Take Advantage of Broadcast TV to ADD to your ‘Footprint

Full disclosure – if the TV is on at my house it’s usually sports.  Doesn’t really matter which sport, if team or person A is attempting to score more (or less) than team or person B I’m usually hooked.  Last night was a sports-on-TV-bonanza: US Open tennis, the opening of the college football season, MLB games of pennant race teams, Olberman back on ESPN, high school football, D-league basketball, and surfing.  No wonder my index finger knuckle was sore this morning – all that remote clicking to not miss any action!   

It’s a fun time of year for sports fans – as mentioned, football at all levels, the US Open, and the MLB pennant races, in addition, the PGA golf ‘playoffs,’ and the icing  on the cake, the New York and Los Angeles Coed Advertising Softball League championships – talk about drama and excitement.  ESPN would be so lucky as to obtain the rights!        

I realize and respect not everyone has a sports passion, but we all need to share the passion for the wellness that activity uniquely gifts.  My point today is to piggyback on yesterdays post suggesting you use the Fall (as in TODAY) as your physical activity/exercise reset.  With so ‘much sports’ happening at the national and local levels the energy is there! 

To kick-start your reset, sometime over this weekend’s holiday add at least one new FitBUBBLE to your ‘Footprint.  Then, think get serious about how you can collect more.  If you are returning to school yourself, and if possible, enroll in an activity class of something completely new to your radar.  If you are a parent, enroll your kids in their Fall activities then target an organized event for you, e.g., a 5K or 10K run – which could inspire the bug to complete a full or ½ marathon NEXT Fall when many big ones (Chicago, New York) sound their starting horns.  If you are just a you, well, the same applies – enroll in something, sign up for something.             

Of course, use Iron Footprint to help you realize all your new achievement and sustain your motivation.  Don’t hesitate to contact us for more ideas about how to reset your routine or give a shout-out to yourself for your successes!  

Ahh, the innocent hope and promise of the New – hey, my Gophers scored 51 points to beat UNLV so the dream lives on…at least for another week.

Reset your Exercise-Reset – Make September 15 the NEW January 1

September 15?  Seems so random.  What, is September 14 and 16 already taken? 

Haha, smart alek.  Think about it.  Childhood conditions us to launch major life resets sometime early September with the start of a new school year.  For upwards of 16+ years (including college) our body clocks become accustomed to ‘new beginnings’ occurring in the early Fall, and our psyche learns to anticipate ‘the new in Fall’ as a natural part of our life cycle.                 

Fast forward to adulthood.  Considering how we are grooved for ‘new starts’ in the Fall, targeting January 1 as our reckoning day is a blatant affront to nature.  No doubt, the first day of a new year is a clean and logical choice for embarkation but it goes against the cycle engrained during our formative years.  Timing can be everything, and there doesn’t seem to be an upside to tilting nature!  Call me crazy but I say we align to the universe rather than fight it.  Annual reflection, assessment, taking stock and the resolution that follows – of course useful toward self-growth, just not January 1 for exercise with the often wholesale change in schedule modus operandi that results.                     

Still not convinced?  Ok, here is the case against January 1 as ‘exercise reset’ day:

First, if you have school-aged kids, they are typically out of school for the holiday break that spans the first of the year.  The kids being out of school trumps any sense of a normal schedule – It ISNT normal until school resumes.  Beginning a new exercise program in early January that you know going in may have to be adjusted in mid-January creates a hesitant commitment.  Add this to any lack of confidence about immersing into the new, well, it’s enough to knock the motive out of motivation even before the new schedule’s ink is dry!

Second, The Holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about The Holidays, even the stress, but the layers of expectation can be all-consuming.  Sugar-fueled emotions tend to be on overdrive so the first few days of your exercise reset may be super-hyped, but then the sugar crashes and as excited as you were to begin, you are more repulsed to continue.                

Third, related to the second point, January 1 evokes enough contemplation without the added pressure to change your lifestyle…NOW!  Not to mention, if your routine is set you can count on it to calm the charge that the season stirs.    

Fourth, many businesses slow down even shut down the end of December into the new year, and at the least, many of us ‘check out’ during this time even if we remain logged in.  Any new that we add to what isn’t our normal schedule/routine risks getting trumped by what is normal once work resumes.   

Fifth, winter weather.  Ahh, the fresh crispness of a -10 degree day with -30 degree wind chill – right!  Icy sidewalks.  Boots or sneakers?  How many layers?  Getting used to the routine of your newly instituted daily power walk AND negotiating how to dress can be a lot to manage all at once.  Not to imply you can’t figure it out, but, if you reset your routine in September, by the time January rolls around it will be engrained AND you will have ushered in the cold weather progressively.              

Resetting your exercise in September is intuitive, resetting it in January means disturbing Mother Nature.  Let that sleeping dog lie.  If I were the manager of a gym I would create a membership push that targeted school carpool lines, and if I was the owner of a night spot I would plan a huge blow out party for September 14.   

As for you, treat yourself to new sneakers when you take your kids to get theirs for back-to-school.  Then, wear them out of the store and race them to the car.

I can’t end without plugging Iron Footprint Fitness as the approach to use for your reset.  Use it to develop resilient motivation so it’s the last time you need to restart!


Today’s FitBRIEF: 10 Minutes From now you Could be…


More flexible






Proud of yourself

Or, still in line to order coffee.

The point – Just 10 measly little minutes of vigorous physical activity can uniquely and profoundly yield physical, emotional and cognitive vigor and health protection!    

The promise – The deliverables are consistent and reliable!

The prompt – Be greedy!  If you are not able to get to the gym or get your run/walk in chunk as many ‘10-minutes’ as you can during your day, then do it again tomorrow and all the tomorrows after.       

The moral of the story – There is nothing wrong with coffee!  Just make sure you always wear sneakers to get it.  You can always do a 10-minute chunk while IN the order line

Get to the Gym…But don’t Make the Other 23 Hours Feel Left Out!

Think ‘pause’ button not start/stop button and Sir Isaac Newton…

Remember physical activity as a kid? – 1. Open door.  2. Go outside.  3. Play.  Afterward you provided details about what you did to whoever would listen, especially if any part of it ended with a Band-Aid (total precursor to the ‘Footprint notching thing).   

Then there was wearing shorts under your skirt or pants to school to account for movement and vanity, AND so you could transition from the classroom to the monkey bars for recess without LOSING ANY TIME. 

There was no hard and fast start and stop to activity; rather, when you had to take a break due to a rude interruption by lunch or dinner or some other (ridiculous) matter you hit the proverbial ‘pause’ button, and simply picked up from where you left off – with the same strike count or down (football).  Activity was organic and flowed from one to the next.  Yes, I meant to write that!      

As simple as it was then is as convoluted and compartmentalized as it now – organize, arrange for, schedule, drive to, dress for….  And, all to ensure you make it to A particular fitness class at the gym, which when done concludes your activity for the day.  

I know, hard if not impossible to avoid.  Our big girl and boy commitments slam our schedules making the logistics that go along with gym membership a necessary evil – evil in the sense we can’t NOT compartmentalize so have patterned ourselves to exercise during our exercise window, only. 

But, it’s not to say we can’t TRY to flow more activity into our lives than the one-and-done of the gym, because,      

—Any activity is better than no activity–and any ‘extra’ activity is even better:  Dastardly, health-sapping screen time can consume our waking hours.  Our gym hour combats by yielding baseline health protection, but activity beyond has greater impact.  ALL activity counts toward your quality of life – the deeper your Iron Footprint, the better.  Gym exercise (FitBASE) is a critical, but one part of your ‘Footprint.  Add FitBUBBLES as well to improve your ratio of activity time to screen time and ultimately foster your VIGOR! 

—‘A body in motion tends to stay in motion’:  Among Sir Isaac Newton’s brilliance was the discovery of this exercise – friendly principle.  (Though I doubt his attention considered exercise he was known to be a good lawn bowler – talk about that at your next dinner party).  You have to be active to become more active.  With just a little practice, you can habit yourself the 23 hours you are away from the gym.

 So, what can you do to move more?  Where can you find activity?  How can you improve your flow?     

Move – Anywhere – Repeat…

You may have heard these suggestions before…but likely never under the pretense of using a ‘pause’ rather than a start/stop button or Sir Isaac Newton himself, so there!     

–Get up out of your chair, or off the couch, every 20 minutes to walk around your office/office area, or house

–Routinely park as far away from entry doors as possible.

–Take any/all stairs you can

–Use the bathroom farthest away from your desk

–Get up 10 minutes earlier and go for a 10-minute walk before going to work or to the gym

–Walk during lunch – even 5 minutes in the hallway is 5 minutes

–Go to the batting cage or golf driving range during lunch or after work

The more you practice finding activity the more you will find.  It really is as simple as that.  Too pedestrian for you?  Well, be more creative – I double dare you to use social media to organize a flash mob – to play Kick the Can at the park.  Don’t forget the Band Aids….   

Own Your ‘IT-ness’: Cause the Physical Activity of Girls/Young Women

We have said it before but it bears repeating…and repeating and repeating. YOU carry the power to influence the physical activity engagement of girls and young women; both as an obvious influencer – mom, grandmother, aunt, sister, teacher, etc. – AND as one less obvious – the jogger girls see every morning while they are on the school bus, or the one they overhear at the grocery checkout line boasting about her improved 10k time…

You may not think they are listening or watching, they may never admit to listening or watching but they are, no small thing because their behavior-driving values about physical activity emerge from what they see and hear!

Why is regular activity so important to girls/young women? It sources their well being today and into tomorrow by uniquely and profoundly fostering positive self-esteem and body image, resiliency to risky behavior and health protection. Compared to those inactive, active girls/young women get better grades; have less teen/unwanted pregnancy, smoking and substance abuse; are less likely to be in an abusive relationship; have a lower risk for developing breast cancer; and have a more positive outlook on life.

Why the urgency?

The statistics about adolescent engagement are dismal. Around age 14 girls begin to engage less and less until many abruptly stop altogether, even if they have been active while younger! Millions miss out on engagement’s gifts of health protection and quality of life, but also its fun. Mostly this is sad.

But, chin up Iron Cougars for this is where we can shine. The good news is that with encouragement and a pipeline girls WILL remain active, if not even more so, and we have the ‘IT’ to be THE it. Girls can dismiss it as typical or expected when they hear boys/men talk about their activity or see them being active, not so when they hear about or see the same from other girls or women. While bumble-bee soccer today is as much a rite of passage for little girls as boys, we are still more drawn to activities where we see images of ourselves than not, meaning there is more punch to girls seeing/hearing about engagement from other girls/women than boys/men.

So, Iron Cougars by virtue of our ‘IT’, what we say, do, role model and prioritize CAN directly inspire a young woman to engage in activity today, and then again tomorrow and lots of tomorrows after. Think about it. How awesome that we can be the pipeline that reverses the sad trend and causes girls’ sports leagues to have to add teams! Iron Cougars, we need to own our IT! Lets us cause the need for lots of new uniforms and equipment to be ordered across the county to accommodate the increased participation by girls/young women!

Count me in! I’m ready! Lets go! What do I do? Where do I start? … But, wait, I’m not highly skilled and don’t have much experience playing sports.

Yikes!, some skepticism after all the hype and excitement? Fear not. An assurance before we get to the specifics – you DON’T need to be a proficiently-skilled athlete or trained physical activity professional to make a difference. Remember, you have the most important trump card – you are the IT! The following are ‘preferred qualifications’ to make a difference using your IT-ness:

(Note – ‘her’ and ‘she’ is both singular and plural)

 ROLE MODEL regular physical activity – talk the talk and walk the walk (literally haha)
 TAKE INTEREST in all aspects of her physical activity engagement
 PERSISTENTLY communicate the importance of regular activity and how fun it is
 COMPLIMENT all her activity attributes – cognitive and emotional as well as physical
 CONSISTENTLY deliver positive messages about activity – every day in not too often
 EMPHATICLY communicate the benefits of regular activity, including, it is fun
 INSISTENT that she is regularly active, rain or shine: ‘no’ is not an option

Feel better? You should, because no doubt you CAN be the IT!

Ok, I’m ready. What are some specific suggestions?

The following is how you can use your IT to cause girls/young women to realize the fun of activity today and establish their life-long commitment to regular engagement:

(Notes – Apologies if some things seem obvious – trying to avoid presumption; some suggestions may be more age-appropriate to those older or younger; ‘her’ and ‘she’ is both singular and plural)

 SUSTAIN your own regular achievement-oriented engagement – be active every day!
 TALK about your engagement whenever/wherever you have the opportunity – you never know where ears lurk
 START her notching her Iron Footprint or KidPRINT – success establishes resilient motivation to sustain regular engagement, the earlier the better
 PRACTICE skills together – catching, throwing, kicking, batting, shooting, dribbling, etc. (if you are not highly skilled you can be the rebounder, put the ball on the tee, etc.)
 WALK (or run, jog, bike ride) together at least once a week – rain or shine!
 DO A FITBUBBLE together at least once a month – she AND you both adding a FitBUBBLE to your Iron Footprints
 TAKE HER to girl’s high school/women’s college games/meets/matches
 GO to her games/meets/matches and practices
 MAKE SURE she has transportation to practices/games
 KEEP A JOURNAL/scrapbook of her competition results – e.g. times in events, game highlights
 PLAY SPORTS REPORTER and send her a written sports story about her games
 VOLUNTEER at a school’s physical education or after-school program
 SEND HER ARTICLES about women’s professional sports results/athletes – talk about current women’s sports events – college and professional – WNBA, LPGA, WPT, NCAA March-Madness and WCWS
 GIVE HER GIFTS that pipeline physical activity – e.g., equipment, clothes, tickets to women’s athletic event
 REMIND HER that information about female athletes or women’s teams/leagues is but a click away – facebook pages, websites, twitter
 ENCOURAGE HER to include activity engagement photos and stories on her facebook page
 ENCOURAGE HER to invite a friend to engage along with you – and the friend’s mom/sister/grandmother/aunt, etc.
 TEXT HER DAILY OR REGULARLY to remind her to be active or ask her about her activity – if/when possible

Whew, you are going to be busy, but what a great busy! Imagine the outcome with me – first, she WILL be active and reap its life-enhancing benefit. Second, she will learn to pay the encouragement forward ensuring the next generation of girls will be (even) more active than this one. Third, NO question she will become an Iron Cougar the second the clock strikes 12midnight on her 50th birthday.

And of course, know what this will do for your own Iron Footprint and your own IT legacy.

The best description I have heard for advocacy is persistence. Know that your persistence WILL serve the well-being of this generation of girls AND those that follow…

Now get your IT out there and CAUSE activity!

A Cautionary Tale – Is your Fitness Facility Sapping your Exercise Motivation?

Overheard at a full-service fitness facility:

“I knew I needed to make reservations for dinner but for zumba?, I mean how many people come here to do zumba?”

“I joined to get exercise but with the full-service salon and food bar I never have time for spin class” 

“When did they put in all this equipment?  What’s it for?”

Like the old saying about ice hockey – I thought I was at a boxing match when a hockey game broke out – the sentiment can be similar for full-service fitness centers – I went to get my hair done and discovered I could also exercise there!  With amenities including a fresh food bar, full-service salon with massage, lobby with free wi-fi, scented towels (warm or chilled), floor staff paid to cater to creature comforts, gift shop, complimentary lemon water you might think upscale hotel.  Wrong.  Fitness facility, as in get sweaty, and grunt when you lift weights; that is if you ever find your way to the weights.   

The upside is…all the upsides.  If all the pieces fall into place, you can workout, get buffed and shined before meeting a client to close a deal, and then  purchase your better-half’s birthday gift at the pro-shop on your way out.  

Overheard at a gym:

“What’s THAT growing on the bench?”

“I wonder if they will EVER have toilet paper”

“Will s/he keep grunting like that on every lift?”

Questionable cleanliness, little regard to creature comforts and a rather INTENSE environment can make even the most brazen of us squeamish.  It’s never good to stand to use the equipment that’s meant for sitting, and it doesn’t take but one or two occasions of ‘avoidance’ before throwing in the towel – if only there was even a paper towel to throw.      

The upside is never confusing your purpose for being there.  Using the equipment or taking classes is what you do since it’s what you get, and the intensity of fellow exercisers can be very inspiring.

So, what’s the take away?  Maybe the stereotypes are a bit overstated, but the point is to understand how your exercise environment itself can play into your motivation.  Some can take the exercise right out of exercise by either offering so many distractions you forget to exercise or causing you to avoid offensive equipment for fear of your bio-wellness.      

The environment isn’t an excuse though.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong with comfort, nor does the ‘whatever’ on a bench usually turn out to be harmful.  Be aware of how your facility can dissuade your focus/purpose and take steps to combat the realities: 1.  Use Iron Footprint to plan purposeful workouts.  2.  Bring your own towel and antibacterial wipes.  3.  Leave your credit cards in the car.        

Slammed schedules, sick kids, last minute client dinner or report due – there can be so many (real) barriers to exercise, chilled Eucalyptus towels or INTENSE exercisers shouldn’t add to the list!  Maybe the solution is the ancillary service has to be earned – X minutes of cardio for X minutes of shopping…and INTENSE exercisers have to drag their equipment outside to use it…    

Note – the vast majority of fitness managers I know don’t tolerate unsanitary or unsavory conditions – they appreciate being made aware of issues. 


Women and the Fitness Glass Ceiling

Headline – Women Underachieve at the Gym.

What? Whoa! What? – Women Underachieve at the Gym


Ouch! Being a woman who dutifully goes to the gym that hurts. How dare you!


But, what of it?


First, don’t take this the wrong way.  Watch men at the gym compared to women. Men tend to aggressively lift weights to push their strength threshold, use treadmills not to jog but to run, and spin rather than leisurely pedal stationary bikes.  Men also seem to approach their gym time with a sense of urgency—they demand the most of their time—and they think ‘progression.’  Can I lift more?  Can I do more cardio?  Can I run faster?  Can I do more crunches today than yesterday?


Women, differently, seem to approach the gym much more casually tending to ‘tone,’ ‘sculpt,’ and ‘correct problem areas,’ a focus with appearance rather than performance improvement intent.     

Overstated?  Too generalized?  Exaggerated?  Unnecessarily polarized?  Perhaps.  But evidence suggests otherwise, a point that is perplexing, disturbing, and frustrating, but mostly sad – especially knowing that worldwide, women more so than men are dissatisfied with their health and more likely to contend with health problems, physical pain and sadness 1 – each conducive to mitigation through regular, achievement-oriented physical activity.


Perhaps due to misguided perspective stemming from archaic notions about women and exercise, women inherently tend to UNDERachieve at the gym by not training to improve performance. 


While it may be wholly unintentional, women create their own Fitness Glass Ceiling!   


Not so long ago women’s professional aspirations were limited but for being female. Today, women command power across all sectors including positions that persuade our national government—and with one on the radar poised to run the country it seems only a matter of time before a she sits in the Oval Office.  Women are also now among the suits of the old-boys bastions of Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association.


While pockets of inequity still fester, girls today can pursue the vocation of their calling.  The ‘glass ceiling’ predicament seems as outdated as yesterday’s tweets. More than less, gender has no bearing on conquering what is of interest to conquer and limitation but for being female is for history book depiction.

But how about the realm of physical activity?


Unlike professional entities where others imposed limitation, women seem to underachieve in physical activity due to self-imposed limitation.


Legal action (Title IX) and medical community assurance that the female reproductive system did not render women too fragile for vigorous engagement catalyzed equal opportunity within physical activity over 40 years ago, yet illogical thinking lingers, including the notion of the ideal female body.  Women underachieve in physical activity by falling prey to erroneous, archaic, scientifically refuted myths and wives tales about engagement, and yielding to the cultured ideal body.


The big deal? Self-imposed limitation IS cause for concern:


u  Nearly ¾ of all USA women carry unhealthy weight and are under active.

u  Women (and girls) are proportionately heavier and less active than men (or boys).

u  Women are more prone to overweight/obesity than men due to our reproductive hormones and how we respond to aging.

u  Women are more prone to, and more women die of heart disease than men

u  Women risk osteoporosis and certain cancers (breast and colorectal) that regular engagement can reduce the likelihood of developing.

u  Women are more likely than men to have unhealthy nutritional habits to elicit quick weight loss.


Physical activity engagement can mitigate the dire health implications faced by many women but it needs to be sustained and achievement-oriented. The following describes ways in which the fitness glass ceiling is manifest:


Failing to weight train to BUILD muscular strength, mass, power or endurance

Muscular strength, mass, power and endurance impact vitality and vigor, and bone density and joint efficacy. Weight training to ‘tone’, ‘shape’, or ‘sculpt’ stems from seeking appearance rather than health-related outcomes, and the fear of developing masculine musculature. Seeking appearance outcomes has limited impact on muscular health. Women do not carry the same level of hormone as men to develop comparative muscle mass.


Focusing gym routines on ‘hitting trouble spots’

Mass media (and perhaps a 12″ plastic female doll) has conditioned women to seek the (wholly unattainable) culturally defined perfect body (again, appearance goals) and ‘fix’ any part that falls short. ‘Glossy’ and women’s fitness magazines commit regular pieces to transforming ‘trouble spots’—thighs, abs, hips, and the back of arms—altogether impossible, at least for how it tends to be presented. The media schlop renders women self-adversarial, disgusted by their deficits and unable to regard their physical self positively.


Given physiology, ‘hitting a trouble spot’ will neither address the ‘trouble spot’ nor impact health-related fitness as could be otherwise. First, spot reduction is impossible! Weight is lost across the body, not in one area without loss in others. Certain areas may transform before others due to genetically determined adipose tissue (fat) distribution, but the energy in-energy out balance that mitigates body weight is systemic.


Second, the common strategy used to ‘fix trouble spots’ is fundamentally flawed. Resistance training of high reps with light weights (aka ‘toning’) will not transform physique. Body composition changes by reducing carried fat and increasing musculature. ‘Toning’ does not yield the lean tissue increase necessary for (realistic) physique transformation.


Attempting to transform physique to look like someone else, or the body parts of someone else—e.g., a certain celebrity’s or public figure’s arms or legs

Sadly, transforming into the physique of someone else (or the arms, legs or abs of someone else – usually a model or celebrity, or otherwise public figure whose image is a constant or instantly accessed on mass media platforms) is a prevalent gym goal. The genesis of this goal is infatuation with achieving the cultural notion of the ideal body.


Its pursuit frames the purpose of exercise sessions—at the expense of total body conditioning—which leaves health-related benefit to chance.  And, it’s unlikely that sculpting will result in precise specification given genetics’ determination of shape and contour. Motivation erodes with disappointed outcomes (even if unrealistic to begin with) which jeopardizes sustaining engagement.


Failing to address each component of health-related fitness—i.e., doing only yoga or pilates, or resistance training, or cardio

Exercise routines need to address each health-related fitness component with sufficient intensity to yield engagement’s optimum benefit.  A recent fitness trend is mind-body activity—yoga, pilates, etc.—but at the exclusion of other forms of engagement.  In general, mind-body activity fosters some health-related gains (e.g., flexibility) but less directly impacts cardiovascular or muscular gains.  Focusing solely on one form of activity means certain underachievement for how it limits health-related benefit.


Failing to monitor cardio intensity

Engagement will yield cardiovascular benefit IF the level of intensity (heart rate) is within one’s training zone (determined by a simple mathematical formula*).  Underachievement is avoided by knowing your training zone then regularly monitoring your heart-rate during engagement. Any engagement is always better than no engagement, and going for a leisurely walk or casual bile ride sure has merit, but intensity-appropriate engagement yields optimum cardiovascular benefit.


(*Heart-rate training zone information is widely available on the Web. One site is http://www.runnersweb.com/running/hr_calculator_new.html.)


Failing to develop a short and long-range training plan; approaching a workout from a ‘just’ perspective.

Failing to plan (your routine) IS planning to fail (underachieve)!  Optimum benefit requires sustained engagement that appropriately addresses each health-related fitness component. Without plans, daily engagement can be haphazard which risks overlooking certain components, more likely given harried lives that leave us frazzled at the gym after long days. Plans also help avoid routines becoming ‘too routine’ and approaching engagement from a ‘just’ perspective.


‘Just’ engagement–‘I am just going to walk on the treadmill’ or ‘I am just going to do some weights’—means certain underachievement for its lack of purpose and implied lack of commitment.  It also conveys a focus on the minimum.  With sites set upon MAYBE reaping SOME benefits it’s only MAYBE that SOME benefit will be yielded—minimum effort yields minimum results.


Note -‘Just’ engagement, “I’m going to just get in some quick cardio” can yield benefit if it’s appropriately intense, and research shows that cardio can be effective when taken in segments during the day (e.g., 10 minutes three times a day).  Also, some days ‘just’ is as good as it gets. The 15 minute session of cardio sandwiched between a meeting that ran late and picking up your kids is sometimes the only engagement opportunity – and some activity is always better than no activity!


Working with a trainer who possesses a marginal understanding of health-related fitness, or is otherwise professionally incompetent

The personal trainer whom we entrust our health-related well-being needs to possess adequate content knowledge to induce optimum benefit. More women than men work with trainers who are well-intended but mis-informed. These trainers tend to have personalities that make them very popular at gyms—they are friendly, outgoing, always pleasant, always smiling—but the smile needs substance for underachievement to be avoided because:


Content knowledge is the main factor that differentiates an expert physical activity professional from one who is merely effective

Working with a well-informed trainer increases the likelihood of optimum benefit.  Examples of incompetency include:


u  The inability to clearly explain health-related fitness concepts using everyday language.

u  Using nonprofessional language about anatomy/biomechanics/physiology; and/or using gimmicky/dummied-down language about exercises, fitness concepts, and/or equipment.

u  Failing to develop or communicate a progressive training plan.

u  Failing to maintain records of routines or regularly assess performance.

u  Failing to provide corrective feedback.


u  Focusing on appearance results that ‘will make you look like’ a certain celebrity or body shape. (ie certain celebrity’s butt, legs, arms, etc.)

u  Repetitious routines – same thing day after day, over and over.

u  Copying what other trainers do without knowing the purpose of moves/exercises or their safe execution.


(As adapted from Certified or CertiFRAUD? Assessing the Professional Competency of Your Personal Trainer – Who’s Minding Your Store?  Also included in the book is a protocol to use to select a personal trainer.  Available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=certified+or+certifraud+assessing)


Women rob themselves of the health protection and life quality engagement uniquely yields by imposing the fitness glass ceiling.  Unlike what many women have been led (or brainwashed) to believe, health-related fitness is not gender differentiated – what’s good for men is what’s good for women. Women need to be as aggressive at the gym as in other facets of life. Lift heavy weights and vigorously (and safely) do cardio!  It matters!


  1.  (http://www.gallup.com/poll/155558/Women-Health-Trails-Men-Former-Soviet-Union.aspx)

Solving the NO TIME or ‘no time’ Exercise Predicament

note – hello readers!! thanks for your follow – appreciated!! thought you might find this useful – either for you or someone you know. Iron Cougars ARE the ORBITS around which multiple generations of family members circle – you HAVE influence…

Here is what I-know-that-you-know: you need to exercise…you don’t have time to exercise…this causes guilt/regret/misgivings because…you need to exercise.

Yuck! Ugly cycle that might seem unbreakable, but take a breath because there is a solution.

First, though, a gut check as to what your ‘don’t have time’ origin is. NO TIME! is one possibility. Up with the sun…morning routine…work…evening routine…up with the sun. Oops, I can’t forget the fine print – get groceries, pick up the dry cleaning, get prescriptions at the drug store, go to doctor/dentist/vet appointments, go back to the grocery store for the milk you forgot or to return the item(s) your toddler grabbed off the shelf… Yikes! But so be it, no worries. Hold tight for suggestions…

Another possibility is ‘no time’ is a sort of exercise defense mechanism, a form of self-protection from having to endure the disappointment of failing to achieve outcomes. Relax, you are among friends, it’s not as scary as it sounds and is perfectly treatable. Having ‘no time’ justifies avoidance caused by the underlying frustration of not realizing success — but there is a fundamental flaw in this equation. Without realizing it, we often pursue unrealistic exercise outcomes, specifically, the erroneous promise of realizing whole, radical body transformation, and easily and quickly!

No doubt, some transformation is likely if we engage according to the guidelines that induce physique changes, e.g., weight loss and muscle mass gain, but I can no more acquire Jennifer Anniston’s arms than she mine, and sadly just yesterday I overheard a trainer guaranteeing a female client said arms in 6 weeks. Scheesch! This isn’t going to end well. In 6 weeks she will be disgusted by seeing HER arms looking back at her in the mirror, quit the gym and forever swear off physical activity. Why? Because yet again she will feel she has failed, prompting the declaration of ‘no time’ to prevent further disappointment.

This may sound extreme but even the most cognizant among us can fall prey to the (outrageous) erroneous promises of transformation because at some level we want to believe the hype and (false) hopes messaged by mass media, gym advertising and fitness professionals, and to some degree transformation IS possible, but it’s (typically) not radical, nor easy nor fast as promised. Darn, there we go being human again, what with trusting then feeling somehow inadequate when our results don’t add up!

Humanness and messaging/marketing accuracy aside, the really sad part is ‘we miss the gains we make by looking for the gains we are not going to find.’ It is VERY likely you will realize gains by the end of an exercise program but if you don’t know what to realistically look for you may completely miss all of it. This means (yet another) hit to your motivation and one day missed becomes two become a string of several until you quit altogether.

TOO BUSY? Or, ‘too busy’ defending against further disappointment? Only you know, but even with a deep, dark past we can help you find the light, dare say resolution to your fitness revolution. Solving is a big word but I know its aggressiveness doesn’t throw this crowd one bit.

First, research shows compelling evidence that 10-minute bouts of moderate-vigorous cardiovascular activity yield health protective benefit. Think what this means – 10 minutes here and there throughout the day can improve life quality by fostering the exercise gifts of physical, cognitive and emotional vigor. It also means we can get past the ‘all or nothing’ perspective from which many regard engagement. Running a marathon, completing a triathlon, achieving advanced yoga poses, riding a cycling century, holding a sub-10 golf handicap or 4.5 tennis rating all deserve big glitter accomplishment stars, but it’s just as significant to your well being to chunk out the increments of activity time you can during the day.

Second, approach activity from a perspective that reveals all the ways you can achieve and shows you how to display all the ways you do achieve. Capture ALL your activity achievement in your Iron Footprint, your portfolio of activity accumulation and success. ‘Iron’ for it’s synonymous alignment to physical activity, and ‘Footprint’ for it’s accumulation depiction, an Iron Footprint is comprised of three engagement dimensions. One, your FitBASE – the daily engagement you do as your workout; Two, your FitBUBBLES – all the activity you do separate from or in addition to your daily workout; and three, your FitBESTS – performance benchmarks for activity events.

Net/net, activity achievement is completing a workout, doing activity different from or in addition to your daily workout, and setting a personal benchmark in an event…much different from seeking the arms of a celebrity, no disrespect to the celebrity, or feeling like you have to run a marathon to earn ‘success’. We ought to seek the deepest, densest, ‘Footprint possible, because in general, the more activity we engage in the better our life quality and it can have a profound impact on engagement motivation. ‘Seeing’ your achievement by notching your ‘Footprint after each session of activity feeds your motivation to sustain engagement because past experience is its strongest source. Success begets success, begets success… Before long you will be so motivated to engage you will have NO TIME – for anything other than activity.

Whether a ‘no time’ or NO TIME origin, carve out 10 minutes as many times as you can throughout your day and then notch your segments accordingly in your Iron Footprint. 10 minute of moderate-vigorous cardio – add that to your FitBASE section. 10 minutes where you did as many push-ups as you could – add that to your FitBEST section (then in a couple of weeks repeat the trial and I bet you will be able to do more). 10 minutes of walking the dog around the block – add that as a FitBUBBLE (literally draw a circle and write in what you did), activity separate from and in addition to your FitBASE workout.

Kids at home? No interest in leaving them with a sitter while you do activity? No problem, simply involve your family as you ‘Footprint. Put young kids in their stroller/jogger or wagon and walk/jog around the neighborhood. This could count as both a FitBASE and FitBEST – time yourself to see how fast you can cover the set distance (then do a retrial a week or so later). It’s never too early to model activity and message its importance to your kids, and their friends, and anyone else who sees you. Start them on their KidPRINT as they become mobile to establish a solid, lifelong engagement habit. It’s the same concept as Iron Footprint but with developmentally appropriate modification to the dimensions. For example, as a rule of thumb grade school kids ought to accrue 60 minutes a day of activity play, including that which they do during and after school. Notch this according to the FitBASE dimension. FitBUBBLES ought to focus upon introducing them to as many different forms of activity possible – and no, you don’t need to be a versatile, highly skilled athlete to expose your kids to a variety of activity. FitBESTS ought to focus upon helping them develop motor skills – jumping, catching, kicking, skipping, throwing, etc. – even if born with a propensity to run fast or throw far or catch from the oddest of angles, without practice skills do not automatically develop. And same as mentioned above, it’s ok if your skill proficiency isn’t quite (what it will be after you practice with them). That’s right – you and your kid(s) practicing dribbling at the park’s basketball court! Finally, at the same time notch all the activity you do together as a family in your FamilyPRINT, including family benchmarks like total push-ups or a timed relay around the block. Now that can add cost-free excitement to family night!

As a solution to NO TIME or ‘no time,’ chunk 10-minute activity increments and use Iron Footprint (and KidPRINT and FamilyPRINT) to foster resilient motivation (yours and that of your family). Just don’t forget to wave at the neighbors watching you cruise on the sidewalk with your toddler sitting in the stroller, hair streaming backward cheering mama to set a new ‘1-block’ time trial record, or be surprised if they join you for tomorrow’s trial…

Back-to-School Reset Part 3: Un-STROLLERSTOCK your Gym Bag to Make it Easier to get to the Gym

Hello! – the final installment of the three-part back-to-school series of tips to help you manage the ‘new’ of the school year without disruption to your exercise routine.  please email us at [email protected] for reprints of parts 1 or 2.  Thanks and happy reading… 

Yep, that new backpack smell is in the air, which means the rest of the school year ‘new’ is but one crayons and scissors store run away – new routines, new schedules, new commitments, new kinds of busy – all potentially drawing you away from physical activity.  Fear not!  Use the following to help manage the new so you don’t miss even one power walk or bicep curl.  This is the third of a three part series.  The first was ‘Take a meeting’ to protect the time you set aside for exercise, the second was ‘Think instant activity anywhere anyhow to ensure daily exercise’, and this installment is:

-Un-strollerstock your gym bag to make it easier to get to the gym


Strollerstocking: outfitting a stroller for every imaginable situation.  

Considering the realities of time, logistics, and how best to ensure quality strollering, I WELL understand the importance of a strollerstocking.  Since other commitments usually pinch both ends of an outing, you don’t want to interrupt your quality time to go to the store to replace spilled juice, assuming there IS an accessible store, but to preserve said quality time the situation can’t be ignored.  The backup juice you strollerstocked is a win/win/win – good for you, your child and anyone within earshot of the outing.  

However, a dangerous side effect of strollerstocking is gymbagstocking – outfitting a gym bag as aggressively as a stroller.  As much as Strollerstocking supports outings, gymbagstocking can deter exercise because it’s yet another thing to organize before actually going to…exercise.  And , what exactly is in the giant roller bag you roll to the gym, then ‘park’ upright at each machine you use?!  Call me crazy but do you really need extra socks?  Multiple towels?  Multiple magazines?  Not to imply you don’t work hard, rather, to empathize it’s exhausting to gymbagstock, what with the managing, sorting and cleaning.  Too easily, the process becomes the last straw that persuades you to the couch instead of the treadmill.     

Strollerstocking’s self-reliance speaks for itself, and for the sake of world peace I always hope the Ziplocks of food I see dropped on the sidewalk were the extras, but be a gym bag minimalist.  Water and music, done, leave all the rest at home.  If you need a quick snack, grab the extra Cheerios out of the stroller…