Category Archives: Uhm?
In clients I deal with two very different issues almost every day –
1. The people who can’t get started and make excuses as to why they can’t create a healthy lifestyle.
2. The people who become OBSESSED with eating well and working out every day to the point that they almost can’t take a day off.
And trust me, neither is really HEALTHY.
When I say OBSESSED, I’m talking about mentally and physically overtraining. I’m talking about never giving yourself a break and doing as much as you possibly can every single day with no break.
I’m talking about training way too often for way too long because you feel like you NEED to do a certain amount each day.
I’m talking about never letting yourself indulge in a treat and/or restricting your calories as low as possible to force weight loss.
I’m talking about the MORE IS MORE ATTITUDE when as I’ve stated numerous times recently MORE IS ACTUALLY LESS.
Yes, it can be good for periods to do MORE, but those periods should all have an expiration date and be used to KICKSTART your program or break a plateau.
You simply shouldn’t workout every day.
RECOVERY IS WHEN YOU REBUILD! Days off are KEY TO GETTING RESULTS.
When you don’t take days off, you are basically hindering yourself from getting the results that you should be getting from your workouts.
And two a days?!?!
While as I said, I can see using them for a few weeks to create big changes, they shouldn’t be used in the long run!
Exercise breaks down our body. We only regrow stronger with more muscle and lean body mass if our body has the change to RECOVER.
So while going hard for a few days, a few weeks, can be a great push in the right direction, YOU CAN’T MAINTAIN IT!
Going that hard leads ultimately to you falling off your program – either due to injury or due to the fact that you’ve created something that is truly unmanageable long-term.
Same goes for obsessing over eating cleanly.
I won’t go into a whole rant here, as I already have numerous times recently, but IF YOU RESTRICT YOUR CALORIES TOO MUCH YOU WILL COMPLETELY STALL YOUR WEIGHT LOSS!
Not to mention you will PREVENT LEAN MASS GAINS! Aka…all those workouts will be for nothing because you aren’t fueling them properly.
Plus, most people can’t eat 100% clean day in and day out without it eventually leading to a complete, uncontrolled binge, which in turn leads to them giving up on their healthy eating program all together. We just don’t have that much self-control especially with all the other life stressors we have to deal with each day.
Just think about how much self-control you are expending by trying to go so intense and PERFECT your diet and exercise program. Self-control isn’t infinite. And trying to control ever last detail is STRESSFUL!
Think about how much you STRESS over not missing a workout. Over eating cleanly even when there is no healthy food around.
STRESS can negatively impact our progress. It can negatively impact our healthy. Heck if you are trying to lose weight, STRESS can prevent you from getting the results you are working so hard for!
Geez…Cut yourself some slack, people!
I know many of you don’t want to believe it, but LESS IS MORE. Working out every day and eating 100% clean really aren’t going to get you greater results.
Actually they may get you WORSE RESULTS.
So stop obsessing.
Don’t stress over miss workouts.
Don’t stress over a treat.
STOP OBSESSING and try ENJOYING.
Seriously, stop bragging about how you workout EVERY DAY. Or do two-a-days. Stop bragging about how you don’t eat ANYTHING BAD EVER.
There is no pride in being stupid and wasting your time!
Trust me…I want people to get results and if I’m saying there is such a thing as too much…THERE IS!
We are born with better movement patterns than most of us have now as adults…Just kidding…sort of…
But babies, that can’t even walk yet, can most certainly do certain things better. They definitely squat better AND crawl better than most adults do.
Babies do rock bottom squats like it is nothing. While trying to get an adult to do just a squat to 90 degrees can sometimes be a painful, long process.
Same goes for crawling.
Babies motor around like it is nothing. They crawl over grass, concrete and carpet, barely even noticing the change in texture.
But when adults are asked to crawl, they barely make it five steps before they are out of breath (or complaining about their hands on the turf)…and that is even if they can first understand the coordination of crawling.
It makes me sad how much we lose some natural movement patterns. It makes me sad that we lose such a great mind-body connection.
And I don’t think it has to be this way!
Everyone should be able to crawl, whether or not it is a table top crawl or a basic bear crawl. We should all be able to do it!
So here is a little breakdown of the basic forward bear crawl and proper form.
Now you are probably thinking…Why the heck would I ever want to crawl when I can walk?
Because crawling is GREAT exercise! (And it is kind of fun too!)
Crawling works your entire body, from your shoulders to your knees. It is a great core strengthener AND it is great cardio.
Plus crawling works on your coordination and agility.
And honestly, the older we get and the more we lose that mind-body connection (our coordination and balance), the more we need to crawl.
People just accept that as they age they won’t have the same coordination or balance that they once had. And while, yes, our body does change with age, that doesn’t mean we have to accept that falling or feeling uncoordinated is just a part of life.
Getting our body and mind to continue to connect and work together is key. And movements like the bear crawl help us work on that connection.
So now the question really is…Why aren’t you crawling!?!
Try it today! Set a timer for 5 minutes and see how long you last crawling around. You can even mix in backward and sideways crawls once you master the forward bear crawl.
It’s funny, whenever someone has success in terms of changing their lifestyle around to be healthier, people who haven’t made the change will tell them…
“Well it is easier for you.”
Can I just say right now…”HOW COULD IT BE EASIER!?!?!”
Any time you break a habit, any time you make a lifestyle change it isn’t going to be easier.
I mean think about all the changes you’ve had to make to your habits over the years. Where any of them really EASY?
I can tell you your parents didn’t think potty training you was easy. Or getting you to stop carrying around the blanket EVERYWHERE you went was easy.
I can tell you my Mom didn’t have an easy time of breaking me of my thumb-sucking habit. She had to coax and reward and take it step by step. And sometimes I had good days and sometimes I had bad days. But slowly the good days won out and I stopped (My desire for the present at the end became greater than my desire to suck my thumb!).
But even something as simple as breaking the habit of sucking my thumb wasn’t easy.
No lifestyle changes are ever easy for anyone.
Habits are hard to break.
There is no magic pill – no key to instant success.
No one is really more gifted when it comes to making a change.
It is all hard work and determination. It is determination that supersedes any other immediate desires.
Changing to a healthy lifestyle isn’t ever easy, especially when you are making the actual CHANGE.
In fact most people will tell you about all the sacrifices they had to make and all the times they wanted to give up BEFORE the change became habit.
So let’s face it. Change is never easy. There is no secret out there or gifted person that didn’t struggle when breaking bad habits.
Honestly, I think that people say “It was easier for you” to let themselves off the hook and to try to make you feel a little less proud of your accomplishment.
It isn’t really that they thought it was easier for you….They are just excusing their own failures.
Sorry, but really, if you think about it, you know this is true.
Because we all know change isn’t easy.
The key is just setting your mind to the change and deciding that nothing is going to derail you.
I write a lot about having a powerful WHY when it comes to creating change.
That powerful reason WHY is what makes your change seem so seamless, so “easy,” to other people.
When you want something bad enough, you are going to make it happen.
Every day won’t be perfect. There will be “slip ups” and missed workouts and cheat meals, but perfection isn’t necessary.
Small forward progress over the days, weeks, months is what will add up. Staying focused on your end goal is what will matter.
Having a powerful WHY, knowing a really motivational, emotional reason why you want to accomplish something, is what will keep you motivated, but it is only a small part of success.
Here is what I tell my clients that helps them succeed even when the going gets tough.
1. Write down your WHY – Write down a powerful, emotional reason why you want something. Just saying “I want to lose 10lbs” or “I want to look good in my bikini this summer” probably isn’t going to be enough. Tap into your emotions. Dig for something important that will not only motivate you to get started, but will keep you motivated when things get hard (which they probably will).
2. Write down a WHEN – Set a deadline. Set multiple deadlines in fact. Set short-term goals with dates when they have to be completed. Deadlines are motivating. And when they are written down they are more solid and we are way more likely to want to achieve them because we can’t weasel out of them. Make the deadline important. Don’t just choose an arbitrary date. Yes, if you are making a lifestyle change, you want it to be FOREVER, but you have to have specific dates when certain things will be accomplished. Because trust me….people do better with END DATES.
3. PLAN, PLAN and oh yea….PLAN – You don’t have to write out exactly what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. You don’t have to map out your workouts and the weights you are going to use for the next year, but PLAN AHEAD. We each have triggers that set off old bad habits. Know those triggers and lay out a plan with how you are going to deal with them. For instance, ladies…many of us crave crap around our periods. Plan out how you are going to deal with that. Do you have “cleaner” treats available? Do you plan in a couple cheats then? What is your plan of action? Know what sets you off and plan for it. (Sorry dudes reading this). Developing new habits is about breaking the old ones and a big part of that is PLANNING AHEAD so when the moment arises we know how we are going to change our old patterns. Because trust me, trying to fight against old desires in the moment when you have no plan of attack isn’t easy.
4. Know yourself – Take a look at your current habits. Take a look at what has made you fail in the past. Now take a look at what you’ve enjoyed and haven’t enjoyed with other failed experiments, other times you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change. If you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to run every day. If you don’t like lifting weights, don’t force yourself to lift every day. Find things you enjoy to be active and then on occasion add in those things you “know you should be doing.” If you know that you just can’t go to bed without dessert, figure out a healthy treat that satisfies you. If you know that having that “all or nothing” attitude will lead to you failing, DON’T DO IT! Make small changes over time. You know yourself. You know what you like and what you don’t like. Account for those things and then do number 3 and PLAN FOR THEM!
5. Celebrate small success – Lose half a pound? Avoid eating that brownie at work even though you really really wanted it but you knew it would just throw off the rest of your week? CELEBRATE IT! Give yourself recognition for changing. Give yourself credit for breaking a bad habit or moving even just the teensiest bit closer to your goal. Too often people get so focused on their long-term goal that they don’t recognize all the great things that they are doing day in and day out. And that focus on the long-term goal, and them not being there yet, can lead to them getting discouraged and feeling like they are failing. When they aren’t! Because those small things that they are doing day in and day out will add up to one very large success. They just have to be patient! You have to get rid of that NOW NOW NOW attitude and celebrate your small victories!
6. Don’t seek perfection – Sorry none of us are perfect. And life and achieving our goals, isn’t about perfection. It is about small forward progress over the weeks, months and even years. It is about NOT being hard on yourself when you slip up. It is about NOT expecting yourself to be perfect. Because when we expect perfection, when we come down on ourselves for one little mistake, that is when we derail all the progress we have made. If you have a cookie or miss a workout, don’t tell yourself your day is ruined. Don’t just give up. Accept that you may just have needed that little deviation and then get right back on track. It isn’t the slip ups that matter, it is how we handle them that has lasting results. One slip up won’t add up but letting that turn into a downward spiral will. Give yourself some room to make mistake and to have “life get in the way.” Because guess what? IT WILL! I even recommend that clients account for plateaus and backslides in their goals. Set a deadline that allows you to not be perfect day in and day out because it just won’t happen. That doesn’t mean you give yourself double the time to accomplish something, but it does mean that you don’t expect yourself to never deviate from the plan.
7. Include others – Many people are embarrassed about being on a diet or a specific workout program. They are afraid to admit their goals to others for fear of being judged. They are also afraid to admit their goals because what if they fail? Stop being afraid of failure AND stop worry about being judged. Find some supportive friends and family and tell them what you want to accomplish. Having other people know your goals makes you a bazillion times less likely to fail especially if you choose people who are supportive. They will hold you accountable and that fear of embarrassment if you fail will be a strong motivator (sorry but its true…may as well use it to our advantage!). Plus if you get others involved, they may just end up working out with you, which could be fun! Or they may help you find new ways to commit to your goals that you didn’t even think of. We all bring something different to the table and being able to talk to other people can really help. They may have experienced some of the same problems and have great ways to get through!
8. Don’t isolate yourself – Many people on a “diet” feel like they can’t go hang out with friends and be social. But that just isn’t true. You can plan in days to go out and have those be cheat days. Or you can PLAN AHEAD (#3!) and take a look at the restaurant you are going to and know the healthy options. You can even suggest places to go that won’t tempt you to break your diet. AND not every social gathering has to revolve around food! I love going bowling with friends. Or what about hiking or a movie or a dance class? There are lots of fun active things you can do to be social. You don’t have to be a hermit when you are making a lifestyle change. And actually if you force yourself to be one when you aren’t one, you are most likely going to fail. It’s as simple as that.
9. Don’t worry about what others are doing or thinking – Too often we get caught up in what other people are doing or thinking. And honestly, you just can’t worry about that. We can’t compare our progress to our friend’s. Just because their diet is working for them doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can’t get down on yourself just because your progress is slower. Progress is progress PERIOD. And on top of that you can’t care about the people who will put you down because you are making progress when they aren’t. Who cares if someone thinks you are psycho because you have to go to your workout class every day and you love bragging about how hard the workout was? Seriously who cares what they think if you are happy with your new habits? Ever occur to you that most of the negative crap that comes out of people’s mouths is because they are JEALOUS? Don’t worry about your friend’s diet or what they think of yours. If you feel good, if you are moving forward, focus on YOURSELF.
10. Track your progress – This links back to celebrating the small success and having deadlines. Actually this one really ties everything together. There is nothing more motivating than progress. There is nothing like progress to keep us on track. So figure out ways to track how you are doing. Goals don’t only have to revolve around weight loss or even how much you lifted. Weeks where you just stuck to your program should be measured and tracked and treated as progress. Set up a few different goals to measure and track them weekly, monthly and yearly. And then celebrate those successes. And while tracking our progress can help us see how far we’ve come, it can also tell us when we need a change. If you track your workouts, you will be able to clearly see if you’ve hit a plateau and need a change. If we aren’t moving forward, we may need to change something. If we haven’t tracked what we are doing, how will we know if we need a change! Tracking can help keep us moving forward!
Now thinking about all this, I still stand firm in the fact that change isn’t really “easier” for any one person.
But you know what….let people go ahead and think that! Be proud of your success and don’t let anyone take away from it! Know that all of your hard work paid off!
NOTE: Thank you Shannon. This post was inspired by your emails. You are an amazing, strong woman and an inspiration to us all!
So there are all sorts of “pain” related discussions that really get on my nerves.
One is when clients who are working hard for the first time in their life tell you that an exercise “hurts” when, upon further investigation, you find out that it is merely making their muscles fatigued and that they aren’t used to the burning sensation of a muscle working.
While I don’t like the phrase “no pain, no gain,” being sore and working hard isn’t always “comfortable.”
But at the same time having the attitude “no pain, no gain” and never recognizing when something hurts isn’t good either.
While I can get annoyed when someone can’t recognize the difference between “injury pain” and “discomfort from muscles working hard,” I get way more annoyed by the client who thinks they are cool because they push through the pain.
And honestly this “no pain, no gain” client WAY worse than the client that mistakes muscles working for pain.
You may be shaking your head and going, “Heck no! They aren’t near the same! You have to work through the pain sometimes! You are TOUGH if you just push through!”
Uhm no…I’m sorry….You don’t…and you aren’t.
You are stupid.
Yep that’s right…STUPID.
I can say this as someone who has been stupid one too many times in her past. I have the torn muscles and scar tissue to prove it.
And guess what I have now?
Improperly rehabbed injuries that years later I’m now having to deal with.
Trust me…injuries aren’t cool.
You aren’t “bad-ass” if you push through.
Honestly, unless you are a highly paid athlete, there is never a reason to push through true pain and injury. And even if you are a highly paid athlete, there is a very fine line between stupid and something you push through because it is your job.
When you work through the pain, generally all you do is make the injury worse. And then you are either eventually going to have to take time off, and probably MORE time than if you had rested and rehabbed it immediately, OR you are going to have something that restricts your movement and causes pain for the rest of your life.
Doesn’t sound like great options if you don’t just DEAL with the pain immediately.
But rehab and pre-hab aren’t “cool.”
It is way cooler to be like, “I can’t do push ups because of my shoulder.”…Right!?!
I can’t tell you how many people recently I’ve encountered coming from other gyms who say they “can’t do” something because of an injury they’ve never dealt with and just “worked through.”
And every time I say to them the same thing, “Well what have you been doing for rehab?”
And I always get the same answer…NOTHING.
Can someone please explain this to me?
Why is pain cool and rehab not cool?
Don’t we workout to feel BETTER!?! Don’t we go to look BETTER? Perform BETTER?
If we want exercise to make us BETTER, how do we expect to do that if we are restricted and in PAIN?!
If you have an ankle injury, even one from decades ago, and you never rehabbed it, it may be causing problems up your leg. It may be why you have low back and hip pain. It may be why you have balance issues. It may be why you can’t lift as much as you want to. It may be why your butt isn’t as strong and perky as you would like!
It may be causing a whole load of problems that aren’t even related to the initial injury!
But it is better to just push through…huh?
Ok here is your chance to stop being an idiot and stop accepting pain.
Take five minutes at the beginning of your workout and add in an exercise or two to rehab or better yet “pre-hab” any weak points or areas of past injury. (Just because at one point in your life you did some rehab for an injury doesn’t mean you are just now done with it now. That area may always need some extra TLC.)
Here are a couple quick things you can do for four common areas of injuries…
- ANKLE/FOOT PAIN/INJURY (Heck these are even good for some knee and hip problems) – Roll out the bottom of your foot, your shin and your calf with a roller or small ball. Then work on your balance. My favorite balancing drill is when you either stand on one foot on the ground or on a foam pad and then you swing the other leg. Do swings forwards and backwards, side to side and even rotational (like you are lifting your foot to step back over a fence and then bringing it back forward over the fence without touching down). Then do glute activation drills. Pick one or two from this list and do 1-2 rounds of 10-20 reps.
- LOW BACK/HIP PAIN/INJURY – Low back pain is a super common problem. While rolling out the whole leg is ideal to find all trigger points, you can start with your hips, glutes and low back. A great way to roll out your hips, can be to take a bigger, foam ball and lay over it. The ball will actually be pressing into your abs right above your hip and beside your belly button. Relax over the ball as much as you can. You will also want to stretch your glutes and hips. Here are some more great trigger point release tips for your hip area. You will also probably want to do some stretches and trigger point release for your thoracic spine and lats. We can sometimes compensate and use our low back because our thoracic mobility is bad. A great thoracic stretch is one you do when kneeling. Kneel on the ground with one hand planted on the ground under the shoulder. Then reach your other hand back over your head with your finger tips pointing down your spine. Then rotate your elbow of the hand down your spine, under your arm that is down. Then rotate open, reaching the elbow up toward the ceiling. Again, glute activation exercises are key. If our glutes aren’t firing, we are going to use our low back and hamstrings more than we should!
- WRIST/ELBOW PAIN/INJURY – Yup…you can even roll out your forearms. If you have wrist or elbow pain, rolling our your forearms, triceps and biceps can help, especially if you target the areas of insertion. Wrist/forearms stretches are also important. We sit at computers all day with our wrists flexed and never really think to do anything to extend and release the muscles. One of my favorite wrist stretches is, when I kneel down and place my hands on the ground under my shoulders. I then turn my finger tips to face my knees with my palms flat on the ground. I then rock back and sit on my heels, keeping my palms flat on the ground, and then return back to kneeling and release. To also help activate the extensors of my wrist and forearm, I use a trick I was taught by Corey…The rubber band extension. Take a rubber band and place it around the outside of your fingers when they are all together. Then spread your fingers out as wide apart as you can before bringing them back together. This really helps with a lot of elbow pain!
- SHOULDER/UPPER BACK/NECK PAIN/INJURY – Roll out your traps, chest and lats. You will also want to stretch your chest and neck. You can easily stretch your chest using a wall or doorway. Place your hand and even your forearm on the wall or door frame and then step forward till you feel a stretch. To stretch your neck, lean your head to one side and gentle pull your head down toward your shoulder, making sure you keep your shoulders relaxed. To change exactly which muscles you hit, look up, down and straight ahead. Then you will want to do a scapular wall hold. If you do it correctly, you will activate your lower traps which will help you relax your upper traps and usually helps with neck pain. YTWLs are great too to activate the muscles in your upper back and strengthen your rotator cuff. Check out this video by Nick Tumminello on how to do them.
Here is another article with some essential mobility drills that can help you move better!
You don’t have to do these every day, but you do want to make sure that spots that need improvement get attention! So stop accepting pain and start doing something about it. It really doesn’t take that much time.
Be smart…It’s way more “bad-ass!”
NOTE: If you are suffering from an injury, it is best to get checked out by a doctor. Most of these drills are meant for already diagnosed injuries or minor recurring injuries/pains. Also, this list is by no means comprehensive. It is just to give you an idea that there are some quick things you can do before your workouts, to correct problems!
So this weekend Ryan and I were out in Palm Springs with our parents trying to finish up wedding planning.
During the weekend, my mom and I went to a make-up artist since I thought it would be fun to have someone do my make-up for the wedding.
I was trying to explain to the guy that I never put on make-up but wanted something not too light. We then also somehow started talking about the fact that I work as a personal trainer.
He put the two together and then at some point mentioned that I was a “tom boy.”
I didn’t say anything, but I sort of thought…”Well not really…I like wearing heels and getting dressed up even if I do like working up a sweat and wearing loose t-shirts and picking up really heavy things.”
He then made another comment that I most definitely wasn’t a “girly girl.”
I guess so…But I mean what does that even really mean? Just because I’m an idiot when it comes to make-up I’m not girly? I’m a “tom boy?”
I wasn’t offended by his comments…I long ago stopped trying to be what I wasn’t. I’m a girl who enjoys sports and sweating and calluses (that’s right…no gloves for me…), but I’m also a girl who likes dresses, high heels and make-up (on occasion…when I feel like it…And am not too frustrated to do numerous applications).
I’m not a girly girl or a tom boy…I’m just a girl…I’m just a girl who is really stupid when it comes to make-up.
It has nothing to do with being feminine.
Anyway, he did tell me during our meeting that I needed to exfoliate and moisturize and that I had like “years” of built up dry skin on my face.
I’ll admit, I’m awful when it comes to that stuff. There are really no frills when I wash.
BUT I do want to feel amazing on my wedding day, so I was willing to do whatever he said to make my skin hold the make-up better.
And I was happily surprised when he told me I didn’t need to go out and get a ton of creams to exfoliate.
Instead he told me I could make one with two ingredients at home…coconut oil and sea salt.
Seriously coconut oil is a cure-all. It is good for you inside and out. Here is a link with two articles about the benefits of coconuts and one is even by Dr. Oz!
I mean of course I eat coconut flakes/milk/oil for internal health benefits – all that GOOD FAT! But I’ve also used coconut oil to prevent sunburns. To help heal sunburns. To treat Ryan’s dandruff (sorry Ryan).
And now, I can even use it to exfoliate!
I don’t need to go to a stupid drug or make-up store and stare at all the freaking different exfoliating options! I don’t need to spend 50 bucks on a tub of cream so small it last through only two uses.
I can simply use something natural that I always have at home!
Coconut oil…I love you!
What other ailments have you found that coconut helps with? Do you use it to exfoliate?
When was the last time you were called a “girly girl” or “tom boy” and thought to yourself…”HMMM…Are those really our only two options!?!”
So I’ve been asked to design a “fitness” obstacle course for this family event in June. Most of the kids doing the course will be between the ages of like 5 and 10 years old.
I was told it needs to be something FUN but at the same time active and fitness-related.
When she said, “FUN and FITNESS-RELATED” she almost said it as if the two together weren’t completely possible…Most adults don’t consider something fitness-related fun…they call it working out.
But what we call working out, kids call PLAY.
Seriously, when did it change?
When did accomplishing something physical NOT become something super exciting but instead something we avoid?
I mean I see all the children come into the gym and get so excited to swing and lift up heavy things. The kids get SO EXCITED when they can pick up something heavy or climb the rope.
They get so excited because they see it as expanding their boundaries and accomplishing something they either couldn’t do or hadn’t done before.
Their parents on the other hand, sometimes roll their eyes and groan when they have to climb the rope…Or they grab a lighter weight then they really should be doing.
Kids see the exercises as proving that they CAN DO something. Parents see exercises as something they have to do.
Which honestly makes me kind of sad.
Working out is something I GET TO DO. Something I look forward to. Something I love.
And I want to instill that same love in everyone I meet.
So I’ve now been considering, what obstacles/exercises should I include in the course at the event in June? What will make kids fall in love with exercising so that it always remains PLAY!?!
When I started doing some research, I stumbled across a ton of activities I LOVED when I was little. Like double-dutch, four square, kickball, hopscotch, climbing trees, Red Rover…and Skip It…Dude I want to do it right now…
And to think most adults think of “jumping rope” or “hopping” as exercise. Skip It was basically jumping rope, except you NEVER wanted to stop!
What were your favorite outdoor games and activities?
So on Thursday Ryan and I started our road trip up the Cali coast for Carmel where a friend of Ryan’s was getting married on Clint Eastwood’s ranch.
While I’ve been to a few spots in Northern Cali, I’ve never taken a road trip up the coast and let me tell you…it was an eye-opener!
Along the way I kept rambling on to Ryan about two certain thoughts…one was about “cheat days” and the whole debate over them and whether they should even be called “cheat days” and the other was about our farming systems and the environment.
And while I’ll talk about cheat days tomorrow after my food hangover wears off, today I do want to talk about the nature of farming while the images from our drive are still fresh in my mind.
So I am a Midwest girl. And I grew up driving through farmland. Just about every tennis trip we took, my mom and I would drive through hours and hours of farmland.
Mostly I just thought it was boring. Super flat land with rows and rows of the same crop. Basically just corn as far as the eye could see.
There would be a few horses…Maybe some cattle…But mostly just CORN.
But anyway, my point is, I’ve seen lots of farmland before and never really given it a second thought…until now.
And I don’t know if it was all the cool and new scenery or the fact that I’m more conscious about where my food comes from now, but a lot of what I saw really made me question…
Ryan told me the scenery would be cool even though we would be driving through a lot of desert. He said we would also drive by the ocean, through some interesting scenery in the hills, through more forested areas and then finally on our way home…lots of farmland.
What I didn’t realize is that I was going to see everything right next to each other and at times, all at once. I saw ocean next to farm next to desert next to forest next to great huge hills.
I also didn’t expect to see wildfires right next to the road.
When I was younger, I remember learning that wildfires could be good and necessary for some ecosystems. But that wasn’t the case with all of the fires popping up around Southern Cali. These fires were damaging not only potentially to people’s property but also to the land and natural vegetation.
The fires made me shake my head in disbelief. I never thought I would see one.
As we drove on through a slightly flatter area a bit away from the ocean, we passed strawberry fields and blueberry farms.
And then as we entered back into a few more hills, we saw a whole bunch of cattle roaming the hillside….
I was like “AH!” Grass-fed, free range BEEF!
So right now if you are a vegetarian, you may want to tune out as I’m going to start my whole YAY for meat thing. Just giving you a heads up…
Anyway, I was excited to see the cattle roaming the hillside so close to our home especially since a local meat shop owner here had recently told me that the reason it was hard to get grass-fed beef is because we are so surrounded by desert terrain.
Here was proof that there actually was local grass-fed beef!!!
All those happy cows roaming and eating and enjoying the sun.
I was excited!
But then I turned to Ryan and said, “I wonder why there are so few. There could be whole herds roaming these hills!”
And I’m sure now if you are a vegetarian still reading you want to now tell me about all the bad things the animals we raise on farms do to our environment.
But don’t. Because pasture-raised animals don’t have the same impact on our environment that industrial farms’ conventionally raised animals do. Pasture-raised animals are actually GOOD for our environment. They actually help regulate the ecosystem and can help keep it way healthier than our freaking monocrop farming does…but I’m getting to that…
Anyway, I was excited to see the pasture-raised cows and just sad that I didn’t see more of them. There was a ton of hillside that could be grazed and as Ryan pointed out, “The areas where the cows seemed to have grazed look healthier!” (Which in fact they did…way more green on the hillside with cows!)
Maybe if we had more animals eating the grass and renewing the soil like they used to, we wouldn’t have as many devastating wildfires as we do now….Just a thought….
So sometime after seeing the cows and the wildfires, we stopped in San Luis Obispo. We met with a friend for a hike, which ended up turning into more a mile straight up climb…AH!…before heading out to dinner in town.
We were also super lucky in that there was a farmer’s market going on that night. And on top of produce and meat from a ton of local farms, there was a stand with RAW MILK!
It was the first time I’d seen a stand with raw milk since there is so much pressure by the government NOT to sell it…And it isn’t usually worth the headache for the farmers.
As cheesy (bad pun?) as it sounds, seeing that raw milk and pasture-raised cows really made my day.
I was like “YESSSSS! There is some hope for good, naturally raised and grown food here!”
After leaving San Luis Obispo, we began to move a bit more out of farmland as we wound through the hills by the ocean although I do swear we saw farmland with cattle roaming free and ZEBRAS…although I didn’t manage to snap a picture, but instead failed epically getting only a picture of my finger…
The view on our drive we beautiful and definitely different from anything I’d seen in the Midwest or even on the East Coast. And as I raved about the view, Ryan told me to just wait till we drove back home the less scenic way.
On our way back home, we were going to drive through Salinas, which is a huge farming community. It most definitely reminded me more of the farmland in the Midwest even though it wasn’t endless corn.
As we drove through Salinas, the winds were terrible. Ryan then remarked that the winds were a problem when it came to organic farming and pesticides.
He said that most of the time organic farms and pesticide-using farms were right next to each other and that when the wind blew, the pesticides would be blown right on to the organic produce.
So much for thinking your organic produce was so much better huh?
Of course, if we didn’t promote monocrop farming, maybe we wouldn’t have the same insect and soil problems that we have now and wouldn’t need to use the pesticides…But then I forgot….It isn’t plant farming that is causing the environmental problems is it?
Anyway, even worse than the fact that our organic produce isn’t really organic, is the serious health problems created by pesticides for people within the community.
Ryan then started telling me about how the community has a whole bunch of health issues because of the pesticides.
I couldn’t believe it.
Like honestly, couldn’t believe it.
What the heck is wrong with us? For all we talk about “eating well” and “living a healthy lifestyle” we don’t seem to really care that we are using all this crap and following farming practices that will kill us.
Quality matters people.
Anyway, what was a very scenic drive really opened my eyes and made me look around and think.
I’ve driven through farmland before, but this is the first time I think I’ve ever really looked at it.
So this is a random post, but I’m still baffled by the industry’s new trend toward “silent” weight rooms – toward Planet Fitness like gyms.
Why are we afraid of the sounds of work being done!?!
I mean don’t get me wrong, I think it is stupid when guys literally deadlift a ton and then just drop the weight from the top of their lift, but a little banging as they hit the weights at the bottom…?
Apparently some gyms care enough to do this…Which I couldn’t even believe since the weights didn’t sound that loud!
Ok so I do think you need to respect the rules of the gym. And I do think there is proper gym etiquette that needs to be followed out of respect for other people (like wiping off your sweat…not hogging machines….not grunting super super loud….not slamming weights around when not necessary).
BUT watching this video (and a couple other on this guy’s channel), I really don’t see anyone just DROPPING weight disrespectfully.
And no offense to the people who confronted them, but their excuses as to why he shouldn’t drop weights were utterly stupid.
The weights could break!?!
And their floor could break?
Well if that is the case they shouldn’t allow any deadlifting whatsoever regardless of whether or not they “drop” weights. They probably also need a different floor then since they are a gym where lifting weights is MEANT to be done! Or they could just get platforms or bumper plates!
I mean I do understand that people can be rude with extra loud grunting and slamming of plates. And I do think there is a need to be respectful when working out in the gym.
But at the same time, a gym is a place where work is meant to be done! Where people are trying to get stronger and lift more than they lifted last time.
If getting work done means making a little noise, that is fine by me!
What is your take on “dropping weights” at the gym?
So yesterday I got a text from a friend asking me if a certain pre-made smoothie was healthy.
And my response was…”Well…not really.”
She then replied with, “Ugh. Nothing that tastes good is healthy.”
And when I told her to make her own delicious smoothie, she said, “Okay fine. I’m lazy.”
I hear all the time that “nothing healthy tastes that good,” but is that really true? (And actually few ever really admit that they are just being lazy!)
Yes, there are bad foods that I love because of the way they taste and I do indulge in them on cheat days but they don’t really taste BETTER than all the delicious whole foods I eat on a daily basis. And they also make me feel WAY WORSE than all of the whole foods do!
I actually believe that most people would agree with me that meals cooked with whole natural foods can be extremely delicious and that TASTE isn’t really the reason why they don’t eat healthily.
It is laziness.
And yes…maybe that laziness is brought on by the fact that we are emotionally drained or stressed or dealing with lots of other things in life, but it is still laziness.
And our LAZINESS is what makes eating healthily seem super difficult.
Laziness makes us pick fad diets and stray away from cooking.
Everyday we make choices about how we are going to spend our time. And many people decide that cooking whole natural foods isn’t worth the effort.
So they start some diet where they don’t have to cook. They try a short cut. Pre-made foods. Juice diets. Special K cereal (Sorry Special K but you bother me).
And then they wonder why they aren’t losing weight or feeling healthier.
Why aren’t they getting results?!?
So they end up giving up on the diet…”It is just too hard eating well and I’m not getting results,” they say.
If you are TRULY eating well, you WILL get results.
Yes, you WILL have to be patient. Yes, you will have to spend time cooking. But YES, you will get results.
Sorry…there are no IFs, ANDs or BUTs about it…If you eat well, you WILL get results.
If you are lazy and take short cuts, yea you won’t get results and “eating well” WILL seem impossible because who can stick to a juice diet!?!
I mean when you really break it all down, is cooking whole natural foods really that much more difficult or truly time-consuming?
Is it really more difficult or time-consuming than bouncing around from fad diet to fad diet never getting results?
In the end, you waste way more time doing all the failed fad diets than you do spending a little time each week prepping and cooking meals.
Shoot with the Crock-pot you can basically throw everything in at once and just go about your day and come home and have a week of meals cooked for you!
I mean on a Sunday morning while you are eating breakfast, you can easily throw a whole chicken into the oven and cook it for the next few hours while you go about your chores or spend all that time you supposedly don’t have watching TV.
Is that really more difficult than going out and buying prepackaged foods that you throw in the microwave and that leave you always feeling hungry and never get you results?
Is eating crap really less difficult and truly more tasty if you aren’t happy with how you feel?
What matters more?
When it comes right down to it and you dig through all the crap excuses, is eating well really that difficult or are you really just being lazy?
So recently I’ve had a few of my female clients ask me about cleanse diets.
I personally would NEVER ever do one…or for that matter recommend that any of my clients do one.
I know they are the popular thing, but honestly, they are stupid.
Really? Drink juice for a week and your body will be cleansed?!?
Sounds like a week of feeling crappy and overloaded with sugar!
And when I tell most people that I think cleanses are stupid, they say to me, “Well then how do you rid your body of all the toxins that accumulate?”
UHM…I DON’T EAT CRAP FOOD MOST OF THE TIME!
You shouldn’t need to do a cleanse if you are eating a healthy diet 80% of the time. That healthy eating will, itself, make your body healthier and remove all of the “toxins.”
And really you think that one week on a “cleanse” is going to remove all the toxins from your body that you’ve been consuming for months and months and months eating a poor diet!?!
If you want to make your body healthy, you need to eat healthily most of the time…not for one week!
And the funniest thing is, when I say they should eat healthy 80% of the time if they really want a clean, healthy body, they tell me that only cleanses TRULY remove all of the gunk. That eating healthy doesn’t get it all out.
Some cleanse diet is going to remove some hidden gunk that eating only whole natural foods won’t remove!?!
UHM…NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
Sometimes I want to ask people obsessed with cleanse diets what this supposed hidden gunk is? I mean really what is so supposedly stuck in us that only a cleanse diet can rid of us?
Also, I would just like to point out that most of these cleanse diets really AREN’T THAT HEALTHY OR GOOD FOR YOU!
You really thinking drinking juice for a week is that great for you? All you are consuming is a ton of carbs in the form of SUGAR!
That isn’t healthy!
But when I tell people that cleanse diets AREN’T healthy, I usually get a response like, “Well I saw a cleanse diet by Dr. Oz!”
Dr. Oz….Usually I would have a rant against him, but in this case…Well I actually kind of like him.
When they say that to me, I usually say, “Have you looked at the difference between your FAD cleanse and Dr. Oz’s?”
The Dr. Oz cleanse is basically like eating just a super clean all natural diet!
It isn’t juice with cayenne pepper! It is chicken and veggies. It is just SUPER CLEAN NATURAL FOODS!
If you want a TRUE cleanse, you don’t need to do some crazy diet that cuts out all but one food group! Just eat whole natural foods that aren’t processed at all!
Or you know what…maybe even add in some intermittent fasting…Now fasting a bit…that IS truly good for your body!
Oh but wait….you aren’t doing a cleanse to be healthy? No…you are doing the cleanse because your friend supposedly lost 10lbs in one week?!?
Oh well then of course do the cleanse! It must be the magic pill for weight loss!
Cleanse diets might help you lose a bit of weight, but the second you stop the cleanse, do you really think you are going to maintain the weight loss?
You haven’t changed your normal daily eating habits so how do you think you are going to keep that lost weight off?
YOU AREN’T GOING TO!
So why waste a week of your life on a completely miserable diet only to lose weight that you will probably gain back in less than two days when you return to your old eating habits?
There is no quick weight loss solution. If you want to lose weight, eat clean whole, natural foods. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and meat. (Shoot I would even say a well-balanced diet of vegetables and meat, which is completely the opposite of some of those fruit and sugar-laden cleanses!)
If you want to truly lose weight, you need to start a diet you can maintain for more than a week.
And if you are completely and utterly set on doing some sort of “cleanse” go super strict the first couple of weeks on your diet. Eat only vegetables and meat.
Then maybe after those two weeks of super clean eating, add back in a few healthy treats…like fruits or maybe a glass of wine or some dark chocolate or a little full-fat dairy here and there.
The point is that these fad cleanses aren’t healthy AND they don’t truly help you lose weight. If you want to be “clean” and lose weight, your only solution is to eat whole natural foods.
Even Dr. Oz says so!