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Reignite your Fitness with Springtime Hikes

“Starting a new way is never easy so…keep starting until the start sticks.”― Tim Fargo

Most people traditionally set a few goals at the beginning of the year, but renewing motivations for those goals is a daily and weekly process. While some folks would argue that Southern California did not have a winter this year, March 20th will mark the first official day of spring. Springtime brings with it a sense of renewal — a chance to begin again.

Did you set a movement goal you misplaced in January? Are you looking for a way to lift your spirits and get fit?  We found some local hikes that will surely inspire you to get-up-and-go. Start now and be ready for the sunny days of summer!

The San Gabriel Mountains are full of hiking trails; they are your free membership to the “gym”. These trails all start within residential neighborhoods (no mountain driving!). Many of these locations are city run wilderness park areas and several of them have picnic areas, nature centers, and restrooms or porta potties. The trails accommodate all levels of ability. Here are some locations to take your fitness outside and on to the local hiking trails:
• Arcadia: Arcadia Wilderness Park; enjoy a picnic and a short hike with the whole family.
• Sierra Madre: Mount Wilson Trail or Bailey Canyon Park; both of these trails are challenging and best for intermediate to advanced hikers. Choose Mount Wilson Trail for the early morning or evening while it’s still cool and choose Bailey Canyon for late morning or afternoon.

• Monrovia: Monrovia Canyon Park; even the littlest members of your family will enjoy this hike under a canopy of trees, rewarded by a waterfall at the turnaround.
• Pasadena: Eaton Canyon; be sure to visit the nature center, and when you hike keep an eye out for many birds that call this place home. Henninger flats: Take this hike if you are looking for a steeper more challenging trail which ends at a campground complete with BBQs and restroom facilities.

A few things to keep in mind while hiking in our mountains: BE SAFE and do not hike alone. Be aware of your surroundings, wear appropriate footwear (not sandals or flip-flops) and dress for the weather. Layered clothing often works best. Spring mornings can be cool but the afternoons get pretty warm and you might need to peel off a layer to stay comfortable.
Here’s a short list of essentials to bring on your hike: plenty of water, snacks, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, bug spray, a small first aid kit.
For more information use your internet browser; call or visit the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s office in Arcadia: 701 N. Santa Anita Ave. Arcadia, CA 91006. (626) 574-1613. FAX (626) 574-5207; website: http://www.fs.usda.gov.

Embrace this season of renewal to start or restart your fitness journey in a whole new way!

“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.”  –Anne Lamott

Written by Hope Langevin and Stephanie Aikin. Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!

 

“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to New Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer

Look for our articles in the Beacon Weekly Newspapers: Arcadia Weekly, Monrovia Weekly, Sierra Madre Weekly, Temple City Tribune, Azusa Beacon, Duarte Dispatch, El Monte Examiner, Rosemead Reader, San Gabriel Sun and Pasadena Independent

 

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Movement and Nature, a Sure Way to Heal… Read Pam’s Story

“Patagonia is a glacier-scraped, barren, windy, vast empty place. Standing alone out there I felt there were only me, the earth and the sky. Life is reduced to just two things, the Earth and the one person standing on it. This planet is so much bigger than any one or all of us; it moves on no matter what happens to us in our tiny lives. Everything I had been going through shrank and shriveled up in importance. The forces that made Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia are millions of years old. The fjords that have been gouged out, the sharp, jagged mountains that have been pushed up…what is my tiny, short life compared to that?” Pam Barkas

Freezing Walk

The focus of this week’s Blog is MYMF client Pam Barkas. Pam has trained with Stephanie for over 10 years and exercises regularly on her own. She is 65 years young and a retired school teacher. Pam and her husband are Monrovia residents. Last fall they embarked upon an adventure to Patagonia which included an event listed as an “Extreme Hike.” For Pam, this would prove to be much more than just another vacation. Read on to find out why…

BACKSTORY- The Gathering Cobwebs…

Six months prior to her trip to Patagonia, Pam began caring for her ailing mother who did not have long to live; she said: “…suddenly I’m having to guide someone else through the steps toward death.” The responsibility was tremendous: hospice care arrangements, tons of paperwork and dealing with her mother’s property and belongings. She visited her mother daily to make sure that she was comfortable and cared for properly. Additionally, Pam’s birth mother who lived out of state was also gravely ill.

As a result of the continuous stress and emotions produced by this situation, Pam began to have mental lapses and forgetfulness in other areas of her life which caused some problems for her. It was as if her head was filling with cobwebs and she began to be concerned about the reliability of her own mind. On August 2, 2015, both her mother and birth mother passed away within an hour of one another. Pam attended two funerals and was now left numb and in a state of grief; she was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. As if that were not enough, on November 23, just one day prior to catching a plane to Santiago for the Patagonia trip, Pam was involved in a minor car accident which she says was her fault. Thankfully no one was hurt and Pam was able to board that plane.

Her trip did not begin well, she says: “I was so exhausted that I walked like a zombie and couldn’t carry on a conversation”. Things began to change as the trip progressed. The new sights and the rigorous attention to detail that travel requires helped Pam to regain some focus. Little did she know that the upcoming hike would require more of her concentration than she would have ever imagined.

THE INTERVIEW: In Her Words

Q: Why did you to choose this destination?

A:   A couple that we had traveled with before told us about the trip. We had always wanted to travel with them because we had had such a great time on our previous trip together. At the time we said we would go, we didn’t really know that much about the area until the tour company sent us the information after we booked it.

Pam told me that the trip turned out to be a much more physically challenging than they expected. Below are some highlights from the travel brochure:

  • Daytime temperatures range from 50-60 degrees in Patagonia
  • Rain or high winds are possible at any time
  • Bumpy, gravelly and ice roads; rugged paths over rocks, hard sand, and icy surfaces
  • Hiking through uneven terrain and high winds on 5 treks of about 2 hours each.

NOTE THE FITNESS REQUIREMENTS:

  • Must be able to walk 3 miles unassisted on rough terrain and participate in 6-8 hours of physical activities each day.
  • No medical facilities nearby.
  • Agility and good balance are needed.

Icy Rock

Q: Did your fitness play a part in your overall enjoyment of the trip?

A:  Fitness played a big part in enjoying this trip. If I hadn’t been as physically fit as I was, I wouldn’t have been able to do much of anything other than walking around a town and then sit on my butt! Stephanie had made sure that my body was ready if I were to take on anything physical. (A special note to any of you who want to do more hiking, Pam told me that the high “Step-Up” exercises were exactly what she needed for the steep terrain she hiked).

Q: Describe what some of the “Extreme Hike” was like:

A:  The first part of the Extreme Hike was at a 35-degree angle over rounded icy rock where the guide moved us quickly. The rest of the way was over a muddy, slippery path which was extremely steep and it was impossible to walk upright because of that. Then the path disappeared to be replaced by small boulders of varying size. There was a rope one could grab, I used it sometimes but it was actually easier just to climb on all fours since it was so steep.

Q: Pam, describe your mindset during this hike — when did you know that you could get it done?

A:  I knew I could do it after the first sprint over the icy rocks. If I could move that fast over slippery ground, I felt certain that I could handle whatever else would come.

Q: Why was it so important to you to complete this hike?

A:  If I had quit after the first sprint, I knew it would regret it later thinking that MAYBE I might have been able to do it. There have been so many things in my life lately that I know I can’t do anymore. At the time, I remember thinking, “This I can do”

Q: What was the hardest thing about the hike?

A:   Coming down. It’s much easier to go up something steep. Going down something steep puts pressure on the knees, and though I don’t have knee problems, they are still 65 year-old-knees. There were no flat places to put one’s feet. The ground was covered with uneven rocks that could wobble if stepped on. For this part, I scooted down on my butt most of the way until we got to the slippery path where our feet could slide out from under us. For that part, I tried to hold onto bushes and walk on the edge of the path which had a little scrub on it.

Q: What did you like the best about the hike?

A:   Just having done it. The words “having a sense of accomplishment” only hints at what I felt. One can have a sense of accomplishment by vacuuming, but this was internal. I knew that I had done something spectacular FOR ME, the person I am– A non-athletic, never played sports, mentally and emotionally weakened person. It was a pleasant romp for the 20 year-olds, but for me, it was something completely different. This involved only me, the weather and the geography. There are no distractions and no thoughts. Just my body moving.

CONCLUSION:  Cobwebs Cleared – Joy Reignited!

By the end of her 21-day trip, Pam told me that she had “cleared the cobwebs” from her head. The medicine of movement had done its work. Pam not only found herself again, she discovered that she is mentally and physically stronger than she knew; here’s what she told me:

When we were all gathered together at the bottom and the hike was over, my immediate thought was thankfulness for the hot chocolate laced with brandy that we were given!! But later, after having done this hike and the climb up the cliff on Cape Horn battling the weather, I wasn’t afraid anymore that my faculties were starting to go because of age. I wasn’t panicked that I would leave something undone in dealing with legal issues. I felt physically strong, yes, but mentally I changed too. My thoughts weren’t scattered anymore and I was able to concentrate. I was capable of feeling joy!

At the Top

We are truly inspired by Pam and her story, and we hope you are too! Thank you, Pam, for being vulnerable and sharing your story.

 

Would you sign up for this type of challenge? Have you had an experience similar to Pam’s where a physical challenge has helped clear your mind and lifted your spirit? Please share your thoughts and comments with us. Would you like to share your story? Drop us an email and we will set up an interview, we would love to share your story of living and thriving in our blog.

Written by Hope Langevin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!

“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to new Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

Resolving To “Keep It Real”

225623-New-Years-Resolutions

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for 2016? Even if you didn’t make a formal list, you probably made a mental list of things you want to do or improve on this year. Often, at the top of that list are health and fitness goals. Well, it’s February now and if you are still keeping your fitness resolutions, congratulations, you are in the minority! If you fall into the category of not keeping them, don’t beat yourself up, by January 24th most folks have already fallen off the fitness wagon. According to Statisticbrain.com, of the 45% of Americans who make resolutions (any type of resolution) only 8% of those people actually succeed in achieving them. Discouraging numbers for sure. There has got to be an answer as to why folks are “giving up” on fitness so soon into the year.

I say “giving up” in quotes for the simple reason that I don’t believe people want to give up on themselves or their goals. Often I’ve seen people think they just don’t want it enough. However, there are other reasons for derailment, for instance: The fitness goals and the programs chosen are not realistically fitting into your lifestyle. Busy professionals, moms, dads, caregivers and stressed out college students don’t always have neatly structured lives that enable them to strictly adhere to a highly regimented fitness and nutrition program.  Wanting it enough and goals get derailed and then discouragement and quitting soon follow. Perhaps what is needed is a more flexible mindset, one that works with YOUR life, the one you are living now, the one with overtime at work, sick kids, ailing parents, studying, and out of town visitors, etc.

So does this mean working without a plan?  Absolutely NOT!

As fitness professionals we know that results are achieved by consistency and discipline which require structure and programming. So pick your nutrition plan, schedule your workouts, but be open to making changes when needed.  The key to achieving your health and fitness goals is being able to keep doing something when you cannot perfectly adhere to your plan.

5 WAYS to help you RESOLVE TO KEEP IT REAL-  when life derails your fitness plan:

  1. Remember..it’s NOT all or Nothing! – Forgive yourself if you eat poorly for a day, or miss a workout. Although constant forgiveness is compromise, gradual improvement is better than giving up altogether. Make the next meal better and do some simple activity like walking or body-weight exercises at home.
  2. Keep Moving! Exercise can be done anywhere, you don’t always need a gym.  With a little creativity you can exercise at home or even at the office. Try doing push-ups on a counter or desktop, squats or sit to stands to a bench or chair, take the stairs, etc. Even a walk around the block will set your mind up for success. Why? Because instead of quitting, you choose to exercise!
  3. Be Accountable to someone: find a fitness buddy or join an exercise group. You may find that answering to a buddy or classmates helps you to show up to your workouts when you’re tempted to skip them because of feeling tired or stressed.
  4. Find a food Fairy, When You Don’t Have Time To Cook: If you don’t have time to pre-prep meals, try using a meal service or team up with a friend (your fitness buddy) and take turns prepping healthy meals for the week. Many markets now offer healthy and fresh pre-made meals that require little prep and cooking time. All the macro-nutrient information is listed on the package for you, so you can record it accurately into your nutrition plan. It’s really lovely when someone drops healthy food on your doorstep ready-to-eat!
  5. MOST Importantly: consider adjusting your plan. If you find yourself continually missing your workouts and/or unable to get your nutrition back on track, take a step back and look at where changes need to be made. It could be as simple as changing the time of day you workout, or how often you go to the gym. Tell yourself, my goal is to make it to the gym 3 times this week. If that continues to be a success stick with if for a while, if it’s difficult, say to yourself I’ll do 2 gym workouts and one home workout. How does that work for you? Can you do it?

Resolve to “keep it real” by realizing that life is dynamic and at times chaotic. Take small steps toward your goals and congratulate yourself for taking even the smallest step!  You want this, Know that revising a plan is not failing…it’s being realistic and enabling you to have success in keeping your resolution toward better health and fitness.

Your take away from today’s blog: If your plan is going a bit askew, implement one of our suggestions above. Let us know if you have some ideas to share with our community that have helped you keep your fitness resolution in spite of life’s surprises.

 

Written by Hope Langevin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!

“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to new Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

 

 

Holiday Lesson From A Beagle

the-peanuts-movie-snoopy-christmas

Take a look at the picture above…

Does this dog know how to celebrate the holidays?  There he is asleep, dreaming away on top of his doghouse, surrounded by his little woodstock friends who are helping him with his holiday decorations. Do you think he worries about eating too many candy canes or what his overall holiday weight gain will be? I know he’s a cartoon character, but Snoopy, the beloved beagle created by Charles Shultz, can teach us all something about what holidays are supposed to be about.

How much holiday advice do you really want?

Every holiday season fitness experts, health bloggers, and other such professionals have all sorts of advice on how you can manage your holiday food and stress. Go ahead and do an internet search on  “holiday fitness tips” and just watch the dozens of blogs and articles that pop up. Here is a small sample of what I found:

  • 10 Holiday Tips For Surviving The Holidays
  • Healthy Holiday Food and Fitness: Diet, Stress and Meal Tips
  • 8 Family-Friendly Holiday Fitness Tips

And here is our blog from last year, 5 Tips To Avoid Holiday Crash N Burn
https://inspired2move.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/5-tips-to-avoid-holiday-crash-and-burn/

I am sure that all of these articles have good advice, including ours (I thought it was pretty good, but of course I’m biased). Read a few of them if you want to and if they resonate with you go ahead and apply one or two suggestions. If they work for you, that’s great, and if not, move on. Really though, this topic has been covered ad nauseam!  Don’t most of us know the basics for surviving the holidays by now? I think we do, and we only need to apply the easiest, simplest things we already know how to do.

This Trainer’s “two cents” about holiday indulgences…

I want to tell you something that other fitness experts may disagree with, and that is to enjoy your holidays even if that means eating some foods you may not normally eat.  Relax and take the stress off of your mind. Release yourself from guilt by accepting the fact that you have made a conscious decision to eat some less healthy foods simply because you enjoy them. Now that doesn’t mean that every day in December should be a Carbopalooza ball!  You can be mindful of what you are consuming but the point is not to beat yourself up and add another layer of stress to an already stressful season.

And speaking of stress reduction…

There is one thing you can keep doing as much as possible — exercise! Do whatever that looks like for you. Go for walks, hike, garden, go to the gym, go to your exercise class, and don’t stand your trainer up because you are too busy preparing for your holidays… Why? Because exercise is a huge stress reducer and stress is one of the main culprits for weight gain. You are also likely to sleep better after exercising and sounder sleep has a powerful healing effect on your body.

Now look back up at that beagle.

Relax! Keep the yule log burning, have some treats, wrap gifts, light a scented candle, trim the tree, deck the halls and embrace your holidays for what they were intended to be…a joyous celebration of all that is good in life!

Picture Credit

Go Ahead and “Clean Your Plate”…Just Be Sure It’s The Right Size Plate For You!

large-plate-of-food

“How much food should I eat at each meal?” As Personal Trainers, we are often asked this question from you, our clients. It’s a valid and great question to ask! However, a few things need to be taken into consideration to provide you with a sound answer.

Go back to your original question but this time be more specific as to why you want to control your meal size.   Do you desire weight loss or weight gain? Do you want to build muscle?  Maybe you are training for a challenging athletic event like a marathon or triathlon and your body needs more fuel. Do you simply want enough energy to get through your daily routine, your workouts and to keep up with your kids or grandkids?  Your nutritional needs will differ depending upon who you are, what you are doing right now in your life and what you want to accomplish by managing your food intake.

So, now that you have considered why you care about how much food you eat at each meal, what plan can you implement to achieve your personal nutritional goal?  Is it the old dreaded calorie counting method (or some other version of calorie counting which goes by another name). Well…you could certainly get results with calorie counting, but the fact is that most of us won’t do that for very long, nor do we want to spend the rest of our lives adding up calories on our calculators before we enjoy our meals. There is a much less tedious and simpler way to go about this whole process of calorie control and portion size; it comes from our friends at Precision Nutrition.

All you need are your hands and a plate..seriously, that’s all! This is so easy to try and you’ve got nothing to buy (except good wholesome food) or subscribe to. Here is the Link to PN’s “calorie control guide”: PN Calorie Control Guide. Be sure to print out their info-graphic, and tape it to your fridge! If you are up for a little more information, read their article too. Let us know if you try the PN method of meal planning and how it works for you. Chime in here on our blog and/or come into the studio with your questions and comments.

PN Calorie Control Guide

Bon Appetite!

Written by Hope Langevin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!
“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to New Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

BaseCamper Barbara…Movin Her Mountain – For ADVENTURE!

Barbara, a member of our Mountain Movers Basecamp Class, is the inspiration for this week’s blog. I’ve coached Barbara for many years. She sent me an e-mail about her most recent adventure, a trip to Colorado that involved not only rigorous hiking but ladder climbing and tunnel scrambling among the cliff dwelling ruins at Mesa Verde. 

At age 71, she attributes her ability to maintain an active lifestyle to the fact that she has been a consistent exerciser for most of her adult life.  She also keeps an eye on her nutrition.  Sound nutrition and exercise became lifelong habits for her after she experienced a large weight gain while attending college. Weight Watchers worked for Barbara, and she got back to a healthy weight. Over the years she continued to consistently practice good eating and exercise habits.

In fact, exercise and healthy eating were important factors in fighting and beating cancer a few years ago. Barbara’s doctors marveled at her energy and her ability to bounce back quickly from cancer surgery and treatment.

Now..I will let Barbara tell you in her own words and pictures about her most recent adventure; her story follows below:

In 2013 I sent Hope this picture (see below) which I titled “Why I Do Step-Ups.”  It’s taken at Maturanga on China Lake AFB, near Ridgecrest CA.  What an amazing place!  There are more petroglyphs concentrated in this canyon than any other location in the USA.  There were parts of the tour that required fitness, agility, and big step-ups!

BA Petroglifs

This time I had another reason to keep moving my mountain: Mesa Verde, home of the ancient cliff dwellers.  Park rangers give tours of this vast and spectacular National Monument.  One of the tours we took required climbing a 32’ ladder and crawling through a 12’ tunnel.  Altitude, a slight fear of heights and no guard rails made this challenging, but not the actual climb – that part was easy thanks to keeping as fit as possible.  The Pueblo Indians lived in these cliff dwellings before scattering to surrounding areas in search of reliable food supplies.  We know they were strong and fit to be able to construct the dwellings and navigate the cliffs as part of their daily living.

BA Mesa V Ladder2 BA Mesa V Ladder BA Mesa V

Another fun adventure was riding the narrow gauge train from Durango to Silverton.  The woman who boarded ahead of me took at least a  minute to climb each step onto the train.  I wish she were able to do step-ups!  The train itself is old, and the seats felt like they were narrow gauge too, not built for modern-day Americans!

BA DurangoTrain

Next adventure is my first High Sierra backpacking trip.   Carrying my stuff, sleeping on the ground, eating freeze-dried, hiking at altitude…  I am so grateful to be able to enjoy life and adventure. I plan to keep Moving My Mountain as long as I can!

We wish Barbara a safe and beautiful trip!

 

Choose health, ask this question of yourself…….

“A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison.”

–Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) – an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, and author.

While sitting at a local Starbucks preparing to write this blog, I was on a completely different topic when a local woman that I’m acquainted with, who I will call Ms. C., came over to say hello to me. Our conversation caused me to completely change my focus for this blog.

Ms. C is in her early 70’s, and she takes care of her longtime friend, Mr. B who is around 80 years old. He is in the last part of his life, not only because of his age but because he has incurable cancer. Ms. C is always cheerful. She openly acknowledges that her friend is dying and she does her best to make every day as pain-free and pleasant for him as possible. They had just finished lunch at a local restaurant, and she came into Starbucks to buy him a sugar-free drink. “He’s still hanging in there,” she said, “ he just takes Tylenol for the pain and keeps going; he walks the dog every day.”

I actually had run into Mr. B myself the other day;  and he was doing exactly that, walking the dog. He no longer sees very well, and I had to remind him who I was. We exchanged a few pleasantries, and he went on his way. I sat there, quietly, wondering what it must be like knowing you are living on the edge of your life and that there is not anything to be done about it.

I don’t write this because I am sad or because I want to make you sad. I write this to remind us all that our time on this earth is limited, and that those of us who are still in possession of our faculties and of our bodies are very, very fortunate. I also know that some of you in this community have been through your own health crisis and know, better than I, how precious good health is.

Improving or maintaining our health is to some degree within our control. If you are able to attend a workout, take a walk, and have a say over what you eat and drink, then you have a lot more control than you may realize or want to acknowledge. The simple formula for good health for MOST people is to get off the sofa or out of the office chair and move and to eat foods that nourish their bodies. YOU have the privilege of CHOICE.. YOU can make a decision that impacts your health for either ill or good. I say MOST people because there are those born with medical conditions or those who suffer from psychological eating disorders for whom things are not so simple. Those folks have the tough road, but there is help for them, and they too have a choice; they can choose to get help, or they can retreat into their illness.

While there are no guarantees that exercise and nutrition will bring you a long and pain-free life; it sure is a better bet than inactivity and overeating. And here’s another thought to consider: what if you do contract a major illness or injury? The likelihood of recovery goes way up if you’ve already been maintaining good health.

So the next time you’re feeling a little lazy and not sure you want to workout, or you don’t want to put a single thought into the food you eat, consider what A. J. Jacobs Says:

“The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one.”
A.J. Jacobs, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

Take care of your future self by asking this question: What can I do right now to take care of “Him” or “Her”?  Then just go ahead and do it!

Written by Hope Langevin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!
“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to New Heights.”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

OUCH, My character hurts!

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”    Helen Keller

Through the years I have worked with clients who have had a variety of injuries and now, more than ever, I can relate to their situations. In my last blog I told you that I was super excited because I had begun a training program especially for my mountain running/hiking passion. Then it happened…a nagging little pain on the side of my knee that would “come and go” decided to stay! Turns out I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. According to the physical therapist who assessed me, this may heal without surgery. It’s been over 3 weeks with improvement, but it’s going to be many, many weeks until I am ready to try hiking again, and I do not know when I will attempt to run again.

I won’t sugar coat this, it’s difficult for me to be grounded. I have taken the quote above by Helen Keller to heart, and I believe it to be true. This is a serious test of my character and internal fortitude. We will see how it goes. In the meantime, I am sharing with you some practical advice on how to move through injury toward wellness.  Here are my thoughts on the road to recovery, they are based on my experience as a fitness trainer and now as an injured person.

GET A PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENT:  This should be obvious, but it is often temping for us to guess at what our injury is. If it is persistent and painful, please see a professional and by that, I don’t mean a trainer (like myself), see a medical doctor and or a physical therapist and proceed as directed. Depending on the severity of your injury you are likely to have to rest the injured body part and allow healing time.

KEEP MOVING: Unless you have been instructed not to move at all, which is not likely, you really need to keep up your exercise as best you can. This means modifications to your workout. In my case, no running, jumping, squatting, lunging etc.. I do most of my exercises seated and have switched my focus to mainly core and upper body. Push ups, pull ups, chest press, shoulder press, seated kettlebell swings and a ton of mat work. I also work range of motion exercises for my knee.

A good trainer can improvise for you. There are many work-arounds, modifications that can keep you fit through your recovery time. A fitness trainer can pick up where your physical therapist left off.  I have personally visited physical therapists who are treating my clients and worked with them to get my clients back in action once their physical therapy was finished.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE: I don’t mean to say that you want wishful thinking from people downplaying your injury just to make you feel good. However, you certainly don’t need hear from your neighbor who doesn’t exercise say, “see, I told you that you were doing too much.” If you are part of a fitness community, or know folks who have recovered from injury, let them know what has happened. You will find a world of productive help and support. Every day that I go to our studio and to my training class, I am inspired to stay the course with my training,  in spite of my injury. These are the places where I find people who understand what I am going through and who can help me.

BE PATIENT: I know, I know, it’s hard to be patient, especially for those of us who are used to being active, but we must allow the body time to mend. Use this downtime to explore new exercises, stay focused on good nutrition and learn all you can about healing your injury.
Injury can bring you down mentally if you let it; you don’t have to be an athlete to feel frustrated, sad or angry about your situation. Sometimes depression follows physical injury. I believe the way to avoid this is to stay as strong and active as possible in every way that you can both mentally and physically.

Have you had an injury and recovery story you want to share with us? Post it here and be an inspiration to me and to your community.

Written by Hope Langevin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!
“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to new Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

A Trainer’s Confession and The Practice of Consistency

So here I am a personal trainer, a so-called fitness professional, which makes saying what I am going to tell you rather difficult; but here goes…

I have been struggling to maintain consistency in my training. That’s right, the NUMBER ONE thing I am always talking to you, my clients, about, and here I was having the same trouble.

Are you thinking, “But..you are a trainer Hope, don’t you have your own gym to work out in? And don’t you have lots of time in between clients to work out?” Answer: sure, I can work out at the gym, all by myself, but frankly, I am not a “type A” highly disciplined individual who enjoys working out just because I need to get it done. Those of you who know me, know that I have always belonged to highly motivated fitness community. I work harder with a buddy, class or team. That’s just the plain truth of it.

I lost a lot of my fitness community when I started to work for myself. My old 8-5 job allowed me time for evening workouts and I was highly motivated to get away from my desk; I LOVED going to my exercise class and being part of a running team. Well, things had to change if I wanted to unchain myself from a desk and work in the fitness world full time. My personal workout time took a back seat to scheduling clients because I needed to get a foothold in this business.

And…There is one other thing that I will tell you, even though it is a bit personal. Hormonal changes due to menopause drained me of the desire to workout with the intensity I was used to. Thankfully, with time, good nutrition and rest, that is settling down. (Actually this will be a great topic for another blog for those of us who are 50 +! But I digress..so back to topic.)

Now don’t get me wrong. I still worked out, but it was inconsistent and just basically helped me maintain an adequate level of fitness to work with my clients and maintain my health. That’s not enough for me. I felt disheartened about my loss of strength and my body began to feel,… well, old! I was also being hypocritical in asking my clients to maintain consistency, when I was failing to do so myself. I detest hypocrisy and this crisis forced me to face something about myself. As much as I like physical activity, I was out of of the habit of setting time aside for real training. Why was this so hard for me? Finally I realized that I needed an external motivation to get my internal motivation pumping again.

What to do? Well an unforeseen opportunity presented itself and I jumped on it.

A trainer friend of mine obtained an extra pass to day hike Mt. Whitney! Then we both joined a specialized training class for mountain athletes which is run by another trainer/friend of ours. Yes! I paid money to work with another trainer. Why? Because paying for and scheduling my training is how I will get it done! Now, 5pm MONDAY – THURSDAY I am training. This is on my calendar and I have not only myself to hold me accountable, but my classmates too. Oh, and there is that almost 15,000 foot mountain looming ahead of me and that really holds me accountable to be consistent with my training!

For now, I have resolved my training consistency problem. I am looking forward to seeing the results of my consistent effort and I am already getting my mojo back!

How about you? Do any of you struggle with keeping your workout times? Is consistency a thing of the past for you? Have you lost your desire to exercise?

Here are some suggestions on how to resolve your consistency problem:

1. BE VERY HONEST WITH YOURSELF…I had to be. I had to own the fact that I need an external driver to set a training schedule; a time sensitive, tangible goal did this for me. Then I had to admit that I do well with a group or buddy for accountability. If you are truly self-motivated then what is keeping you from getting your workouts done? Maybe a new goal and training buddies is what you need.

2. If you have a class, team or buddy to train with but haven’t been showing up? What is going on? Is it work? Illness? Family concerns? Or maybe whatever you have signed up for is not a match for you.

3. Can you set yourself up for consistent training by preparing for your day a little better?
Pack your gym bag and don’t go home when you leave work, instead, go directly to your workout.

4. Do you put your workout time in your schedule? That one simple act of scheduling your workout can help you stay accountable to it.

I really can’t say it enough to myself or to you….CONSISTENCY is a key factor to your success in fitness. I will leave you with this quote: “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” – John C. Maxwell (The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth).

If you have run into a consistency issue, come talk to us about it and we will find a way to get you back on track.

Written by Hope Langevin  – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!
“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to new Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

Five Women Movin Up a Mountain

Wilson 7 gals“I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.” Cheryl Strayed

INSPIRED: Several months ago three gals from our training studio decided to have an in-home matinee viewing of the movie “Wild”, to which we, their fitness trainers, were invited. The movie is a biography based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”  The story captures Cheryl’s successful completion of a 2,650 mile journey– on foot, that begins at the Mexican Border in Southern California and ends at the Canadian border. During her hike Cheryl wrestles and conquers some serious demons in her life and by the end of her journey many wounds are healed and she regains her better self. Not only did this movie inspire, it solidified the girls’ drive and “need (for) a goal!”. Like many of us, including myself, the reason the gals needed a goal was that their fitness had taken a backseat to other priorities and distractions in their lives and they were struggling with finding motivation. They were searching for something to inspired them and bring them back to an active and powerful lifestyle. Weeks earlier the seed was planted, that afternoon it grew– they would summit Mt. Wilson in three months time. They also recruited two more women into their group, friends who were interested in doing more hiking, and so the group of five was formed.

THE CHALLENGE: To summit Mt. Wilson is obviously not the same as a 5-month 2,600 mile plus journey, but let me tell you, it is not just some little peak in the foothills either! Mt. Wilson is world famous because of the observatory which was built on its summit in 1904. The mountain stands at 5,710 feet above the San Gabriel Valley. The 7.5 mile trail from Sierra Madre to the summit has a 4,000 foot elevation gain. Much of the trail is exposed so you run out of shade if you don’t get up there early enough. There is one flat spot on the whole trail and that is a little offshoot called the “heloispot” where an emergency helicopter can land. Other than that one spot, the trail is an undulating, but always ascending steady climb.

TAKING ACTION..MAKING THE PLAN: After the initial goal setting, the group met to iron out the details of their hiking schedule. They made a pact to meet every Saturday for the next 3 months at the trail head where they began hiking sections of the trail. They needed to build endurance and they accomplished this by hiking each section of the trail 2 weeks in a row. It went like this: Week 1, “First Water”, Week 2 First Water, Week 3 Orchard Camp, Week 4 Orchard Camp…and so up and down they went until their last 2 weeks was a hike to “Manzanita Ridge”, which is still a couple of miles from the top. They also asked if Stephanie, the owner of our studio and myself, their trainer, would accompany them on their final hike to the summit which they set for April 18. We gladly accepted.

STAYING THE COURSE & DOING THE WORK : Weeks go quickly and as the hike date drew nearer, Stephanie and I saw the girls one very hot morning after they had come down from Manzanita Ridge. It so happened that we had just finished a hike ourselves that morning and we were at the same Sierra Madre eatery when they pulled in for a well deserved meal. “Hey..how is it going?” I asked. With a zombie like gaze one of them replied, “it was really hard today”. I have to tell you, they looked thrashed! Of course Stephanie and I congratulated them and told them to “keep going”. Their date with Mt. Wilson was quickly approaching and at this point they only had one more training hike left.

TO THE TOP! 6:15 AM, Saturday, April 18th, there we stood, 6 of us, at the drinking fountain just below the Mount Wilson trail head (Stephanie would arrive a bit later and catch up with us). The chilly morning air provided a brisk wake up call. There was some nervousness among the girls as they strapped on their day packs, re-tied shoes, and opened trekking poles. Beth offered to start us off with a word of prayer and we all gratefully agreed. Then we turned and started up the road to the trail head. As we climbed, the group spread out. The 3 faster hikers in front, one gal behind them and 3 more behind her. We had agreed that each person should hike at their own pace, so long as no one was left behind hiking alone. It all worked out beautifully. Everyone had someone to encourage them and keep them going. By the time we got to the Mount Wilson Toll road, 1 ¾ miles to go to the top, it was getting pretty tough, especially for the rear pack hikers. Yet, no one complained, no one broke down, they just kept going. Rest, walk, stop to enjoy the view and take a few pictures. That last mile on the toll road gets to feeling very long as you keep winding round each curve hoping it is the last one. Groans, sighs and cheers erupted as we spied the entrance to Mount Wilson Skyline Park; at last we had arrived, 6 hours later….goal accomplished! Weary bodies found rest on stone benches at the Cosmic Cafe which was bustling with other hikers, runners, and those who had driven up to take the observatory tour. Our rides down had arrived and all we had to do was relax with a snack and beverage, pose for photos and look forward to lunch back in town at our favorite pub.

FullSizeRender 2

CELEBRATING & LOOKING FORWARD At the pub with glasses raised and tired smiles all around, we toasted their accomplishment. Then what did the gals start talking about? Their next hiking goal of course! Some want to do Mt. Wilson again both up and down, making the full journey a 15 mile day. All of them are on our list to summit Mount Baldy in June…a 10,064 foot peak!

TRAINER’S 2 CENTS: As a fitness trainer I have seen how confidence is built up when clients reach beyond what they believe their physical limits are. This confidence often translates over to other areas of life: work, relationships, educational goals, etc.. I saw and heard from these five women how much hiking that mountain meant to them. I believe each one of them felt bolder, stronger and more confident than when they took on this challenge. How about you? Have you taken on a challenge and once you got to the other side of it, found yourself more confident and less fearful in general about life? Maybe you have a challenge you want to share with us. Or…maybe you need a challenging goal to tackle for a confidence boost, if so, we have a community here to assist you.

Written by Hope Langevin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!
“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to new Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia

Day-hiking With Move Your Mountain Fitness – The Essentials

Are you new to day hiking and not sure of what to bring? Or maybe you have signed up for MYMF’s Hiking Adventure Series, if so, this blog is for you! Preparing for a day hike is far less complicated than preparing for an extended backpacking trip, but it still requires some forethought and preparation. Since day-hiking is about a shorter trip you obviously will not need as much gear or supplies and of course you will be carrying a smaller pack. vermont-hikingPhoto Credit:  http://www.stpaulcathedral.org/first-saturday-hiking-group

Let’s start with four absolutes to take care of before setting out on your day-hiking adventure:

1. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Even if you are with a group of hikers, you should always let someone who is not on the trip know where the group is hiking. If you should happen to become injured or get lost, rescue agencies will know where to begin looking for you. This is critical to you having a chance to survive an unfortunate incident and could literally save your life.

2. Carry some form of identification with you, list an emergency contact person and any medical concerns that rescue personnel need to be aware of (allergies to particular medications, etc.)

3. Check the weather report for your hiking destination and prepare your food, water and clothing needs accordingly.

4. Carry out what you carry in. Bring a small plastic bag to pack your trash separately from the other items in your pack. Remember to “leave no trace”!

Now on to the hiking “essentials”. Seasoned hikers are familiar with the “10 Essentials List” recommended by the Sierra Club which has been the mainstay of hikers/backpackers for decades. The outdoor specialists at REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) have their own version of this list, which they call: “The Updated Ten Essential Systems”, here it is:

  • Navigation (map and compass)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  • Insulation (extra clothing)
  • Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  • First-aid supplies Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
  • Repair kit and tools Nutrition (extra food)
  • Hydration (extra water)
  • Emergency shelter

REI is an excellent resource for all things outdoors and we have provided a link here for their website on hiking advice: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/day-hiking-checklist.html. We have taken the REI list and scaled it down for our MYMF Hiking Adventure Series. We can scale the list down because all of our hikes will be on designated trails (no off trailing & easy routes to follow) and none are going to be longer than a half day, unless of course you split off from the group and get lost, which we are sure you won’t do! …… Rule number one is: NO ONE HIKES ALONE!

Here is MYMF’s Day-Hiking Essential List. Go ahead, print this page out and use it for your check list. Further down the blog is a breakdown and explanation for each of these items:

  • Day Pack Hydration
  • Insulation-clothing
  • Footwear
  • Nutrition
  • Sun protection
  • First-aid supplies
  • Toilet paper (and a plastic baggie to carry out your used tissue) Sanitation trowel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cell Phone

Beyond the Essentials – Things you might enjoy bringing for a more comfortable and fun trip:

  • Navigation system (if you have one and want to experiment with it during our hikes, or if you are working on map & compass skills, go ahead and bring them).
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Trekking poles or hiking stick– (Highly recommended if you have any knee concerns such as arthritis)
  • Insect repellent
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Post-hike
    • snacks, water,clothing change & hand wipes

Here is a further breakdown and explanation of these day-hiking essentials:

  • Day Pack Maybe you already own one, if so, great. If not, realize that these packs come in dozens of shapes and styles. You will need to go shopping, try the pack on and see how it feels. Whatever pack you choose needs to be large enough to hold food, water, clothing you might peel off during the hike and all of the essentials we have listed here. The pack should be able to contain enough supplies for up to half a day.
  • Hydration: Water bottles or a hydration system such as a “Camelback” bladder pack. How much water to bring? Of course weather conditions come into play; the hotter the day the more water you need. A general rule is to carry as much as you comfortably can. For our hiking series at least 70 to 96 ounces (1 quart is 32 ounces, so 96 ounces is 3 quarts.) One gallon is 4 quarts (128 ounces). Pack an extra gallon or 2 of water in your car so you can drink some and top off your water bottles before you hit the trail and you will have water when you return to your vehicle.
  • Insulation- Clothing: Clothing is weather dependent which is exactly why we recommend checking the weather report before hiking. Generally, hiking clothes should not be tight fitting, but if you like wearing running gear or compression pants/tops, then go for it. So long as you are comfortable. We are probably looking at cool early mornings, but generally it will be warming up so dress in layers. Be prepared to pack your peeled off layers inside of your day pack.
    • Basics can include: Jacket or vest, pants or shorts, gloves (if cold). Warm Weather Clothing Options Wicking T-shirt Wicking underwear Quick-drying pants or shorts Long-sleeve shirt (for bugs, sun) Sun-shielding hat Insulating fleece jacket or vest Bandanna or Buff
  • Footwear Boots or shoes (trail shoes NOT street/tennis shoes) suited to terrain which means traction for good grip on the trail; especially important on steep downhills. Socks (synthetic or wool) & Gaiters – optional
  • Nutrition Some ideas: fruit or fruit roll ups, trail mix, energy bars ( also gels, chews), sandwiches & nuts. Energy beverages or drink mixes, electrolytes if it is hot. Try to keep the food as compact as possible and bring a little more than you think you may need.
  • Sun protection
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Sunglasses
  • First-aid supplies band aides, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, OTC pain killers. A small basic kit is good enough for our hikes.
  • Self-Care
    • Toilet paper (and a plastic baggie to carry out your used tissue)
    • Sanitation trowel
    • Hand sanitizer
  • Cell Phone If you have one, pack it. You might not get reception, but what if you can and need to make an emergency call?

We look forward to your thoughts, questions or comments regarding our MYMF Hiking Essentials List. Do you have anything to add to this list?

See you on the trails!

Written by Hope Langevin and Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer – Move Your Mountain Fitness

Stephanie and Hope are personal trainers alongside a team of trainers and can be reached for a complimentary consultation at http://www.moveyourmountain.com OR use the contact form below!
“Reignite YOUR courage and CLIMB to new Heights”

Move Your Mountain Fitness
Stephanie Aikin – Certified Personal Trainer
120 E. Santa Clara St.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Studio 626-447-1049
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveyourmountain
Email: info@moveyourmountain.com
Web: http://www.MoveYourMountain.com
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/move-your-mountain-fitness-arcadia