exercise or compete in sports, you might not be so diligent about stretching.  I know plenty of competitive athletes who even seem to take pride in never stretching.  To be sure, there are probably just as many studies that say stretching is a good thing as there are studies which say it’s useless.  For me, though, I just can’t deny that it feels really good to stretch and be flexible.

For Part 3 of the SFLP, I give you a challenge:  Stretch for just five minutes a day for the next seven days.  Even those of us with the least amount of free time to devote to a workout program can surely find five minutes before bedtime to loosen up.

In case you can’t remember back as far as junior high gym class to come up with some stretches on your own, you might want to consider the Sun Salutation from yoga.  It is a very simple routine that only takes a minute or two.  You can do three sets of the Sun Salutation easily in five minutes.

Here are two good explanations (with pictures) of the Sun Salutation:



Take the stretching challenge, and prove to yourself that you can do it.  Five minutes a day for seven days is very doable, and you will start the ball rolling on a simply fitter lifestyle.

Workout Challenge

As a personal trainer and coach, I often hear people say they are hurt, bored, or plateauing in their workouts.  These conditions can all be signs of over-training or improper training.  Changing up your routine can make all the difference.  After all, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is, well, you know. . . .

Simply adding more weight or increasing reps is not the answer.  Variety is.  Choosing different exercises to challenge different body parts is much more effective.  Resist the temptation to work only on your strengths.

Here are three exercises to try.  You will need a stability ball and a medicine ball.


  • Hold medicine ball at chest height.
  • Lower down to squat position.
  • As you return to standing position, twist at core and lift ball over right shoulder.
  • Squat down again; repeat stand and twist to left side.


Medicine Ball Squat Twist



  • Lie on stability ball, with hip bones on ball.  Support upper body by keeping shoulders directly over hands.
  • Lift both legs together to height of stability ball.
  • Hold briefly at this position.
  • Lower legs together.

Stability Ball Leg Raises




  • Get into side plank position (either resting on elbow or hand).  Keep hips stacked over each other; don’t let yourself roll forward or backward.
  • Maintaining a straight body, lift hip from the floor until body is in a straight line.
  • Lower hip back to ground; lightly touch floor with hip but do not rest here.

Plank Side Raise



Try 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.  Enjoy the variety of adding new exercises!

The No-Excuses Home Workout

One of the biggest excuses for not exercising is “I don’t have any time.”  But if you are really ready to start doing SOMETHING, then here is an easy at-home routine you can do with no equipment and only 20 minutes.  These activities can be done in one spot, so you can even do this routine in front of the TV.  You really have no reason not to try it!

Do each exercise for one minute, and rest for :30 seconds between each exercise.  Try this circuit twice for a simple 20-minute routine to jump start your day!

  • Knee Lifts (standing in place, touch opposite elbow to knee)
  • Squats (feet at least shoulder-width apart)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Wall Sit (lean against a wall with legs bent at 90 degrees, keep back and head against wall)
  • Plank (that is, hold the top part of a pushup, keep ear-shoulder-hips-knees in a straight line)
  • “Superman” back extensions (lie on stomach, arch back so that shoulders and chest come off floor)

Please be aware that fitness activities are potentially hazardous activities.  Ensure that you are physically capable of performing these exercises and that you have no conditions that would be aggravated by performing this routine.  Questions?  Please ask here, or email me at aim4wisdom@yahoo.com.

Pick Things Up and Put Them Down

Did you know that . . .

1.  If you don’t strength train, you will lose an average of 5 pounds of muscle tissue (called disuse atrophy) per decade?

2.  You can increase muscle mass by 2-4 pounds and increase muscular strength by 40-60% after only 8-12 weeks of strength training?

3.  Loss of muscle tissue results in a decrease in your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories expended at rest)?

4.  The slowing of metabolic rate is associated with an increase in body fat?

5.  Strength training raises your resting metabolic rate by 7-8% after only a few weeks?

So even if you did strength training just twice a week, you would burn an average of 120 more calories AT REST (this is on top of whatever you earned from the workout) than a non-strength training person.  Even if you did nothing else, that would result in an average weight loss of 1 pound in a month.

Now get to it!

What Does it Mean to be Fit?

You might have seen a recent article about endurance athletes and heart damage.  The article referred to research that showed excessive exercise could damage the heart in ways similar to a minor heart attack.

Luckily, one needn’t exercise for three hours a day in order to be fit.  Of course a professional athlete will have different requirements, but for those of us just looking to improve our quality of life, or even to compete in local events, we can be more balanced in our approach.

So what does it mean to be fit?  What would you need to do to improve your fitness level?  You might be thinking, “I run every day, so I’m fit.”  Well, according to the definition, you would not be completely fit if you only ran.  Fitness has five basic components:

  • CARDIOVASCULAR ENDURANCE.  This term refers to how efficient your lungs and heart are over the long run.  To improve your cardiovascular endurance, you might try a spin class or running or swimming–any activity that keeps you moving for an extended period of time.
  • MUSCULAR ENDURANCE.  This term refers to how efficient your muscles are over the long run.  In other words, how many times could you lift a moderate weight?  Pushups would be a good example.
  • MUSCULAR STRENGTH.  Your muscular strength is a measure of how much weight you can lift once.  Think of those large Russian men in the Olympics who clean and jerk obscene amounts of weight;  they only lift it one time, but it’s a LOT of weight.
  • FLEXIBILITY.  An often neglected area, flexibility is the range of motion that is possible around a joint.  You don’t need to take a yoga class; just try adding a couple of simple stretches after your workout.
  • BODY COMPOSITION.  This term refers to the ratio of lean muscle mass to body fat.  A certain amount of body fat is essential for proper body function.

So how do you measure up now?  Are you neglecting some areas?  Remember, you should expect, even demand, that your body be able to walk up and down stairs without getting winded, to shovel snow without straining a muscle, to put lotion on your own back and not miss any spots.  Your body was made to be used in a variety of ways, so in order for you to be fit, make sure you consider all five areas in your exercise routine.

Happy Training!