Tag Archives | fitness

LOVE vs. LOATHE

By Susan Howard

As I walk/run around a picturesque Los Angeles reservoir, there is a flock of ducks having an argument.  Maybe it’s not a full quarrel, but a deep discussion in quack language.  It’s a tough one to call.  I stand still for a moment to try and figure out if it’s an angry quack or simply a town hall meeting.  The conversation continues heads bobbing up and down as the early morning starts to wake.  I watch and laugh.  

One duck is defiantly in charge, barking at the other ducks to get it together.  They waddle around in zig zag circles and then as a group magically decide to fly off together in a “V” formation.  If I had pushed the snooze on my alarm this morning, I would have missed the fowl convention and the beautiful soaring as they sailed away.  

Clients come to me looking for a change and often times the story begins with self hatred.  ..read more

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Heroin

By Susan Howard

Heroin is sexy.  Being a user is cool.  Movies featuring beautiful actors running in the rain are made about drug and alcohol addicts.  They are thin, strung out and amazing brilliant artists if they could just get over their one problem.

This, by contrast, is not the same for fat people with food and sugar addictions.  “I ate an entire bag of Oreos in one sitting, I finished a jar of peanut butter watching Game of Thrones, or I can never eat just one cheese burger.”  These statements are not hot or okay.

I drank too much last night might bring a responds of, “Oh wow you must be so hungover.”

Unlike I ate an entire pizza and three pieces of cheesecake might bring the responds of, “What’s wrong with you?” with a side snicker of, “That’s why he’s so fat, he can’t control himself.”

Who can control themselves?  No one.  It’s tough for us all.  We may be triggered by a ..read more

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Nobody Walks In Los Angeles

By Susan Howard

Every time we head to New York or San Francisco my wife and I walk our asses off.  Grabbing coffees in the AM we head straight for the streets and walk until dinner.  We shop, buy new jeans, coats and running shoes.  We peak in little art galleries and grab a specialty scone along the way.  In the afternoon we likely  do cocktails and a cheese plate or something small.  By dinner we are starving and carrying multiple shopping bags.

The next day we repeat the whole thing again.  We share a vigor for checking out a city and seeing it beyond the touristy spots and the best way to do that we have found is by foot.

This is not true for Los Angeles as it is too vast a place to walk.  You simply must drive.  We drive so much in LA my clients complain about tight hip flexors and right achilles tendons from sitting ..read more

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Self Harm V. Self Love

By Susan Howard

The battle begins.  Who will reign triumphant, love or hate?  I have worked with a few clients who in their sordid past were self harmers—some with food, drugs or razor blades.  No matter the vice, they are all the same really.  Circumventing life frustrations, taking the stress out in a way that cripples them.  Instead of dealing with issues straight on, they hide their feelings and act out.

Why is it so hard to avoid self loathing?  I can take the thinnest most in shape person and they struggle as much as the over weight one.  Maybe that is a reason for the popularity of Instagram in that people are desperately trying to convince other people they are beautiful as they struggle with their own inner pain.

Who cares what you look like, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, as the old saying goes.  People do care what you look like, and you care what you ..read more

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My Dog Died

By Susan Howard

My dog actually did die two weeks ago, he was a great dog.  Bailey, he was like my first son.  He did funny tricks, flipped over couches and snored as he dreamed.  I will miss him forever and always.  The fact is I could not stop my 12-year-old blind dog from dying.  It’s one of the things that happens in life, and so it goes. 

If, however, I put on five pounds and I want to take them off there is a way to do so.  The five extra pounds is not an impossible puzzle.  There is something I can do about it.

Yes I have got to clean up my diet, exercise more, and be discipline in all the choices I make, but there is an answer to my problem.

Know this; if you think you can’t, you won’t.

Don’t make things bigger than they are.  You are not boxed into a corner in the ..read more

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Working out can produce results a lot more quickly than you think. Here's how.

Get a Massage

By Susan Howard

I recently started with a new client that had been fairly sedentary, with the exception of a few random hikes.  We were a mere 5 sessions in when she went to the massage therapist that she had been seeing for years.

“You exercise now?” asked the large Russian women.

“Yes…how did you know?” my client replied.

“From no exercise to exercise the body, totally different.”

Personally, I was surprised that such a change could occur after a super short time, but there it was.  An expert on bodies and musculature, unprompted, could tell the difference.

So hell, it’s not that hard to redefine your self (pun intended) and it happens fast.  When we are on the journey, it’s impossible to tell where we land because we see ourselves everyday.

“Yep, still me.”

Like when Auntie Steph comes to visit my little kids and is shocked they look so much bigger than they were last time, but they look the same to me.

That’s where the leap ..read more

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Work out with total abandonment -- be strange.

Reservoir

By Susan Howard

I was walking with a client around the reservoir, an Eastside dirt track meant to get her heart rate up. As we walked, we checked out the ducks and people watched.  With our dogs in tow, we walked and chatted.  No, we weren’t the fastest ones around the loop; we were there just to enjoy the morning and burn a few calories.

There were some hard core folks practicing their interval routines, and some serious competitors clocking their fastest miles, which is all good and normal…until…

We saw a women run/sashay/bootie boogie/ around the trail, complete with large arm gestures and random hip twitches.

“Maybe she is a dancer?” My client wondered if she was practicing a routine.  She could have been.  What it reminded me of was the pure joy of movement, the celebration of one’s body for it’s own sake.

This purity of fun, a spunk and strangeness, was not lost on me.

So for you out there that was cruising ..read more

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Foam rollers allow you to massage your muscles, tendons, and ligaments which creates a better overall healthy body.

Rollin’ Rollin’

By Susan Howard

What is that tubular blue foam thing hanging out in the corner of most gyms?  If you don’t know and haven’t used one, wait no longer — it’s a foam roller.  Hop aboard the train and let’s get rolling.

Myofascial release, is a fancy way of saying that everything on your body that is not bone needs to be worked through and massaged.  All the muscles, including the connective tissues tendons and ligaments are targeted when working with foam rollers.

This deep tissue work not only helps you to recover quicker, but has proven to increase performance.  So get in on this and be a part of the revolution!!!

After your next workout or before, if you are sore from the last one, take five minutes to foam roll.  There are multiple videos showing you a ton of ways to do so.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Lay sunny side up with your body perpendicular to the roller with it ..read more

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Stretching, warming up, and cooling down are essential to getting a good and safe workout as an adult.

Warm Up, Stupid

By Susan Howard

When I was in my twenties, I remember age-old advice given to me: before working out, always warm up for at least 5 minutes and always cool down and stretch for 5 minutes after working out.  This and “wash behind your ears” were solid truths I chose to ignore.

What a waste of time, I thought. Why not just workout hard, jump on the treadmill, run 3 miles and be done with it?  I don’t have all this time to be bringing my body temperature up and slowly building to a run. Yawn.

That was then.  If you are 20 and reading this, you are probably okay.

But, when you get into your 30’s and 40’s a warm up is really essential, especially if you have been working out consistently.  As an adult, your connective tissues get tight from over use and repetitive contraction.

You must warm up, or you are likely to suffer a pull, strain or even a tear.

On this ..read more

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Susan Howard encourages people to just unroll their mat, start stretch, get to moving -- a good workout will follow.

Ask Not What Your Workout Can Do For You

By Susan Howard

“I am out of the habit,” one of my client laments.

“I know every workout right now is going to be painful, even yoga.”

If you are feeling unmotivated or even scared to get started up again, fear no more. Here is your plan: force yourself to go to a class or to the gym and decide that you can chill on a mat do some stretches and just relax. With low expectations, you can match your low motivation and at least start.

The gap between doing and not doing is like the Grand Canyon, unsurpassable. Once you unroll that mat, inevitably, you will get a decent workout.

Never ask if you feel like it. Nobody cares how you feel, your body needs to move, period.

Stay Ready.

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