Why you Gained Weight in Your Workout

Some fun, that Memorial Day workout, yes? I hope it kept the potato salad in perspective. In spite of my best intentions, we wound up not having the stuff so we had to find virtue in other places. Great Memorial Day, great time to honor the troops, those who fell and those still with us.

Let’s look again at the reasons for working out. You do a workout because you know that exercise burns calories and helps you to shed extra pounds.

Knowing this, you may think that losing weight should be easy with enough exercise. However the truth is that if you aren’t accustomed to exercising and are out of shape, beginning an exercise program may actually lead to an initial increase in your weight – but only for a time.

This fact, however, shouldn’t stop you from exercising, as you’ll eventually turn the weight corner and start losing.

What is it about exercise that may cause some people to gain instead of lose weight?

Muscle: One of the main reasons exercising can lead to initial weight gain is that it promotes the growth of muscle.

If you are not used to working out and haven’t used certain muscles regularly, after exercising your muscles will be sore and will increase in size. While you may burn off fat, muscle is denser than fat. Therefore, the weight you gain is in your muscles.

Don’t sweat it! Since muscles take up less space than fat, your extra weight doesn’t necessarily translate to larger size. In fact, once you start working out, you’ll become thinner, even if you maintain your previous weight. Instead of using a scale to determine if you are slimming down, have your body fat tested regularly or measure your body at certain areas.

(If you see that you’re losing inches, then you know you’re on the right track. This is why you should invest in a cloth tape measure when you start working out – so you can measure your waist, arms and leg circumferences.)

Cardiovascular activities like walking, running, or swimming will encourage the growth of lean, toned muscles. Other activities such as weight lifting promote the growth of larger, stronger muscles.

But there is good news in this. If you stick with the exercise program, your muscles will soon stabilize in size and after a time, become toned. After your muscles are strong and able to handle more strenuous workouts, you will be able to burn calories faster.

While it may be frustrating and disappointing to see the scale go up after starting an exercise routine, it shouldn’t stop you from exercising. You may just be building muscle faster than losing body fat. This can be especially true if you’re genetically prone to building muscle fast. The key is to incorporate bouts of cardio exercise in addition to strength training. That way you will burn plenty of calories during your routine and be more able to shed pounds.

Eating Habits: When you work out and burn calories, your body will feel the need to replace those burned calories.

This may make you feel hungrier than usual, which can cause you to eat more than normal—sometimes without knowing it. A good idea is to keep a food journal to track of the actual number of calories you are consuming.

You may also end up eating more calories and justifying their consumption since you’re exercising. After a good workout, you may see an ice cream sundae as a reward for the calories you burned. Just be careful. If you’re interested in losing pounds, you can’t simply break even with your caloric intake and the amount of calories you burn.

At the same time, eating too few calories can be counterproductive and slow your weight loss. Without enough calories, your body may slow its metabolism. So eat plenty to keep your body well fueled, but choose healthy calories that will help your body recover after a workout and grow stronger.

Hydration: Depending on the time of day you weigh yourself, the scale may read differently. Your weight can fluctuate as much as five pounds depending on the amount of water or food you have recently consumed or the amount of water you have shed in sweat. It is therefore important to weigh yourself at the same time each day.

OK, then! From all of the above, you can see lots of reasons to keep up with your workouts and, of course, no reasons not to workout! Stick with it!

Give it Time!

Whatever the cause of your weight influx after exercising, don’t give up! Not only is exercise the key to slimming down, but it is also vital for overall health and well-being. Give your body time to respond to a new routine. It can take several weeks for your body to “recalibrate” itself to increased activity and changes in eating habits. But once it does, you’ll begin seeing the results that you seek!

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Workout to Train Your Willpower

Got something new and challenging for your Memorial Day weekend – and to get you toned for the summer. (Look for a separate Memorial Day email later this weekend.)

This is, I think, the most significant Newsletter in terms of workouts that I’ve ever provided. Not, mind you, because of the physical exercise, but because of the way this critter trains your soul – your mind, will, and emotions.

What follows is one of a whole series of protocols that I use with clients in my studio – and in my own training, I’m not sure if I can get all this across in a Newsletter format, but I’m up for it – I hope you are!

I do hope you carry through with this – but it means work!

Let’s get to it –

So, are you ready for the weekend? Memorial Day BBQ? Lots of (I hope) dips and chips? Potato salad? Ice cream? Can you resist it?

Resisting that second helping of something (usually carbos, yeah? I mean, who wants another serving of eggplant?) is either an act of your will, your mind, or your emotions – or it can come from habit. Happily, you can train all of these.

Today’s workout, combining lots of starts and stops, invokes this kind of training. The format requires frequent, albeit short, rest periods, which obviously means it requires frequent re-start of the work – which means you have to find it somewhere in your soul to fire it up again!

The protocol involved is a simple but mightily effective way to train your mind, will, and emotions to stay under their own mutual control.

Today’s Workout

Disclaimer – you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program. This workout is for information purposes only. All problematic results arising out of anyone’s using this information including but not limited to any injuries or damages are the responsibility of the user. No warranty is given, no results guaranteed.

Here’s what to do.

1. First, download and print out the “20/10 X 8” workout template from my website. It’s a hidden page in a section reserved for clients, but email me know if you have trouble downloading it and I’ll send you a pdf.

2. Next, use the formula provided to compute your Heart Rate Max, your 60% HR Max, and your 80% HR Max. (The reasons for this are found below.)

3. Then write these in the “EXERCISES” section:

1. Squat Jumps
2. Jumping Jacks
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Walking Lunges
5. Total Body Extensions

(Hark! If you are not familiar with any of these you can find them on the net, or substitute one of your own. The main thing you are looking for is any large-muscle multi-joint movement.) (That is, none of those sissy curls with the pink one-pound dumbbells, please.)

4. The timing protocol is what makes this work. You will do each exercise for 20 seconds, take a 10 second rest, then do it again for 20 seconds for a total of 8 sets. Keep a count of how many repetitions you do in each 20 second period.

(You can use any timing device, but I suggest you download the free GymBoss app.) Set it up for eight intervals of 20 seconds and 10 seconds.)

At the end of each 20 seconds of work, write the number of repetitions you scored. Sooner than you want it to, the next 20 seconds of work will start.

5. At the end of the eight 20/10 intervals (four minutes total) you get a one minute recovery period. During that time take your heart rate for 15 seconds and write it in the “15 sec HR” column.

For this protocol, you want your HR to be within the 60 to 80% range. If you’re over that, slow down. If you’re under, hit the next set harder!

6. In the remaining 45 seconds don’t think about what you just did. Focus on the next exercise. Think about the benefits of increasing your endurance, your cardio-pulmonary fitness, and your strength. Think about how great it feels to wake that Warrior within you!

You are building willpower here, through using your mind to control your emotions. You are building the habit of starting over. You are building the habit of staying in the fight. You are building the habit of finishing strong.

Focus, focus, focus!

When the timer goes off hit the second exercise hard.

Again, write your reps and your ending heart rate at the start of the one-minute recovery period.

7. Repeat this for all five exercises. (The sixth slot is for your own use, once you get stronger in this protocol).

8. At the end of all the exercises, circle your lowest number of reps for each exercise and write it in the space provided. Then put a box around your highest reps and write that down as well.

9. Then take your average 15-second heart rate and multiply that by 4 to get your average HR for the workout.

This gives you three baselines to compare to the next time you do this.

So, what’s going on here?

First off, let’s look at the 60-80% heart rate. The reason for that is – hormones! Here’s why.

Workouts produce stress, yeah? A good stress, but stress nonetheless. When you perceive that stress as a challenge, you release the hormone noradrenaline, commonly called the “fight” hormone. (Righto, one step away from adrenaline!) This sweet little chemical makes your blood vessels constrict to pump your blood with higher pressure, so you can do more movement. By the way, I’m assuming that’s why you can do more reps at the end of the set.

(As an aside, after certain conditions are met, we do this at 80-100% of your HR Max. That produces adrenaline – but that’s a separate story.)

Next, consider this. You are learning to push yourself in small increments. In the 25 minutes of the workout you will have had to start up 40 times – on schedule, no matter how tired you feel. You will have to push yourself in the presence of ever-increasing fatigue. You will have to bring your mind back from whatever distress you are feeling as you write down the number of reps.

If you push yourself, you will find that you are summoning inner strengths you did not know you had.

At the end of the full workout – if you push – you’ll find that your mind, will and emotions are stronger than when you started.

And here’s a funny thing that happens every time I do this protocol myself (which is weekly, with different exercises, of course) or when I do it with clients. Most of the time the number of reps is higher in the seventh or eighth set than it was in the first or second. When you see this on your own sheet it shows you that your mind, will, and emotions are controlling your body – what a glorious outcome!

Congrats! You’ve awoken the Warrior Within!

No recipe this week –
First of all, this newsletter got kinda long. Second of all, who needs a recipe when you’ve got all that stuff prepared for Memorial Day!

God love the those who now serve, those who did serve, and may God especially bless the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

May our nation be ever grateful, may their names be hallowed forever, and may their families be comforted.

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Memorial Day

To honor the Fallen Warriors of our country, at our home we’ll be reading the address President Lincoln gave at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

May the Fallen always be well remembered,
and may God bless their families.

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate,
we can not consecrate,
we can not hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—
that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—
and that government of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln.

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Resurrection Sunday

We Christians believe that Jesus died. And He did die. He was as dead as a body could be.

Then He rose again. He did rise! “Resurrection” means He stood again, and from that moment the gates of hell can no longer prevail against us.

The work of Jesus is summed up in one word: Love. And the gift of Jesus is summed up in one word: Life.

For the last few weeks I’ve been captivated by a hymn Charles Wesley (born 300 years ago) wrote.It’s not necessarily an Easter hymn, but then again, all hymns are Easter hymns. I’ve been particularly riveted by the fourth verse where he talks about his chains falling off and his heart becoming free. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have this Easter Season:

AND CAN IT BE THAT I SHOULD GAIN? 
(Charles Wesley, 1707-1788)

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love, how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Fathers throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race;
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

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Stubborn Fat Blues

Every year at about this time frustrated people around the globe look in the mirror and realize that their waist is larger, hips are wider, and their New Year’s resolve has fizzled.

So what do you do about the stubborn and seemingly permanent fat?

Sink into a depression?

Well, the easiest thing to do is to throw a pity party. Then before you know it your feelings of self-pity begin to snowball into a full-blown case of the Stubborn Fat Blues.

How do you know if you have the Stubborn Fat Blues?

  • Your pants are tighter today than they were a year ago
  • You’ve tried to lose weight only to fail.
  • You feel trapped.
  • You’re close to giving up on yourself.

If you can relate to any of the above statements then you have the Stubborn Fat Blues—quite an unpleasant condition to have.

Fortunately, there is a cure. This harks back to the mind-body topics we’ve had in the last few Newsletters.

It all starts with your mind. The thing about the Stubborn Fat Blues is that it affects your mind more than anything.

You see, your mental state is critical in determining your shape and size. When you focus on all of the things that you hate about your current body like the size of your thighs, the shape of your butt, or the way your belly looks then you’re putting all of your energy on the negative.

The more you think about how unhappy you are, the unhappier you will become.

Makes sense, right?

So instead of wallowing, use the following techniques to conquer the Stubborn Fat Blues:

1. Take it one battle at a time.
You may have 20, 50 or 100 pounds to lose before you reach your ideal weight—and, boy, that can be overwhelming. The truth is that weight loss like that won’t happen overnight—it takes months of dedication. It’s no wonder so many people simply give up.

Don’t worry about winning the entire war today, instead focus on conquering one battle at a time. Take it one meal at a time, and one day at a time. A healthy meal, a good workout and you’ve won a battle. Remember, 100 pounds is broken down into 350,000 calories. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but all you have to do is focus on burning \more calories than you take in today – in the end weight loss will be inevitable.

Remember, you can’t lose 10 pounds until you lose 1 pound – so start right there, lose the one pound and then you only have nine left to go!

2. Use a trigger.
How many times throughout your day do you find yourself plagued with negative thoughts? I’m too fat. I’ll never look as good as I used to. I’m not attractive. Yikes! Thoughts like these will ruin your chance at regaining your figure—they are total momentum killers.

Here’s what I want you to do. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind instantly do the following:

  • Breathe out and squeeze your abs for 5 seconds – 3 times
  • Throw away any junk food within arms reach
  • Plan to exercise that day

Make negative thoughts a trigger to take positive action toward your goal—the results will amaze you.

3. See what you want.
If you have weight to lose, mirrors are a nightmare. Every lump and pouch seems to jump out with alarming illumination. And it doesn’t help that most of us see things as worse than they really are.

When was the last time that you closed your eyes and pictured the body that you wished you had? It may sound hokey, but I’m serious. Your mind is very impressionable, and when you bombard it with only the negative then you will be stuck on that image.

Take time each day to visualize your ideal body. Close your eyes and put yourself in that ideal body – feel what it feels like to be fit and attractive. This exercise is a powerful way to fixate your mind on your goal in a way that will leave you no room for failure.

4. Get serious.
Sooner or later you will decide that you are fed up with the Stubborn Fat Blues. You will decide that your health is important. You will decide that you deserve to look great. And you will do what it takes to achieve amazing results.

The best way to ensure that your motivation stays strong—and that your goal is met—is to get on a fitness program that actually works. If you need help finding the right program for you – I can help.

Together we will identify your goals, find workout programs that you enjoy and create a routine that works with your schedule. It’s that simple.

Contact me today for a consultation and to learn more about the different fitness programs available to you.

Then you can say goodbye to the Stubborn Fat Blues—forever!

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7 Ways Strength Training Will Change You –

I’m forever saying that you are a Warrior, and that most of your battles are within, hence Warrior Within, yeah? Inner strength for the inner battles. Got it.

But today I want to chat with you about physical strength, and the obtaining thereof. We’re talking weights, here, mostly. Getting strong, being strong.

Here’s the story. You get married. Have a baby. Move across the world. Maybe start going to night school so you can get a better job. All of these are life-changing events that make you a different person. But did you know your life can change significantly just by spending some time strength training?

First, some quick definitions –

Note – I’m talking physical strength, here, but you’ll easily see that this applies to your inner strength as well.

OK. Strength. In my system, you have three kinds – raw strength, power, and endurance.

Raw strength (typically called just “strength”) is simply how much you can lift. If you can lift 225 pounds off the floor and your pal can only lift 200, you have more raw strength.

Power is strength through time – the amount of load you move per unit of time. If you and your pal can each lift 225 pounds off the floor but you can lift if faster than he can, you have more power than he has. But don’t brag about it, I’ll let him win on the third kind of strength – endurance.

So your pal and you can each lift the same amount, but he can keep lifting it over and over more times than you can. We say he has more endurance. Simple.

Note that we’re not talking muscle-related things such as flexibility, fast-twitch, slow-twitch, and bulking up. This is simply strength.

Training for Strength –

Next, to truly understand the glories of strength training you need to have an understanding how you train for these three kinds of strength. Please – this is for general info only, not for you to go out and design a nice program to destroy your body, OK?

Your variables are the amount of the weight, the number of repetitions, the number of sets and the time between sets.

For raw strength, then, you would use big weight, low reps, low sets with maybe two minutes between sets.

For power you would use – carefully! – smaller weights with explosive movements, varying total volume (weight times sets times reps). This is purposefully ambiguous because I don’t want any of my Dear Readers blowing out a bicep or the like.

For endurance you might do light weights times lots of reps times lots of sets. For instance, you might do five sets of 15 reps with a one minute rest between sets. You would pick a weight such that by the 75th rep (gasp!) you wish you maybe had picked a slightly lighter weight.

Whatever you do, be sure to do some muscle compensation at the end.

Now that you know what to do, see if you can relate the kind of training to the benefits. Hint – it almost always revolves around training your mind to do one more rep. OK –

Now to the Seven Benefits!

That’s right—if you’re willing to commit to strength training, your life will change significantly in at least seven ways. The benefits are huge, but space here only allows for presenting them in outline form.

Keep in mind the type of training you do to develop the three kinds of strength, and see how training the outside of your body can train the inside as well. Warrior Within, yes!

OK. Here goes:

Change #1: Toned

This one’s obvious for anyone who has ever stepped inside a gym. When you add strength training to your routine, your body shapes up quickly. When done correctly, you can determine an appropriate strength-training regimen that will give your body the look you desire. When you look better, you feel better and more confident. But lifting weights isn’t just about looking good…

Change #2: Health Risks Drop

Want to reduce your worry factor significantly? Then start lifting weights. When you do, you’ll find your body has better defense against the common cold and other everyday sicknesses. But that’s not all. By lifting weights and staying healthy, you’ll be better able to sidestep countless diseases that plague so many—from diabetes and cancer to heart disease and stroke.

Change #3: You’ll Go Long

Ever just want to crash and burn after a hard day at work? Wish you had the stamina to play a game of soccer with your kids on the weekends? Lifting weights will help you improve your stamina so you can do just that. Once you’ve lifted weights for a while, your muscles grow stronger and you learn how to power through even when you’re feeling a bit worn out. Strength, endurance, and power. Get some.

Change #4: Circulation Improves

Lifting weights may not transform you into some sort of superman, but it will do lots of good things for your for your circulation. One way strength training does this is by improving blood flow throughout your body.

Besides, healthy blood flow not only helps you feel better physically, it helps you feel better about yourself.

Change #5: You Can Focus Better

Meetings aren’t the most exciting events in the world. They drone on for hours, and your involvement does little to help those you’re meeting with find solutions. Until you start lifting weights. Suddenly, your brain is getting the blood flow necessary for optimal function and your brain even grows new cells. Once your most important muscle kicks into overdrive, you’re ready to be alert and thoughtful.

Change #6: You’ll Smile More

Life is not easy. And when it comes at you full force, the stress can be too much. When this happens, you may find yourself spiraling into a bout of sadness or even depression.

Lift weights regularly, however, and you’ll experience something the prescription-producing world doesn’t want you to know. Lifting weights gives your body what it needs to fend off depression. And you don’t need a doctor’s appointment for a weight-lifting session.

Change #7: You Live in the Now

It is good to plan and know what you’re doing with your life. However, if you spend all your life worried about what you’re going to do with yourself when you retire in 23 years, you’re missing out on something very important: the here and now. When you lift weights, you’re forced to focus on the task at hand.

Otherwise, you’ll never get that final rep in. By incorporating strength training, your life is changed for the better, because you finally learn to live in the moment, a skill that translates to increased life satisfaction.

Sound good to you? Give me a call or shoot me an email today to get started on a fitness routine that’s custom tailored to your needs.

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St. Paddy’s Day –

Morning Has Broken

So, St. Patrick’s Day is near and we need music to celebrate the Day.  That’s Day, with a capital D, because me Mum, and me Mum’s Mum, all descend from a long line of Callahan’s and Foleys, and that includes the Lenahans, mind ye, which means that, in spite of my Teutonic last name, me Irish blood won’t brook any ingnorin’ the Day, do y’see?  Éirinn go brách, and all that, y’hear?
 
Now, rather than some Irish Jig, with which I have no quarrel, mind you, I still thought I’d put forth one of everybody’s all-time favorite Celtic bits of music.   Perhaps many folks don’t know it’s Celtic origins,but it’s Irish nonetheless – just like most folks are on St. Paddy’s Day.  Luck o’ the Irish, for sure.
 
So then.  With incredibly poignancy this song – a hymn, actually, written by Eleanor Farjeon  in 1931 – is impossible to dislodge once it has planted itself in your soul – and that’s OK.
 
Set to a traditional Celtic melody, these haunting words bring praise to the Creator for one of His first gifts – the morning.  “God said, ‘Let there be light’ and behold, there was light.” I think the beauty of this hymn, music and words alike, stem in part from the complete lack of tension – it speaks of the time of original glory before the Fall, and brings great hope for the present.  Sing along now (and pretend nobody is listening!) –
 
MORNING HAS BROKEN
 
Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird,
Praise for the singing!  Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word.
 
Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.
 
Mine is the sunlight!  Mine is the morning
Born of the one Light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s re-creation of the new day!
 
 
SOMETHING TO PONDER –
 “Morning Has Broken” with elegant simplicity recreates the time of the first day of creation.  It is based on the first words of the first book of the Bible as it talks of the first day:
 
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. 
 
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 
 
And God saw the light, that it was good; then He separated the light from the darkness. 
God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. 
 
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
 
 
While this lovely music haunts you, may I make a suggestion? Consider the beauty and peace of the created world in the beginning. Oh, I know about Adam and Eve, and how life changed and got hard after the Fall. But in the beginning it was not so.
 
In the beginning, in those first days, the Father Creator “…created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”
 
LINGER HERE FOR A MOMENT…
 
Linger here, for a moment, would you please? Think of all that existed before the Fall, and just linger here. Lambs walking unmolested among the lions, lush plants springing up untended, sweet and gentle rains, “like the first dewfall on the first grass, Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden, sprung in completeness where His feet pass.” There was God, walking with His people, with no barriers between God and His children.
 
Linger here, stay here, think of the garden, think of the peace, think of the close fellowship with a Father Who had all the things you could want in a Father, laughing and playing with His first human children. Oh, my words fail, but perhaps you have the picture in your mind. Now consider this. We were made in the image of God – He cared enough about us to share His image with us.
 
Consider this as well: You began with a glory bestowed upon you. You are in the image of the Creator! Certainly, the Fall changed the close fellowship with the Father, but the Father restored this through His very firstborn Son, Jesus, so we can have that fellowship again.  You were created with a glory bestowed, and that glory still exists for you!
 
Linger, please, in the garden before the Fall, linger with your Father, and walk with Him. He’s very much interested in you, His child, His image, and He would love to be talking with you. The same Father Who set the worlds spinning with a Word, Whose mighty arm upholds all things, has a very personal interest in you. Enjoy your Father, enjoy your glory.
 
So before you start the rest of your day, think of this:
 
Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning
Born of the one Light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s re-creation of the new day!
 
Linger with your Father, and then walk forth peaceably with Him to whatever your day holds for you.
 
Yours is the morning, and the new day – and not just St. Paddy’s Day, mind ye!
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Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

May I share with you what Christmas means to me?

I’m a traditional Christian.

Christianity has been rightly defined as “a love story set in the midst of a great battle.” I find that to be true.

In the last couple of years or so I have been repeatedly stunned – that is the correct word – to actually see the meaning of certain verses in Luke 4 wherein Jesus says why He came. This, you may recall, is when He comes into the temple, stands up and reads to the church the reason He became flesh. He read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor,

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty them that are bruised,

to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He sits down.

I always thought that Jesus just came to save us from our sins, but I was blown away (a little ’60’s lingo for ya, there) by what He Himself said He came to do – Heal the broken-hearted? Bring deliverance, sight and liberty? I’m in!

I’ve been a Christians for years and years, but this healing and liberty stuff was strong drink, not really understood until I saw the message of Luke 4 for simply what it is: Jesus brings deliverance, healing, liberty, and sight! Jesus is every bit as concerned about the wounds and hits we have taken as He is about our sins.

I do hope that you will ask Jesus what He would like to do in your life – maybe something involving healing and liberty?

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”

His offer is life.

May all the peace and joy that Jesus offers be yours this Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES!

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Mid-Month Motivation

So now we are more than halfway through January and your New Year’s resolutions are kinda stale, yeah? Particularly that one about working out more often in spite of your excesses during the Christmas season. Got it, I know the same staleness. In fact, as of yesterday I’ve met with every one of my training athletes and every one expressed the same thing. What’s common to one is common to all.

In fact, I’ve beefed up the take-home workouts for my clients and we’re already seeing some great results – you can too!

So, then. Let’s not focus on what you are not doing, nor on your current lack of fitness. That’s history. Forget the past (with apologies to Mr. Santayana) and move on, shall we?

If you’re struggling to find motivation to get to your workout, allow these seven reasons to inspire you to exercising greatness – and you won’t settle for anything less than great, will you? Righto.

Exercise Because —Your Body Works

It may seem like an odd reason to work out, but the fact that you can work out ought to inspire you to do so. Use that body God gave you!

After all, there are plenty of folks who have been affected by disease or congenital conditions that make working out impossible. If you are able to exercise, do it! Every movement you make, be grateful and work to learn your body’s limits. In essence, when you do this you’re giving your body a high five! Sounds awkward, doesn’t it – just don’t hit yourself too hard.

Exercise Because —Disease Can’t Handle It

True, there are diseases that will attack you regardless of your fitness level. However, exercising regularly (starting today) is one of the best ways to build yourself up against all sorts of ailments and illnesses. From the common cold to heart disease, exercise helps you avoid health issues and live a healthier, longer life. Do it.

Exercise Because —You Family Loves You

Because you want to be around for years in the future, you need to exercise. As seen above, exercise is a great way to fend off all sorts of health issues, many of them life-threatening.

So if you want to show love to you family members who love you, you’ll need to work out regularly. Afraid your workouts will take away family time? Get up earlier or have your loved ones workout with you. Make this work, your family will thank you.

Exercise Because —You Beat Goals

Some people meet goals. When you commit to getting in the gym today, you set yourself up to beat goals.

Once you reach your new jump rope or weight-loss goal, you move on to the next. Do this often enough and it will start to happen in the rest of your life. Deadline at work coming up soon? No problem. Wish you could read more books? Consider it done. Ready to quit smoking? You can do it.

All because you worked out today!

Exercise Because —Life Will Be Easier

Ever struggled to get out of bed and get on with your day? Exercising today can help that. Wonder why you always feel stressed out? Once you get into your workout today you’ll be able to shed the stress. Wish you had the sex drive that you seemingly lost a few years ago? Today’s workout will get you on the right track there as well. See a heavy couch that needs lifting? After spending time working out today, that couch will be light as a feather tomorrow. (Figuratively, anyway.)

In other words, exercise makes everything in life better, easier, and more bearable!

Exercise Because —Your Body Will Surprise You

When you started on your exercise journey, you wanted to change your body. But somewhere along the way you forgot about that swimsuit-ready body you desired so much early on.

Well, guess what? It can still be yours! All you’ve got to do is workout today and get back on the road to it. In six months, you’ll be amazed at how much better your body looks and how much more you enjoy being you.

Exercise Because —Your Friends Will Join You

It can be hard to keep working out every day if your loved ones aren’t into it. However, if you stick with it (and trust your trainer!) your loved ones may eventually want to join you in your exercise. Once they realize you’re seeing positive results, they won’t want to miss out. So by working out today, you’re helping others be healthy!

DO IT!

Try this. Pick just one of these reasons, focus on it, and then go do your workout. You and your loved ones will be glad you did.

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5 Ethically Sneaky Ways to Burn Calories at Work

Today we have something for those who work – which is everybody, unless you never do the dishes.

You may think the 30 minutes you spend every other day working out is enough to keep you trim and healthy, but it’s not. If you want overall good health, you need to eat well (hence, the dishes) and find windows of exercising opportunity every day—not just during your scheduled workouts.

How can you squeeze in a little exercise when most of your hours are spent sitting at a desk, meeting in the conference room, and preparing for big presentations? Read on to find out when and how!

(All this assumes, of course, that your work situation allows you a bit of latitude for the following activities. This begs the question – is fitness worth getting fired for? To quote my math professor, “The answer is left to the student as an exercise.”)

1. On the Way to Work. To start your day with a smidgen of calorie-burning exercise, you may need to wake up a few minutes earlier than usual. Not to get in a workout before tossing on your power suit, but rather so you’ll have time to torch a few calories on the way to work. To shed some calories before clocking in, you have a number of options depending on your situation. You can bike or walk to work, perform seated calf raises on the bus or train, or park your car at the far end of the parking lot so you get to walk farther to reach your office. And of course, once you get to your building, take the stairs – just don’t be late!

2. When Doing Mindless Tasks. Admit it (without being insulted, please!): not everything you do at work requires an amazing amount of brainpower. Take advantage of the easy tasks by multitasking with some exercise. The easiest option is to flex and squeeze your body. From your glutes and your abs to your pecs and thighs, you can get rid of a few calories by simply flexing them as you work. As you grow accustomed to the flexing, you may find it to be a great way to work your way through a long, difficult meeting.

Not to overdo the dishes theme, but you can do this whilst doing the dishes or most other household chores. If nothing else, try tightening your abs while doing the dishes. And hey, you haven’t worked out until you’ve done some lunges while pushing the vacuum! How about standing crunches while making the bed? Got the idea?

Fitness through housekeeping. Um, I think we’re wandering, here. Sorry.

Just be sure to relax your body afterwards to bleed off the tension, from either the exercises or the housework.

3. Every Time You Finish a Task. When you first get to work, make a to-do list. This will help keep you on track and will also set you up for exercise rewards. Each time you cross a task off your list, give yourself an exercise reward. This could be walking a couple laps around the office, standing up and doing a couple quick total body extensions, or closing your office door and knocking out a dozen push-ups. Know what your reward of the day will be and go for it.

4. When You Need to Communicate. Helpful as email may be, there is a way to communicate with your colleagues that actually keeps your body moving. Getting out of your seat and walking to your coworker’s office to talk things through. Have to make a few phone calls? Stand up as you talk or better yet, pace back and forth during the conversation.

For fun, try doing squats or walking lunges whilst on the phone. The person on the other end won’t mind, but do be sure to have a story ready for your watching co-workers.

5. At the Top of the Hour. A great way to sneak (an ethical sneak, please, not the immoral kind) a little calorie burning into your routine is to get up every hour. And your exercising doesn’t need to be super intense. All you need to do is stand up. Do this for five minutes, eight times a day, and you will drop 100 calories a day.

OK, then!

All of these bonus calorie burning tips are great – when done in conjunction with a consistent, challenging exercise program. If you aren’t yet one of my valued clients then now is the time to join in – call or email today to get started! It will help you get the dishes done faster, too.

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