Tag Archives: Strength training

THE MENOPAUSE WEIGHT GAIN MYTH?

Women complain to me about their menopause middle and ask how to get rid of it.  Exercise, good nutrition and sound sleep –  the traits of a healthy lifestyle at any age, are ever more important at middle age.  According to Nancy Clark, author of the upcoming new edition of the best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Human Kinetics, November 2013), women do not always gain weight during menopause. “Yes, women aged 45 to 50 commonly gain weight as fat settles in and around the abdominal area,” Clark says. “But, these changes are due more to lack of exercise and a surplus of calories than to a reduction of hormones.”

STAY ACTIVEPilates ball exercise
In a three-year study of more than 3,000 women (initial age 42 to 52 years), the average weight gain was 4.6 pounds. The weight gain occurred in all women, regardless of their menopause status. According to Clark, weight gain is not caused by the hormonal shifts of menopause, but by other culprits associated with midlife. That is lack of exercise and excess calories.

Middle age women (and men) tend to be less active which is especially unhealthful as we age.  We need to keep our muscles strong and flexible for many reasons: better balance, good bone mass, and for weight control.

more muscle = faster metabolism = increased calorie burn

FORGET DIETS AND EXTREME EXERCISE – GO FOR JOY
You’ve probably dieted a gazillion times by now, has it led to permanent weight loss or are you dieting several times year?  That ought to tell you something about how effective that approach is.  There is no magic bullet when it comes to food or fitness.

What does work is eating fresh, whole foods that are nutrient dense. That is foods that pack a lot nutrition for the amount of calories – think apple vs pretzels.  They may have the same calories but your body gets more satisfaction out of that apple.

Choose movement that you enjoy.  If you like boxing – great! Weight-lifting, Pilates?  Perfer bike riding to dancing?  Do what feels good.  Mix up some resistance training with activities that increase your heart rate enough so that you can talk but not sing while you are doing it and you’ve got a good aerobic pace.

exercise 3 – 5x/wk for at least 30-minutes.

Once you experience how good it feels to live in a strong, fit and healthy body, you’ll want to keep it that way.  You only have one body, one life.  It is mostly up to you how you’re going to feel in it.  Of course, you’ll probably reduce or get rid of the menopause middle too.  That’s just the bonus.  Feeling great in your own skin is the real prize.

Love,
JoAnn

FINDING A GOOD PILATES INSTRUCTOR

Pilates certifications can be snagged in weekend or take several years and hundreds of hours to earn. Good instructors gain the equivalent of a Master’s degree. When you want high quality instruction, look for:

  • Minimum of 300 training hours
  • Comprehensive and mat certifications
  • Several years of teaching
  • Ask about specialties. Some instructors focus on populations such as seniors, pre/post natal, rehab or high performance athletes.

Like yoga, Pilates has evolved through time. Today, there are a variety of styles but core development is fundamental to them all. Among the most well-known trademarked brands are: Stott, Power Pilates, Core Dynamics, the Physical Mind Institute, and Romana’s Pilates. But a trademark doesn’t necessarily ensure quality instruction.

“Anyone can take a list of exercises and teach them,” says Chicago-based Vered Arbel of Elements in Motion, “how you analyze and fit the exercises to the needs of the person requires anatomical and biomechanical knowledge. Really look for that.”

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT STUDIO FOR YOU
A web search will result in lots of choices and can reveal a lot about a place.  What’s the vibe?  Warm and welcoming?  Super intense high energy?  Look at the pictures and the language.  Do they communicate well?  What do the instructors say about themselves? Look for client testimonials and consult Yelp.

Ask them questions that relate to what you are looking for and they should ask you questions too.  That will reveal their level of experience and care about new clients.  Questions instructors  should ask you include:

  • What do you do for exercise now?
  • What attracts you to Pilates?
  • What are your fitness goals?
  • Any injuries?

Taking a mat class is an inexpensive way to check out a studio and discover if the place simply feels right to you. Also, many studios offer discounted rates for first time students.

Counteracting the stresses of everyday life is among the main benefits of any exercise discipline.  Ultimately, Pilates can balance the body helping you feel at ease and comfort in your skin, increase energy, rid you of body aches and possibly back pain too. Well worth the price of admission.

Love,
JoAnn

What’s SUP? Stand-Up Paddleboarding.

Stand-up paddleboarding that what’s up.  The sport is a combo of kayaking and surfing. You stand on a wide board and paddle your way through the water. Originally used by ancient Polynesian cultures, it’s been steadily making its way from Hawaii  as a great way to play on water and get a good workout too. Talk about balance and power, you’ll need that plus a sense of humor when you fall off. Read and see all about it here, at SUP magazine.

NEW CITY VIEW
Finally thawing out of the cold, cruel and LONG winter this year, we Chicagoans are every ready to get out and play.  Enjoy the city skyline in a whole new way, by jumping on a board.  Yeah, Lake Michigan can be choppy, but hey there are rivers too and some days all our waters are as calm as glass.  This outfitter will help you get started with gear and lessons.

A FESTIVAL AFLOAT
Up north, standup paddleboarding is exploding in popularity in Madison, Wisconsin.  This summer, industry leader SUP the Mag, is sponsoring the Midwest Standup Paddle Festival, a benefit for the UW Health Children’s Hospital and the Henry Vilas Zoo. It’s set for July 12 & 13, 2013 at Bishop’s Bay Country Club in Middleton, WI. The abundance of clean flatwater in the area plus the reputation Madison has for being such an active community led organizers to add Madison to its nationwide festival of events.  Madison is one of eight stops on their SUP America Tour.

STAY ON BOARD WITH CORE POWER
Your core muscles are like the glue that holds everything together while your arms push and pull you through the water. Lots of ways to keep that core strong as you move your limbs, and Pilates is one of the best ways to get in shape and stay in shape for all you do.  Great for post rehab and even better, Pilates is a highly efficient muscle balancing full workout that helps you avoid injuries in the first place. Good instructors can customize the workout for your specific sport.

Now go out and play!

Love,
JoAnn Milivojevic
Certified Pilates Instructor

Lunchtime Fitness

Exercise is the elixir for many of life’s challenges – it reduces stress, increases energy and helps you sleep better too. The latest Federal government guidelines recommend 30-60 minutes of exercise on most days to maintain or improve your general wellbeing. That’s a tall order given today’s busy schedules. But fit a little fitness into a few of your lunch breaks and you’ll soon reap the rewards of a more active lifestyle.  These simple strategies can help you get the most of your limited lunch hour.

COMBINE AND SCHEDULE

Multitasking has its benefits in the office and in the gym. Get maximum benefit from limited time by combining cardiovascular exercise with strength training.

  • Hop on a cardio machine for ten minutes, weight train your upper body for ten minutes, then stretch.  Alternate between upper and lower body weight training exercises each time you workout to get a full body benefit by the week’s end.  If you’re not sure how to get the most for your time, book a few sessions with a personal trainer.
  • Check out the facilities’ schedule of classes. Many gyms have shortened noon time instructor-led classes designed to fit into a limited schedule.
  • Entice a coworker to join you.  You can brainstorm new ideas and build better business relationships too.

 NO GYM? BRING IT IN

You don’t need a lot of space to exercise efficiently.

  • Get a yoga mat and a resistance band and you’ve got your own in-office workout.  Resistance bands offer an endless array of strength-training and stretching options. They can be done standing, sitting, or lying down.  These bands are inexpensive and most come with step-by-step workout routines.
  •  No equipment needed. Think calisthenics: push ups, sit ups, squats and jumping jacks.  Good form, precision, and control are key.
  • Step away from the computer for a few minutes to stretch out your back can help reduce stiffness. A few side stretches and spine twists work wonders.
  • Bring in a group exercise instructor.  A savvy instructort can give you a full body workout in just 30-minutes—leaving you time for lunch and errands. If your company doesn’t provide the service, gather a few colleagues together and hire a trainer yourselves.  Splitting the cost can make the session affordable for every one.  All you need is a conference room or other open space.

I offer lunchtime worksite workouts to Chicago companies large and small. Designed to counterbalances the effects of sitting, the 30-minute full body workout is done standing up – no need to change clothes or lie on the floor!  For more info www.JoAnnMilPilates.com

 A PRACTICAL BAG

Keep a gym bag with shoes and toiletries at the office and have an extra lighter bag to carry your workout clothes to and from home.  Likewise, bring your lunch on workout days to save time. Include a pre work out snack, such as a banana or handful of raisins mixed with nuts. If you’re starving at noon, it’ll be too easy to skip the workout. A well timed smart snack an hour before your workout will give you the fuel you need and reduce the hunger excuse.