Better Exercise Routine

In here a few weeks ago I had to referred to changing the time and frequency of of my exercise sessions.

Currently I lift weights 2x per week for 30 to 35 minutes of training with warm-up and cool-down stretching. For a total of 40 to 45 minutes for each workout.

I had written that I would report back as to how it’s going.

I find that exercising consistently 2x every week for a shorter time in each session has toned my body better than it’s ever been.

It might be that I train harder and more intensely because the time I have is shorter.

I’ve been doing the new routine for over 7 weeks so far. I had a 3-week setback of not training. Yet quickly reversed course and started the sessions again.

The proof of the success is that I’m 54, living in menopause, and haven’t gained weight. In fact I lost 4 pounds after changing the time and frequency of the sessions.

To maintain your physical and mental health post-40 years old I recommend strength training. Specifically lifting weights.

I weigh the same as I did 8 years ago when I first started lifting. The difference is I dropped one pant and one skirt size. This happened because I gained muscle.

I ask you: is 45 minutes 2x per week so hard to fit into a person’s schedule?

You’ll like the results you get.

Next week I will return to talking about the benefits of having a home gym.

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How to Eat Healthier – Part Three

One of the scariest true facts is that chemicals thought to cause cancer are often found in food and drink products in the U.S.

Not all chemicals in food and drink products are regulated. Most aren’t.

Awhile back I had no energy to get out of bed on most days. Without resorting to taking an anti-depressant (I wasn’t depressed just fatigued) I was willing to try any non-chemical method of regaining my vigor.

My primary care doctor had told me that emotional distress can cause physical fatigue.

One idea she told me was to buy Ubiquinol from the pharmacy. The pill was supposedly a better version of CoEnzyme Q10.

CoQ10 is thought to give a person energy. I thought nothing of popping this pill until I read the ingredients. The Ubiquinol was listed as having Red and Blue Food Dye.

No kidding. After that, I stopped buying and taking this supposedly healthful product.

The pills were coated in an orange color–which should’ve been a tip-off.

Shortly after I stopped taking this OTC product my energy started to get elevated again. So I was lucky the fatigue slowly slowly got better.

You might not know this: a lot of drugs that are prescribed like atypical anti-psychotics cause weight gain precisely because the pills cause a person to have a ravenous appetite.

I take a pill that I’m grateful didn’t cause weight gain.

To end this blog entry I want to give you a dose of common sense.

Alas, common sense isn’t at all common.

I’m 53 years old, so technically I’m living in mid life.

Yet I haven’t packed on any extra pounds in mid life and have maintained the same weight as when I was 40.

Part of this equation is that I don’t eat a lot of food. I eat healthfully 80 percent of the time. I wrote about the 80 Percent Rule in a long-ago blog entry.

When I’m not hungry anymore I stop eating. Often I leave food on my plate–not a lot yet there’s food left over.

Thinking that you have to “clean your plate” so as not to waste food is a mistake. Why are you cooking too much food to begin with?

It’s also not your fault that chain restaurants sell huge portions of food. The food they’re giving you is unhealthy most of the time: the food was bought cheaply and prepared cheaply.

Then it’s loaded up on the plate. You could be tempted to eat it all or take home the leftovers.

Taking home leftovers is better than eating the huge portion all at once. You’ll have a second meal the next day.

Eating healthful food in moderation–five a day of fruits and vegetables–is one sensible guideline I think is non-negotiable if you want to stick to the one best nutrition guideline.

In How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life Frank Lipman, MD goes so far as to recommend eating two servings of fruit a day.

Eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables isn’t that hard to do every day. I have an organic navel orange for breakfast and a serving of an in-season fruit for an afternoon snack. I have a salad three days a week for one serving of a vegetable that day. Mix in a vegetable for dinner on most nights:

Voila–you can see it really isn’t hard to eat healthfully 80 percent of the time.

How have I been doing in executing my sub-goals for Step Three Perspire with theĀ  Changeology 90-day action plan?

Remember: I wanted to buy and bring salads to my job to eat for lunch 3x/per week. And I wanted to exercise at the gym 2x/ per week.

In the next blog entry you’ll find out whether I succeeded or not.

Getting Happy

How it went down: I told a person I was going to the gym. She said: “Why don’t you go to a movie?”

It was a gray, rainy, soggy day. I could detect a lack of understanding about my preferred get-happy activity.

For the cost of a $15 movie ticket I’d rather install an e-book on my device that I can read over and over.

You see in little and big ways a lot of people won’t understand you. They could resent that you do your own thing, not what other people tell you that you should do.

The foolproof method that gives me joy is going to the gym. I’ve lifted weights for over seven years. I’ve been a member of the gym for going on 15 years.

One effective tactic for rising above hateful or hurtful comments just might be finding what you love to do and going and doing that.

Engaging in goal-seeking behavior is a good way to feel better as you cross an accomplishment off a list.

Again I’ll refer to the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions. The winners who cross their finish line execute each of the five steps in the correct order over a 90-day time period.

I’m convinced that most people don’t like to exercise. They simply give up their efforts to get in better shape after two months. They work out religiously then stop.

This is because they’ve done what other people tell them to do or what they think they “should” do: go to the gym.

In tandem with using the Changeology method I think discovering The Fitness You can make all the difference.

Lindsey Vonn the gold-medalist Olympic skier writes about The Fitness You in her book Strong is the New Beautiful.

Vonn gives readers a strategy for finding the kind(s) of exercise you’ll enjoy. Hint: you don’t have to set foot in a gym to get fit.

Recently in here I wrote about setting up a home gym. That’s one alternative option.

Getting physically and mentally fit is the goal.

Unlike most people who simply stop going to the gym and move on:

I don’t feel so hot when I miss a week of exercise.

That’s why I champion finding The Fitness You.

That’s why I endorse engaging in goal-seeking behavior.

It might not be lifting weights that helps you defend yourself against the slings and arrows other people shoot at you.

Thinking in terms of having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships is the way to go.

There’s so much more to life than being handed a prescription and sent on your way.

Yes–I might try to find my handout on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.

I’d like to refer to it in the coming blog entries.

Just remember: lurking inside a hurtful comment is a pebble of what’s bothering the other person.

Happiness is the vaccine that can inoculate us from feeling poorly about ourselves.

Setting Up a Home Gym

I’ve exercised in my living room two or three times since I was thrown into the role of caregiver for my mother.

You don’t need an expensive gym membership to work out every week.

You can go on YouTube to watch videos to see how to perform different exercises.

For a cost of $90 or so upfront you can buy equipment to use in your home.

I’m not a big fan of buying things on Amazon yet I do shop on this online superstore every so often.

I bought from Amazon sellers a 20-pound kettlebell, two 10-pound dumbbells, and a 36-inch foam roller.

That’s all you’ll need to exercise in your living room: just these three items.

Amazon also sells adjustable weight dumbbells.

With this equipment you can do an exercise routine for thirty minutes or longer.

If you’re not ready for higher weights buy the weights you can use at this time.

Turn on the radio, internet, iPod or other device to your favorite music for a mood boost while you work out.

Some exercises you can do in your living room:

Stretches and foam roller

Kettlebell swings

Single-leg deadlift

Alternating V-ups

Goblet squat

Curtsy squat

Pulse side squat

Lunges

Dumbbell curl

Chest press

Renegade Row

Plank

Side Plank with hip drop

Bicycle crunches

Figure 4 crunches

Push-ups

Jumping Jacks

Mental Health Acceptance Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

From here on in I’ll call this Mental Health Acceptance and Awareness Month.

Like in keeping with Autism Acceptance Month in April we need to recognize that for a lot of people diagnosed with schizophrenia good things have come from having this illness.

We also need to frame May as Acceptance Month because it’s imperative that we prioritize mental health as the number-one driver of a person’s recovery.

In here before I’ve championed fitness of mind, body, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Without mental health all the other links in this fitness chain can be broken.

I will always fight for the rights of individuals with chronic unremitting schizophrenia. This is a given because not everyone is going to do well after they have an episode.

Most people can recover. A minority cannot. It’s those of us whose illness is more severe that require intensive treatment and unrelenting advocacy efforts to protect their rights to services and support.

Those of us who are able to recover should pass the baton to help others recover.

Acceptance of our challenges is the gateway to owning our recovery. When we resist facing the truth and are in denial this will only perpetuate the illness.

Awareness of schizophrenia and other mental health conditions isn’t the end. It’s the start. Any awareness must come with corresponding acceptance that these illnesses are real health conditions. That most of us recover and some of us might not do as well as others.

In the end this involves treating everyone with dignity and compassion.

Not whitewashing the truth. Not catering to only people we deem worthy of advocacy.

Treating everyone as individuals whose stories are valuable.

Helping others tell their stories. Listening when we hear another person’s story.

Getting Into the Gym Groove

Round about the New Year a lot of people join gyms across America.

There’s a guaranteed way to persist at your fitness goals.

Read the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions. It can help you succeed when you execute each step in the right order.

In a recent New York Times article a woman writer snipped about yoga pants. She joined a gym and wears sweatpants to work out. She thinks people stared at her because she’s not wearing yoga pants. The woman claims that yoga pants objectify woman as sex objects.

This is blarney. If you want to succeed at your fitness goals you need to dress the part of a champion. Elite athletes don’t wear sweatpants to perform.

How you dress in any area of life can affect how you feel about yourself. Getting into the gym groove will be easier when you dress the part.

I used to wear whatever clothes I could pass off as workout gear when I first started lifting weights. Then I got hip and started to buy training pants and tee shirts specifically for sweat sessions.

You can buy for at tops $79 a pair of training pants in Modell’s. Or get cheaper options in Century’s in New York City–Century 21 off-price discount retailer. Even Target if I remember has Champion workout gear.

In all areas of life if you want to get in the game you have to put on your game face as it’s called. Wearing the right clothes to the gym can put you in a champion’s frame of mind.

JackRabbit sells running shoes at their stores and online. In person you can get tested to see which kind of shoe is best for how your feet touch the ground.

I tell you loyal readers that resisting buying quality training clothes is a royal mistake. You’ll feel better about yourself when you’re dressed better.

No one else is looking at you at the gym either way. Hardcore fitness buffs are too busying working out to spend more than a minute or too glancing around the room.

Should you not want to buy skintight yoga pants there are plenty of options with a boot cut hem out there.

If you power through the next two months at the gym and want to stay motivated to continue I urge you to rethink wearing sweatpants to work out.

In the coming blog entries I’ll return to a focus on fitness and nutrition.

In the end having a fitness routine and a balanced nutrition plan is a valid adjunct form of treatment for people with mental health issues.

Strong is the New Beautiful

Strong is the New Beautiful by Olympic gold-medal skier Lindsey Vonn is the number-one fitness book I’ve ever read.

I urge you to go out and buy this book or install it on a device.

Turn to page 156 for this gem alone which makes it worth buying the book:

“The more muscle mass you have, the less likely you are to die early from any cause, according to research.”

Lifting weights twice a week and doing cardio once or twice a week can be all that’s needed to get a person in peak condition mentally and physically.

You might be turned off by the photos of Lindsey Vonn without clothes on. Yet if you ask me she poses that way to show women of all shapes and sizes that we’re beautiful just the way we are.

After winning Gold, Lindsey Vonn interacted with celebrities and started to question if she was beautiful because she had a muscular build. She wasn’t stick-thin like the women who are movie screen idols.

What Lindsey Vonn wrote bears repeating here because I’m living proof of what she speaks: you can gain a few pounds from lifting weights and drop a dress size.

Indeed, I didn’t lose any weight when I started strength training. However, I did drop one pant and one skirt size.

I’ve fit into the same size pant and skirt for over 5 years now. No–I didn’t lose weight I actually gained a few pounds. Yet I fit into a smaller size.

The secret is to not give up after only two months. It takes one year at least of consistent, dedicated strength training to see significant results that will last.

The number on the scale really shouldn’t be a woman’s concern in this regard.

As it is, I’m muscular not skeletal thin and I prefer to have muscle.

This summer I will be posting here photos of meals and recipes that readers can try at home.

It’s Greenmarket season–my favorite time of year.

I will also be posting lists of exercise motivation tips and other fitspo as it’s called for fitness inspiration.