We all know how important it is to look after ourselves, especially if we want to age as healthily and vibrantly as we can. From nutrition to workouts to running to yoga to meditation, there are a myriad of ways to do your mind, body and soul good. As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety since my early 20’s and having mother who succumbed to Alzheimers in her mid 70’s, I am never complacent about my health and how to maintain it, always on the lookout for new ways to improve my fitness levels and keep my mood buoyant without resorting to medication (other than homeopathic). Some regimes are just that, regimented and unrealistic to stick to in the long term. I chose to go dairy, meat and sugar free and have definitely noticed positive changes since doing so and I aim for at least 5 days of workouts, including running, weight training, yoga and meditation (this is a daily and yes I do count it as a necessary part of working out). BUT, what about motivation? Sometimes it’s hard to get going, afterwards feels great, but the starting can often be the hardest bit of any workout. Someone who understands all this is Lisa Hoff, she is a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, with a successful Facebook page, Women Over 50 Fitness Group, where fabulous women of all shapes, sizes and abilities come together to discuss and empower one another and help keep each other on track, all with expert guidance from Lisa. This is why I am so pleased that she is my guest blogger and I shall hand over the reins to Lisa to let her tell you her story……………………………….

ABOUT ME and MY JOURNEY:

Growing up, I remember having sandwiches for evening snacks. When it wasn’t sandwiches, it was ice cream.  My mom was a great cook and just like most moms then, they always made sure you had enough to eat. Little did I know, it was the word ENOUGH that would become the problem.

I was 12 years old when I went on my first “diet” I was 132 lbs. when I began going to Weight Watchers. Not obese, but overweight for my age and height.  I did lose 22 lbs., but it was uncomfortable for me to go to meetings since 99.9% of the discussions pertained to adult situations like being a home-maker, a mom, or a full-time worker. So there really wasn’t a support system for me there.

It was always that 20-30 pounds that kept creeping back up that I would lose and gain back again, except when I was pregnant when I gained 60 lbs. That weight took about 3 years to lose.  Then those pesky 20-30 lbs. started coming around again. I guess you can see a pattern here.  Yo-yo dieting and lack of self-control. I’ve come to learn to not say “willpower”.

The first time I exercised, other than Jane Fonda tapes at home, was when I joined an all-women’s gym. I was uncomfortable at first but the energy kept me going back for more. But it wasn’t until I joined a co-ed gym, set aside my ignorant thoughts about getting “bulky” and began weight training that I found the answer.

I fell in love with what weight training did for my body and what it did for my mind.  Call it endorphins. But when you can tune out everything around you and think of each and every rep as a personal goal, it’s empowering. It’s therapy.

I wanted to learn the science behind it, I wanted to share it and I wanted to use it as a tool to help other women feel empowered. To feel that they too can take control. So, I did. And I became a personal trainer.

That was 20 years ago.  After a failed personal training studio and a failed marriage, I took a break from training to take care of me.  My personal training certification lapsed because I didn’t have the continuing education credits to keep it current.  

Fast forward to today; 52 years old, remarried, a mom of a middle-schooler, still working full-time and finally, FINALLY rid of those daunting 20-30 lbs.  Thanks to becoming a fitness coach 3 years ago, while on a new path in my fitness journey.  Being a fitness coach not only allowed me to help other people, it has literally transformed me. Through coaching, personal development training and removing negativity from my life, I achieved the emotional strength that I needed and wanted nothing more than to share that with others.  Remember that word WILLPOWER? It’s not something one has and one doesn’t.  It is something one creates.

That willpower fed my passion and I knew I could mold personal training and coaching together.  So, I am now re-certified as a personal trainer and currently in the process of taking my Behavioral Change Specialist Certification so that I can further help others on an individual basis with their underlying struggles toward their health and fitness goals.

 

ABOUT FITNESS :

When it comes to being healthy and fit, you must be willing to accept it as a packaged deal.  What I mean by that is, in order to achieve total fitness, your plan needs to include these 7 components for health, fitness and mental well-being.

  1. 1. Cardiovascular Conditioning
  2. 2. Strength Training/Muscle Building
  3. 3. Stretching/Flexibility
  4. 4. Core Stability/Balance
  5. 5. Nutrition and Supplementation
  6. 6. Mental Rest and Relaxation
  7. 7. Sleep

When I talk to people about what they would like to improve most when it comes to their health and fitness, the answer most often given is their abdominals.  So, for the rest of this blog, let’s focus on the abs. As much as I don’t like to disappoint, I must advise people that there is no magic move or magic drink or pill that will flatten your abs.  If you want flatter abs, stop feeding it junk. “Oh, but I don’t eat junk food”. 

The problem is, most people think junk food only means potato chips, cookies and candy. Here is the real definition of “junk food”… any food that is not the way nature delivered it.  In other words, processed food.  Just because it says whole grain, doesn’t make it any less junk food. If it comes in a box, in a bag or wrapped in plastic, READ THE INGREDIENTS. It should have no sugars, no artificial sweeteners, no additives, no preservatives, no trans-fats and nothing that is difficult to pronounce or figure out. 

There are many other suggestions to offer that tend to be based on the individual.  For instance, if someone complains they always feel bloated, I might suggest cutting out gluten or dairy. But always speak to your doctor or a registered dietician to help with possible nutrition fixes.

Aside from changes in nutrition to help get you that 6 pack, there are many core exercises that will help burn some calories and build the muscles.  Here are a few of my favorites chiseling those abs and improving core stability and balance:

FOREARM PLANK – Hold plank for a minimum of 30 seconds. More if you are able.

 

FOREARM PLANK WALK – Start out in forearm plank and alternate lifting our toes off the floor like you are walking.

 

  1. GO FROM FOREARM PLANK TO SIDE ROTATION – Start in forearm plank and rotate your body to one side keeping hip off the floor with your arm raised (fingertips to ceiling). Then back to plank and rotate to the other side using the same form.

  2. CRUNCH WITH A LEG LIFT ON BOSU BALL (With or without weight overhead) –  Lay across Bosu ball with ball in the arch of your back, with or without a weight, lift arms over head, one knee bent and one leg straight. Lift up to a crunch and lift the straight leg up toward you at the same time. Alternate sides or repeat for 10 one side at a time.

STANDING OBLIQUE TWIST WITH KNEE LIFT – Stand holding medium weight at waist level with slightly bent knees. Twist to one side while lifting the knee of the same side you are twisting toward. Alternate until you have completed 10 on each side.

And there you have it, some great guides to working that core. What I love about Lisa is how she keeps it real, there are no illusions and no pretence, no hair  and make-up done making it appear as though sweating it out is a sin and you should strive to look 100% perfect, this is about getting results and she is a fitness hero in my book!

For more info and to contact Lisa go to : linktr.ee/lisalisahoff

 

Happy Friday and keep fit and fabulous at any age.

Max.x

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