MORE REASON TO LOVE SUBWAY’S SWEET ONION CHICKEN TERIYAKI SANDWICH

Subway restaurants, owned by Doctors Associate’s, Inc. doesn’t need my endorsement but they deserve a loud shout-out for continuing to improve their menu’s healthfulness, and, oh yeah, recently committing $41 million in advertising to encourage kids to eat fruits and vegetables.

First, advertising works! Duh. But toward unhealthy as well as healthy choices. Campaigning for high fat/sodium/sugar items doesn’t require much effort. Encouraging kids to eat healthy can mean an all-hands-on-deck approach to the creative—especially since it needs to outperform the campaigns encouraging less healthy choices. Thanks, Subway, for taking on this challenge.

Second, as the largest submarine sandwich restaurant chain with over 40,000 locations worldwide chances are there is a Subway restaurant near or relatively close to you. This means the advertising (that works) can steer healthful choices that are readily available.

Shout-out to Subway and thanks for continuing to fight the good fight!

SEASONED FOOTPRINTS

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives”

Any Days’ fans? I was hooked one summer when Jessie and (?) were getting ready to marry. When I briefly picked it up again later, I remember being amazed that even though the story line had densely webbed, the characters hadn’t aged. In two years of real-time the characters aged about one week — not much sand passed through their proverbial hourglass…

Nice, right! But, we all know better, ageing is inevitable and along with it the creeks and cracks as our body adapts. What does this mean to our Iron Footprint? Two points – one, while we cant deny time’s march we can influence HOW we age and the degree to which it impacts our movement capacity; and two, while the Iron Footprint achievement dimensions are stable across the lifespan, the FitBEST contour will change over time—and that’s ok.

(To note, ageing is complex, and variable factors can influence lifespan wellness.)

That we age, out of our hands; HOW we age, influenced by lifestyle choices, namely our exercise habit. Movement begets movement. The movement capacity we retain is influenced by the movement we sustain. True – we lose what we don’t use, but also true – what we use we lose less quickly; and as well as physical vigor, exercise also promotes optimal cognitive and emotional wellness. Sustained regular physical activity can uniquely and profoundly enhance lifespan life quality, including the likelihood of remaining independent as we age.

Ageless ‘feeling good’ is more likely the more sustained our exercise habit, but matching the sub-20 minute 5K run we did as a twenty-something is less likely with passing time. While the Iron Footprint achievement dimensions are lifespan-fixed, our FitBEST contour IS going to change over time. Our performance capacity diminishes as our hairline recedes, and there comes that point when we can’t quite run 440 intervals, or snap the throw from third to first, or bench four plates like we used to…so be it, and a big so what! Not to disqualify what can be disconcerting, but the change is (rarely) not overnight, and different just means different, not bad.

First, the official FitBEST rules state that you can add new events to trial whenever you want, in fact, the more you trial the better. Remember, it’s not the mark that is important rather THAT you mark; so if decreased mobility necessitates, create events that align to your reality. No big whoop if it becomes time to move away from unassisted pull-ups to assisted pull-ups due to funky elbows, or using the arm-bike instead of the treadmill, or any other adaptation or modification.

Second, if you want to take competition one step further (or continue) ‘Senior’ organized sports are booming, no pun intended, with baby-boomers trending significantly more active than previous generations. For example, The National Senior Games Association offers competition in 19 different sports that culminates with an annual national championships festival. Then there is Senior Softball, among the most competitive of any sport league of any age group, complete with notorious cheating scandals. Tell me someone who goes so far as to shave a bat to hit 20 feet farther doesn’t still have fire in their belly! It goes to show the fire doesn’t go away even if the woodpile gets stacked differently than before.

Don’t dwell on what you can’t do anymore, sustain regular activity to retain all that you CAN do, and realize that a changing FitBEST shape is just that – a changing shape.

The Morning Glories in my flower boxes are going strong in their second year but the new generation sprouts are growing at very strange angles compared to the originals. I think they look great and will ride their wave as long as possible. Embrace your new quirks, creaks/cracks, wrinkles/ lines, hair everywhere but your head, and think of the evolving contours of your FitBESTS as new sprouts.

NEW IN WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY: ‘MOMMIE-CISED EXERCISE’

“Exercise that happens in the least obvious place at the least obvious time.”

Don’t you know it, moms!

Walking loops in the grocery store parking lot…along the field while your darling practices soccer…through the hallway while another practices swimming…up and down the bleachers while yet another practices basketball…wading through playground wood-chips as your little one swings and climbs on the unrecognizable animal structure…

630pm one day, 530am another day, or 330pm on weekends during halftime of the soccer game… And, on a conference call or answering voicemail at the same time—just typical plate spinning done by the real pros.

Exercise doesn’t care where it happens or how. Just that it does. The mommie-cised kind is as good as any pilates or boot camp class or stairmaster time. After all, there is no rule that exercise counts only if it occurs at something called a gym.

Take the ‘I have to go somewhere to do exercise’ out of the equation and just do it the mommie-cised way – at the least obvious place at the least obvious time.

A QUICK REVIEW

Physical activity terms are sometimes erroneously interchanged, especially now with obesity/overweight’s global struggle streaming volumes of articles. Kind of like the telephone game where the finishing word/phrase is nothing like how it began, modifications can significantly alter meaning. This is all innocent fun until the alterations roadblock motivation to engage. Understanding basic terminology needs to be spot on considering physical activity’s importance to wellness, so here goes, an easy-peasy review.

Physical activity is body movement behavior that can be described for its frequency (how often?), intensity (degree of exertion – energy expenditure), time (how long?), and type (what was the form? e.g., formal exercise, dance, football, pilates, canoeing).

Physical activity is health protective and contributes to life quality especially when it includes regular, moderate-vigorous engagement in activities specific to Health-Related Fitness – cardiovascular strength, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Health-related engagement strengthens our bodily systems, prevents certain diseases, and optimizes physical, emotional and cognitive functioning. While any physical activity is better than no physical activity, more activity yields greater health-related benefit.

Physical activity also results in Physical Fitness, performance measures in aspects like speed, power, strength, and endurance (e.g., how fast you can run, how far you can throw, how much you can lift). While training can improve performance, genetics ultimately predisposes the outer edges. If you are like me, this means hard as I try I will forever need to use blocks during yoga. Thanks mom and dad for NO flexibility capacity.

Important to understand is physical fitness prowess may or may not align to health-related fitness. By itself, the ability to skillfully throw a Frisbee isnt health protective, but in the context of playing cardiovascular-intense Ultimate Frisbee it sure can be. Similarly, you may win races being a fast runner but unless you also regularly strength train, stretch and sustain healthy body composition your blazing speed alone will not bring about optimum health protection.

More important, high capacity physical fitness is not required to attain health-related fitness. Said differently, physical fitness limitation does not limit health-related fitness capacity. Anyone can, and will (precluding circumstances), yield health protection from physical activity engagement regardless of their performance edges. (Perceiving) Deficiencies in strength, speed or motor skill proficiency doesn’t diminish your health-related benefit—which leads to the grand finale.

As a fact we all have to face, perhaps more significant to those who enjoy the physical fitness side of engagement, there simply IS that ceiling of how far we can jump or how fast we can run. However, Health-Related Fitness has no such boundary. Net/net, EACH engagement can yield activity’s unique and profound health protection.

No matter how it might seem, health-related fitness AND physical fitness happens in the back of the class same as the front.

LDL CHOLESTEROL: THINK BEACH BALLS

LDL CHOLESTEROL: THINK BEACH BALLS

Fresh out of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease lab is new insight suggesting exercise mechanizes cardiovascular health by altering LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) particle shape, thus lowering cardiovascular disease risk.

Here’s how. Smaller, denser LDL particles (of fat) are more dangerous than their larger, puffier counterparts for rudely wedging themselves into arterial crevices and attaching to arterial walls. Larger, puffier ones tend to lazily meander and bounce off the same walls. Exercise appears to reshape small LDL, but it needs to be regular to catalyze the mechanism.

The next time you are on the treadmill, smile knowing how all the fun your LDL beach balls are having is making your other LDL want to join the party.

MOTIVATION ON YOUR TERMS

Does it ever feel like someone is punking your exercise motivation?

Some days nothing stops us, other days it’s anything – to the point we look around for the cameras capturing our frustration for posting. Sure, things come up that waylay even the most intended plans to get to the gym or out for a run. But, unexpected is different from unpredictable. Unexpected can be accepted be it a sick child, or last minute request from work. Accepted doesn’t mean thrilled, especially for anything work related, but we do what we have to do.

Unpredictable is frustrating and annoying, mostly because it makes us feel powerless and resentful. A report that is due, we get. We don’t get how or why some cyber alien creep takes control of our motivation, some days turning it on other days turning it off.

The good news is you can use Iron Footprint Fitness to push back and control your motivation on your terms.

The strongest source of engagement motivation is past success – we like to keep doing that in which we have realized success. Unfortunately, we tend to learn only a very narrow (unrealistic) way to define physical activity/exercise success (radical body transformation), and when we (not surprisingly) don’t realize the outcome (unrealistic as it is) feel as though we have failed. It’s here the evil force of unpredictability takes over our motivation and we become mere spectators to its whims.

Ah, enough already. Iron Footprint Fitness reveals the multitude of ways you CAN achieve and how to display the ways you DO achieve as your ‘Iron Footprint’, your ever-growing portfolio of physical activity success. By approaching fitness as Iron Footprint, you can plan achievement-purposeful engagement, display it as it occurs, and then reap what you sow by realizing predictable motivation to keep engaging.

If I were a bigger person I would leave it at that, but unpredictability can be so nasty it deserves to be punked back. Adopt Janet Jackson’s ‘Control’ as your theme song, and have your group fitness or spin class instructor mix it into the playlist as the same. I guess that’s more a ‘na-na-na-na-na-na’ than a punk but you get the point.

BE DIFFERENT

The only thing that should be routine about your routine is exercising every day. Chew on that for a moment… Past that, how you go about conditioning your muscles (heart included) and joints, and developing your physical activity self (deepening your Iron Footprint) is your story to write. Just make sure ‘different’ is a main theme.

Most of us don’t eat or wear the same thing every day (past circumstances); the same goes for activity for many of the same reasons – variety, self-expression, mood, balance, weather, occasion, etc.

For exercise, different is as different does, literally. The good news is the health-related fitness components are not picky about details so long as they get theirs, that is, engage in the activity they need to strengthen.

With endless ways to move to exert your heart or overload your muscles, different is easy to accomplish but it needs to be planned to avoid the tendency to groove a routine that digs a rut. Here are suggestions on how to be different.

Weight training – include different:
• Angles – incline, decline, neutral
• Types of weight/resistance – free weights, weight machines, kettle bells, stretch bands, body weight
• Types of lifts – Olympic lifts – learn the correct techniques from a qualified fitness professional

Cardio – include different:
• Machines – treadmill, elliptical, rowing, cycle, stepmill
• Locomotions – running, walking, swimming, rowing, hopping, jumping, skipping, galloping, dancing
• Locations – gym, home, organized races/events, environment – ocean, mountain, field, court, pitch, rink,

Joint range of motion – include:
• Static and dynamic stretching
• Pilates
• Yoga

Be different today. Be more different tomorrow. Just smile when your friends finally notice how different you really are…

STAPLES AND SIDE DISHES

Probably because some of us are still winding down from the eating season, a food analogy about activity comes to mind. It’s only natural that activity routines are anchored by what we deem our staples. Considering personal preference, or knees that can do some things but not others, we all have our go-to’s, the exercises that we do day in and day out. Besides, isn’t that what ‘routine’ means?

Yes, and no. It’s ok to rely on your staples as long as you don’t forget to add the side dishes!
This is a reminder that formal exercise is but ONE form of physical activity; and albeit the most popular, other forms can deliver its unique and profound health protection and wellness, and SHOULD be included for the sake of variety and of course the growth of your Iron Footprint.

Sure, the 8-color box of crayons colors a nice picture, and Black and White TV projects an image, and Pong is fun to play, but the depth of the experience and the sensory connection pales compared to the 64-color box of crayons, plasma TV, or Madden Football/FIFA Soccer.

Your activity staple is the former. It’s white bread, rice and potatoes. The real magic occurs when you branch out and grow your activity portfolio. Then its multi-grain crusty bread, wild rice with saffron, and twice-baked scalloped potatoes.

Aloha means hello and goodbye. Exercise means step class, and pilates, and kettle bell training, and basketball, and Crossfiit, and Zumba, and football, and swimming, and…

Happy New Year, and here’s to new recipes for side dishes…

YOU CAN BE PATIENT

Talking about our techno-driven, ability to instantly fast-forward entertainment is cliché, but especially this time of year it needs some attention.

With access to a clickable button, we control much of entertainment’s fabric of life. Among a gazillion other can-do’s, we can instantly pace or change what we watch, play and listen to. This means no pesky commercials to interrupt our viewing pleasure, no waiting for one song to finish to get to the one we really like, no playing a part of a video game we don’t like. Nope. We don’t have to wait anymore for what we want. Controlled only by our whim we fast-forward to the good stuff without second thought. Of course I’m going right to the spot I want and of course I’m going there now. We don’t do waiting, so when we have to wait we don’t like it much, and we’re not very good at it…

Enter physical activity/exercise. Sustaining wellness, especially fitness, is the epitome of permanent old-school. Older than 8-track players, mimeograph machines and rotary phones, no App is ever going to change the rules. To benefit from physical activity we need to be physically active. Often. And, of a duration long enough to kick in a training effect and with exertion vigorous enough to overload our normal workload. Yep, we need to breathe hard, sweat, and might be sore the next day, but the ultimate result of (temporary) discomfort is wellness, for which there isn’t a price.

But here is the kicker, since all the more we have the capacity to control so much of our life, all the more we are going to think something is wrong if our fitness results aren’t instant (as misleading as this is to begin with).

First, we need to be realistic about outcomes. The promised ‘fast and easy radical body transformation’ is sorely misleading and unrealistic. Yes, exercise certainly can change your contours but your legs are going to remain your legs.

Second, we need to be patient. This means being able to delay gratification, an unfamiliar phrase in contemporary vernacular. Contour changes can occur, but it takes time.

Yet, and third, we need to remember that EACH time we engage in physical activity we are improving our quality of life by optimizing our physical, cognitive and emotional capacity. Physical activity uniquely and profoundly sustains our wellness!

Fourth, we need to redefine our conception of exercise achievement by realizing there is much more to it than the radical body transformation (that is unrealistic to begin with). Exercise success is completing your daily workout, setting a personal record in a physical activity event, and doing activity new to you or in addition to your daily workout.

While there’s not an App to do the work for you there is support to help you build resilient motivation to stick to and grow your routine. As ‘motivation through achievement’, Iron Footprint Fitness reveals all the ways you can achieve and how to display all the ways you do achieve.

The wellness and life quality that ONLY exercise can bring on is never a cliché. You can stick with a routine!!

RE-PATTERN YOUR EXERCISE RESOLUTION TO START/KEEP GOING, NOT START/STOP

It’s a well worn pattern. Gyms across the globe have spruced up to welcome the resolutioners who came calling after the first of the new year. Membership sales desks buzz, literally, from the credit card transaction machine energy, matched by the excitement of the new members bustling to use the equipment and try the classes.

But the buzzing is short lived. Sometime early February it crashes. Like the triple chocolate cake a la mode that sends you into high gear one minute, then renders you comatose the next, new members are full-on for about 5 weeks then vanish…the only trace being the monthly credit card ding…that will get renewed for next year’s resolution!

Why the pattern? And, what is the significance of the crash occurring in early February?

The excitement of the new feeds motivation because it’s also backed up by the (erroneous) guarantee of ‘easy and fast radical body transformation.’ Radical body transformation is erroneous, as is the notion that change is easy and will occur quickly. Motivation begins to erode when the reflection in the mirror remains the same after a couple of weeks.

Industry data confirms the early February drop-dead date. It’s the day after the New Year that gym attendance volume takes a significant dip, signaling the crash to the buzz.

Why early February? If you think about it, it’s easy to figure out. The erroneous notion of ‘easy and fast radical body transformation’ tends to be accompanied by equally erroneous gym advertising claims such as ‘6-weeks to a new body’. Six weeks past the New Year is mid-February.

Net/net, exercise resolutioners anticipate their full-on transformation to occur as promised. When mid-February rolls around and the result is less than full-on the already eroded motivation to keep going hits its breaking point. One missed day becomes two becomes a strong of several until resigning to the re-start that will occur next New Year.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be like this, and with an adjustment to your approach you will never have to think about a re-start because your routine will be grooved and sustained.

The keep going part? Past success is the strongest source of engagement motivation. Success begets success as we are motivated to keep doing that which we have realized success.

But if we base success upon unrealistic expectations for body transformation our motivation will starve. Sadder yet, ‘we miss the gains we make when we look for the gains we are never going to find.’

The solution is an approach to physical activity that reveals all the ways you CAN achieve and how to display all the ways your DO achieve. Iron Footprint Fitness delivers an innovative solution to low/inconsistent motivation by transforming the notion of achievement and showing you how to identify all the gains you make. As your ‘Iron Footprint’ grows, so does your motivation to keep going.

No more start/stop/re-start. No more being disappointed by the results you don’t realize even if they are unrealistic to begin with. It’s start/keep going, with momentum like running down a hill. Spread the word. Gyms are going to be busy…past February…