Monday, March 23, 2009


"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness"
-Edward Stanley

Based on some of the feedback and questions I've received from readers this week's topic is CARDIO!


*Burn more calories.  If you remember last week's newsletter burning off more calories than you take in is a major key to weight loss.

*Make your heart stronger so it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood.  Those of you reading this message in your early 20s to late 50s may not recognize now how important this is NOW because your heart may be functioning just fine.  In January my grandpa passed in large part due to a weak heart and I'll never forget my uncle (who is a cardiologist) saying that the exercise you put in through your 30s, 40s and 50s will strongly impact your cardiovascular health into your 60s, 70s, 80s ( and 90s if you're really lucky :)! )

*Increase lung capacity.  This is especially beneficial for smokers looking to quit or people who have already quit. I have a client who has been trying to quit and once she started walking on the treadmill and going to spin class it finalized her decision and sharpened her focus because she doesn't want to jeopardize the great results she's been getting.

*Reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack and diabetes.

*Boost immune system function and increase blood flow to the brain which increases alertness.

*Mental and emotional benefits.  Sleep better, reduce stress/anxiety and feel better when you're finished!  Studies show that people who exercise regularly are less likely to eat poorly and abuse drugs or alcohol.  Exercise alone cannot cure mental and emotional health issues but it does have a positive impact.


*Find something you like. Understand there is no "right" or "best" when it comes to cardio.  While some forms of cardio burn more calories than others-the most important advice I can give you is to pick something you enjoy doing.  There is no point in forcing yourself to do something you dislike because you will lose motivation very quickly.

1.  Walking/running (indoors, outdoors, alone, with a buddy or  with a group)

**Lots of times finding a friend to do it with you will keep you motivated, accountable and increase your likelihood to keep it up 

** check out for races, results and running groups in your area OR to find a walking group near you

2.  If you belong to a gym or health club there are lots of options for cardio.
Try out all the machines (bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, climbers, stairs, steppers...etc), see what you like and do that!  

Check out what kind of group exercise classes are available at your gym-this helps to break the monotony of your own routine...remember VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE :)  Many clubs offer cycling, kickboxing, cardio dance, Zumba and other such classes that you may enjoy.

"Cardio hopping"-  for those of you who get bored quickly.  Do 10 mins on three different machines, this is just as effective as 30 minutes on one machine

One last tip on this point- Have a favorite show? hop on the cardio machine during your show and tune in-the time will fly by before you know it! (this also works well if you have cardio equipment at home)

3.  Lastly today, here's a workout for those of you who are "too busy"'s ONLY 20 minutes and taken from a program called Body for Life (  This can be applied to any form of cardio.

Minute Intensity Level (how hard you feel you're working on a scale of 1-10)
0-2 5 (warm up)
*increase intensity by going faster or increasing resistance/load
2-3 6
3-4 7
4-5 8
5-6 9
6-7 6
7-8 7
8-9 8
9-10 9
10-11 6
11-12 7
12-13 8
13-14 9
14-15 6
15-16 7
16-17 8
17-18 9
18-19 10 (peak)
19-20 5 (cool down)

*NOTE:  your rate of perceived exertion or intensity level will change over time as you increase your endurance and can handle more strenuous exercise-always remember to listen to your body, if you're not working hard enough-pick up the pace or crank up the resistance.  If you're extremely short of breath, dizzy or woozy, slow down, turn down resistance and grab some water.

In Fitness and in Health,


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

5 Helpful Tips!

"Variety is the spice of life!"

This post will not focus on one topic like "motivation" or "commitment" but rather a variety of tips.  When it comes to realizing your health and fitness goals, it's very rare that changing one behavior will make all the difference.  The Law of Thermodynamics simply states, "burn of more calories than you take in."  Here are some suggestions on how to make that a reality...

1.  Drink more water!  According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine the daily recommendation for water consumption is 96 oz.  Many of us drink a few bottles of water per day and figure that's enough-start keeping track and shot for a full 96 oz.

2.  Sleep more!  More and more studies are linking sleep to weight loss and building immunity.  This month's issue of Glamour Magazine featured an article where a group of women aimed for 7.5 hours of sleep per night for 10 weeks and the results were weight loss of four to 15 lbs across the group.  Two main reasons why this works:
*People tend to not only eat more, but junkier food when tired
*How many people have said, "I'd spend more time exercising if I only had the energy"? Well, more sleep = more energy!

3.  Portion control!  Next time you go to the grocery store take a look around and notice how many foods come in "100 calorie" packs.  It's not that the foods are much healthier (in some cases they may reduce the fat or sugar) they just come in small packages!  There's no reason to pay Nabisco or those little Keebler elves any extra to do this for us when it only takes a few extra seconds to do it at home.

While it may take a little more time to actually read food labels-you'd be surprised how many extra calories we ingest because we don't both measuring the serving size.  This is especially helpful with carbohydrates like pasta, cereal and rice.  Try it out!

4.  Pack your lunch, dinner or both!  This is a calorie saver and a money saver :) You can choose healthier options if you put a meal together yourself rather than relying on stores/restaurants/food chains to provide healthy options that are often not as healthy as we presume.  (For those of you who live or work in NYC, we learned this the hard way when they started posting calories in all our favorite food chains and some of the salads/sandwiches/wraps we all enjoyed telling ourselves "weren't so bad" were listed at 700-1000 calories each, what??!!)

and finally my personal favorite...
5.  Laugh more!  For year's I've joked that I'll never be fat because I laugh too much-but there is some truth in that statement.  Laughing burns calories and engages your core muscles...So go ahead...laugh until your tummy hurts, it's good for you :)!!


"At the moment of commitment the universe conspires to assist you"
-not sure who said it originally, I heard it from Jon Vroman a long time ago

Commitment is the next logical step after motivation.  One you figure out what motivates you it's time to make a commitment.  Motivation is the fuel and commitment is what keeps your foot on the gas pedal.  Lack of the commitment is the reason most people fail-not just in health and fitness but in life.  When you're commited 100% nothing gets in your way because you have your eye on the prize.  When you're feeling lazy or your schedule gets busy, you remind yourself of your commitment and you drag yourself to the gym or make that healthy meal instead of ordering out.

A friend of mine recently shared her commitment with me:

"I'm going to Florida in a few weeks and want to look great. That means gym 6-7 days/wk.  I work an 8am-5pm job Monday through Friday.  Last week I had something to do EVERY NIGHT after work.  It was brutal-that time for the gym at night.  So what did I do?  I woke up at 4:30 every morning and got my ass to the gym before work.  It was SO HARD getting out of bed, even getting my eyes to stay open.  My MOTIVATION was picturing myself a few hours later, sitting at my desk at work, and feeling awesome.  Feeling awesome that I got my workout out of the way for the day, feeling awesome physically, energized, etc.  Feeling awesome that I actually pushed through it and felt amazing mid-morning, I wasn't dreading the workout all day that I knew I would have to do at night."

I give Kristen a lot of credit for waking up at 4:30am for five days straight, I don't even like dragging myself out of bed at 5:15am on Weds to teach one spin class!  For sure she is 100% committed.  Commitments less than 100% won't get you over the hump once adversity in the form of distractions, unhealthy temptations, reasons not to work out at night like, "but Dancing with the Stars is on" or "It's half price Martini night at Madisons!"

You may be thinking "easier said than done Liz," so this week's CALL TO ACTION will be steps to committing:
1.  For beginners start with something you are 100% positive you can do such as "workout 3 days this week" and commit to doing it for a month straight so it will become a habit.  Depending on your schedule maybe you work your way up to 4-5 days/wk by the end of the month-as long as that 3days/wk stays consistent.  This will boost your conficence and strengthen your commitment when you are able to say, "I said I was going to do it and I did it!"

For those of you who are more advanced and have been working out for a period of time, maybe you get to the gym/exercise 4-6 days/wk challenge yourself to switch up your routine and push yourself beyond what you've been doing.  But again-still apply the principle of only committing to something you're 100% positive you can do so your commitment promotes confidence-not disappointment because you challenged yourself to do something unreasonable.

2. Start telling others (like me if you'd like to comment) what your commitment is so you are now accountable to someone other than yourself.

3.  When you get out of bed in the morning and before you to go to bed at night remind yourself what motivates you and tell yourself (out loud even!) that you are committed to that goal.

If you're unsure of where you should start, let me know-I'm happy to make suggestions!

"People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing-that's why we recommend it daily" -Zig Ziglar

I'm starting this blog as a means of keeping on my toes and paying it forward.  I'll do my best to keep the posts short, powerful and most importantly USEFUL!

To get started I'd like to ask...what motivates you?!

There are 3 types of people reading this message...
1. Those who exercise in some way, shape or form 3+ times per week and consider yourself dedicated.
2. Those who dabble, sometimes you're dedicated and sometimes you're not.
3.  Those who talk about getting in shape but never actually find the time to get around to it.

Often, figuring out what motivates you, why you do what you currently do (regardless of what category you fall into) is the first step in taking it to the next level.  You may decide it's a great motivation, you may decide to find something more meaningful.

What motivates you can be broad, "to be healthy", "the Dr said I really need to start exercising" or specific, "I'm motivated to look amazing in that Victoria's Secret bikini I just ordered this summer", "I have a history of cardiac health issues in my family and use exercise as a preventive measure."

Take 10 minutes out of your busy schedule this week and decide what motivates you. Write it down and put it in a place where you can see it everyday, on the fridge, tape it to your alarm clock, a post it not in your car or near your computer...etc.  And finally, feel free to comment on what motivates you!