New Lily

How Long Does it Take to Get Out of Shape?

runners-high-1024x682If you are like me, it feels like it takes much longer to get in shape than it does to get out of it.  How accurate is this feeling?  Are we imagining it, or is it true that what we have worked so hard to build can be quickly lost? How long does it take to get out of shape?

The answer is actually not as straight forward as we might like it to be.  It depends on a few factors.  How long we have been working out, what kind of exercise we do, and even how old we are all are important factors regarding how quickly we lose our “fitness” level. [Read more…]

Lifting Heavier Weights With Fewer Reps Might Bring Best Results

weight trainingimages (3)There are lots of myths in the world of fitness.  Sorting through the facts and the fiction is often a challenge.  My good friend and owner of Architech Sports, Alan Tyson (PT, ATC) wrote an article recently, exposing some of the myths behind the notion that “lifting heavy makes you big and bulky”.

Basically, what Alan revealed is that it is often what we eat that creates the bulk, not the weights we are lifting.  He explained that the idea that “toned” physiques come from lifting lighter weights more times, just isn’t supported by science. “Producing bulky muscles requires not just heavy weights, but heavy calorie consumption, typically above the daily calories recommended for most adults. [Read more…]

A Go-To Workout When You Are Lost at the Gym

We've all been a gym, surrounded by exercise, and no motivation...

We’ve all been there…at a gym, surrounded by exercise, and no motivation…

My gym is the local Y (YMCA), which here in Charlotte, North Carolina, is extensive and offers incredible amenities. Although I don’t get to the Y much anymore, last week I found myself there while #6 (Grace) was at rowing practice (her team practices at the Y when they can’t get on the lake).

Surrounded by rooms of equipment, machines, free weights, and even climbing walls, I was at a loss of what to do.  Has that ever happened to you?  I was standing there with more exercise opportunities than I could ask for, any workout at my fingertips, and nothing enticed me.

Lacking in motivation to create my own workout and typically ill-timed for a group exercise class, I walked the gym.  I guess I figured some exercise machine would reach out and grab me.  None did and so I spent at least 10 minutes wandering around, looking pretty pathetic actually.

After passing an exercise bike, a rowing machine, and a treadmill at least five times, it dawned on me that I now only had 45 minutes left before Grace would be done with her practice.  Finally I decided to get on all three for 15 minutes each. At least I wouldn’t be bored. [Read more…]

If You Want Lean Muscle Mass, It’s More About What you Eat and Less About What You Do

Most athletes want to be lean regardless of the sport in which they participate.  In fact, most of us, whether we are super athletic or weekend warriors, want lean muscle mass. So what is the most effective way to become leaner?  The secret is nutrition.  In other words, it’s what we eat…not what we do.  I have written many times about the Rule of 70. I believe weight loss/weight maintenance is 30% what we do (exercise), and 70% what we eat.  I think Alan Tyson would agree as he recently wrote about what we can do to create lean bodies with less training, and why it is a good thing. The following are the foods Tyson recommends for creating and maintaining lean muscle mass while also maintaining fitness.  By eating a combination of the following foods, not only will you likely see increased muscle mass and a leaner body, your workouts will take on a whole new level. [Read more…]

Are You Sore? Don’t You Grab that Ibuprofen! Some Natural Remedies You Need to Try

muscle sorenssWhether your type of fitness is of the weekend warrior type or the daily workout, you probably have suffered from soreness.  It is pretty much par for the course.  I actually like a little soreness the day after a hard workout…it reminds me that I have put in the effort. Below is an article by Alan Tyson, Physical Therapist, and owner of Architech Sports in Charlotte, NC, who has been working with athletes for his entire career. As I read it, I immediately noted that he does NOT recommend ibuprofen (admittedly a go-to remedy for me).  You might be as surprised as I was to see some of his natural sources for treating muscle soreness…. [Read more…]

Nine Reasons I’m Happy I Drink Coffee (And Why it’s Great Pre-Workout)

coffee 1imagesMost people who know me know I like coffee (ok I’ll admit it…I love it). I can usually be seen with a cup of coffee in my hand most of the morning in fact.  I like it hot so I usually have to either microwave it or pour it back into the pot and refill my cup to keep it piping.  I’m always happy to find reasons to keep drinking my Joe and so when I recently read an article touting the benefits of coffee, I was confidently re-affirmed that my coffee-drinking habit is justified (I admit I conveniently avoid reading articles suggesting otherwise).

The following are nine reasons I am a happy coffee drinker: [Read more…]

Let’s Talk About the Butt

"Seat work" at a barre class...don't let the fact that it looks easy fool you...

“Seat work” at a barre class…don’t let the fact that it looks easy fool you…

Now that I have your attention, I’ll use the term glutes (I don’t even let my kids say butt).  Glutes (of which the gluteus maximus is the largest) are a key component of the core.  Yes, they are associated with the core. Let’s just say they support the core.

According to Joe Tedesco at Architech Sports, “Glutes … are part of the core. Typically, we tend not to think of them that way because they appear to be relatively far away from the stomach. It helps to think of the core as a base of stability, rather than to associate it only with the stomach area.  The core begins at the top of the ribs and includes the whole area to about mid thigh.  Therefore, whatever helps to create stability in those areas can be thought of as part of the core.” [Read more…]

Is There a Healthy Way to Lose a Few Pounds In Time for Spring/Summer?

beachesphoto_lg_antiguaandbarbudaThe answer to the question is YES. From what I have learned over a number of years, however,  a slow weight loss is typically the most effective.  Losing weight in the short term can be helpful, though, as a jump start.  If, say, you are heading to the beach for spring break, and you want to lose a few pounds, you can do so in a healthy manner.  You can even keep it off if you play your cards right.  My suggestion is always to take the long term approach, but if you have an event like a wedding or spring break, using that as a goal to help you start the process is fine.

The following are three ways to lose a few pounds in a few weeks:

water glassimages1. Drink more water.  Wake up and drink a glass of water.  Drink a glass of water a few hours later.  Before lunch, drink a glass of water. Drink a water bottle all afternoon.  Drink a glass of water before (or with) dinner.  Drink some herbal tea with lemon an hour before you head to bed. Why is water helpful to losing weight? [Read more…]

Tabata Method is a Great Way to Workout

tabatascreen568x568I feel a little late in coming to the dance.  Folks have been talking about high intensity interval workouts for a long time.  Yet, it’s only been recently that I have used the Tabata method.  And I love it.  For those who might also be a little late to the dance, the Tabata method was named for Dr. Izumu Tabata, a Japanese doctor and coach who discovered that short, high intensity exercise followed by shorter rest intervals showed the best performance in studies he conducted (the idea was originally pioneered by the head coach for the Japanese Olympic speed skating team, Irisawa Koichi and Tabata piggybacked on his research and knowledge).

The Tabata method paper was published in 1996 in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” entitled, “Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2max.”  These doctors discovered that interval training produces much better results than aerobic training. This included building as much muscular endurance as 45 minutes of normal cardio training. [Read more…]

Exercise Should Relieve Stress, Not Create It

Whitney-on-ball-resizedI was talking to a friend the other day.  He had read one of my blog posts and was asking if I was training for a triathalon.  This launched us into a discussion about biking. I explained why I don’t like it.  It takes a lot of time.  The equipment is expensive.  After two crashes, it scares me.  “Basically,” I said, “I want my workouts to relieve stress…not create it.”

That short conversation got me thinking.  What does exercise do for me?  It’s a whole lot more than physical.  Yes, it keeps me fit, but after all my years of pounding the pavement, cranking out pushups, or tweeking my perfect strength routine, I have come to believe that the most substantial benefit of fitness is what it does for my peace of mind. [Read more…]