Movement Assessments, Baseline Testing and Re-Testing. WHY?

Establishing a health and fitness baseline is an essential starting point for achieving health and fitness goals. Your movement assessment and baseline or starting point has two basic components. Existing illness, injuries, imbalances, and potential injuries, illness, imbalances.

A solid health and fitness routine should include “A Preventative Care Plan” with specific workouts, diets, stress management, lifestyle habits, ongoing movement assessments, and refinement, all personalized to a client’s biology. 

Living a long, healthier lifestyle now and preventing health and fitness decline in the future is empowering. Take control of your health by being proactive and building confidence in your program.

It is important to have a clear and accurate assessment of your current health and fitness. Raise your hand if you could use some improvement!

Baseline Testing and Assessments can really clear up the confusion as to what you need to be working on. It will also keep you motivated as you see the changes, making it easier to keep a regular health and fitness plan in motion.

Improve what you can measure. Focus on what you can control.

Baseline testing will provide insight to make improvements not only for the quantity of life but the quality of life.

Fitness is a powerful marker of health. You can override your genetic code with diet, exercise, stress management, and yoga for mind-body.

Lifestyle vs Genetics

“A concept is known as “epigenetics” empowers people to take control of their health by making choices that may override their genetic code. Behavior and environment can affect how those genes are “expressed,” that is, how information in a gene gets translated and proteins.”

https://www.uwhealth.org/news/lifestyle-choices-can-change-your-genes/13915


There is no time to waste. Things can change on a dime. For example, if you have been told you are borderline with high blood sugars, the switch can flip and you become diabetic. Or if your blood pressure is almost at the point of needing medication, get serious about meditation and diet.

Losing weight and increasing muscle can be assessed with a tape measure and a scale. You may not lose a pound on the scale but you are dropping your body fat by 10% by increasing muscle mass and are losing inches.

Assessment of your diet can be both painful and eye-opening. There is plenty of research linking good nutrition to good overall health. Food is medicine and a healthy diet is indisputable for optimum health. Making even small changes to your diet can have a big impact on your gut health, brain health, mood, energy levels, and quality of sleep, giving you the energy to maintain a regular exercise program.

Baseline testing provides context about the positive and negative effects of lifestyle habits, diet, and working out. Monitoring and tracking changes in your habits will show up in various ways:

Did your cholesterol skyrocket after being on the ketogenic diet?

Did your memory improve after you started practicing yoga and meditation?

Can you walk a mile faster? Feeling more efficient moving up stairs?

Did you eliminate the bloating by following the recommended foods and macros? 

Is your gut health improving?

Are you sleeping 8 hours a night after adding a supplement?

Testing and Assessment is so much more than the reps, sets, and PRs. 

Without baseline testing and reassessing, you are sailing without a compass, driving without a map, in the confusing, frustrating, dangerous, and expensive world of health. With your health at stake…

With your health at stake, testing and tracking is a small, important sacrifice for growth and change. Real change. Each time you repeat your assessment, celebrate your progress and adjust your fitness goals accordingly.

Train smart, and pay closer attention to those decisions you are making outside the gym. Start making conscious choices, and you can take control of your health and improve your quality of life.

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training clients at a gym in the San Diego area or on the Class It Up Virtual Studio, and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

Train Your Brain: The Top 7 Things You Can Do 

I lost my mother 7 years ago. When she talked of aging, maintaining mobility, memory, and independence were her top concerns. Brain health. There are things you can do for brain health.  Many conditions affect brain health and quality of life, including weight gain, “The bigger the belly the smaller the brain.”-Mark Hyman, MD. Although this may seem harsh, making diet and exercise a priority is key to healthy living and healthy aging.

Every single tip below, if implemented to some degree, will drive you towards a healthy weight, a healthy brain. PowerFit for the Brain! 

1) Eat fresh foods. If it’s man-made, leave it. If God made it, eat it. Taking control of your diet may mean some meal prepping or planning ahead, but it’s so worth the time and effort. “Grab and go” can be a healthy habit with some planning. The heart and brain are affected by gut health. Food is medicine, so respect the power of diet.

2) Get enough sleep — Studies suggest that sleep helps to flush out potential toxins that build up in your central nervous system throughout the day. Nothing feels better than starting the day feeling good from a restful night of sleep. Flushing out toxins is good for your brain health.

3) Exercise regularly — The next time you are lacking motivation and you feel like the scale is not moving, consider your brain. Your brain still needs a workout to get the blood circulating. Circulate those healthy nutrients with a sweat session. Regular exercise creates neurons to fight dementia and improve memory. You could tell yourself, “I’m off to create some neurogenesis” when you are in need of motivation to go work out. 

4) Socialize — Stretch yourself out and make time to interact with family and friends. When you socialize, you are gaining new perspectives, experiences, and challenges.  Stretching your brain’s ability to organize ideas and relay them succinctly promotes brain health. Like to read? Join our book club here and get social! 

5) Supplements —  Certain nutrients support better memory, alertness, and creativity. Healthy amounts of nutrients slow down the development of major mental health conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin d, vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10 are some of the top supplements for brain health.  It is important to consult your doctor before starting any supplements. 

6) Be your own health advocate and do your own research. Perhaps your doctor is prescribing statins, for high cholesterol. There is a debate on whether statins might actually boost the risk of dementia. Doctors are busy, so have your questions ready. Even coming prepared, you will walk away with a ton of questions. No time to do your own research or not sure of all your options? Hire a Health Coach. Find a space that is unhurried and discuss all your options. Don’t be rushed. It’s your brain, your gut, your heart, your health. Your body is a temple. 

7) Stress management. Find a way to manage your stress that doesn’t involve alcohol, drugs, or medication. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and prayer can literally change your brain. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for positive capacities including concentration, happiness, creativity, and rational thinking. Meditation strengthens the communication between the prefrontal and other areas of the brain. Meditate 30 minutes a day .

“Recent studies from Harvard University found that long-term meditators have increased amounts of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, and the auditory and sensory cortex. Meditation also fosters beneficial brainwave patterns such as alpha, theta, and delta. Meditation not only increases your grey brain matter, but also reduces stress, fosters clear thinking, and increases our capacity for empathy.”
BrainFlow

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training clients at a gym in the San Diego area or on the Class It Up Virtual Studio, and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

Preventative Medicine: Movement Assessments

Scheduling a Movement Assessment with a health and fitness professional should be part of your preventative, self-care protocol. More likely than not, this preventative protocol is not covered by health insurance…yet.

Health insurance won’t pay for prevention…

Rest assured, there is hope on the horizon. BlueCross of Western New York is offering a wellness option with a debit card program. The benefit amount is based on the plan selected and can be used at fitness centers, health food stores, and even for doterra essential oils! Wow, just wow. As a health and fitness professional, this makes me happy as it is a big step in the right direction! It’s a matter of time and I’m sure there will be more insurance companies following suit because of the many scientifically proven methods effective in health care. In the meantime, don’t wait until you are injured or in pain to do something.

Self-advocating and being proactive and preventative in one’s own health and fitness is something everyone can implement.

The importance of having a coach!

When I observe and screen for muscle imbalances, range of motion, limitations, balance, muscle recruitment, and joint range of motion, it gives me valuable feedback. There is a new level of intelligence with my clients and how they feel while moving in their bodies. That is priceless information that must be processed for healthy longevity.  

Assessments should be a continual process of refinement as the body changes. A set of personalized exercise programs should include corrective strength and flexibility exercises. This prescription is most valuable to health, disease prevention, and well-being when taken seriously and regularly. It’s not a replacement for medical care or a diagnosis, but it’s a guide to moving and living better.

Along with movement assessments, a look at nutrition is an integral piece of health within the body and mind and should be part of a health care regime. Food is medicine.

Different types of injuries:

I read a study early on in my career where they basically looked at the rotator cuffs of cadavers ranging from young to the elderly, and each one had some sort of tear or imperfection in the rotator cuff. That stuck with me as exercising the shoulder joint has always been a favorite. Everyone needs to be doing RC strengthening. Will it prevent an injury at some point? Maybe, maybe not. If not, perhaps it will lessen the severity of the injury. Shoulders start with posture. Poor posture and balance equal weak muscles, the perfect recipe for injury.

“Lesions of the rotator cuff (RC) are a common occurrence affecting millions of people across all parts of the globe. RC tears are also rampantly prevalent with an age-dependent increase in numbers. Other associated factors include a history of trauma, limb dominance, contralateral shoulder, smoking-status, hypercholesterolemia, posture and occupational dispositions. The challenge lies in early diagnosis since a high proportion of patients are asymptomatic. Pain and decreasing shoulder power and function should alert the heedful practitioner in recognizing promptly the onset or aggravation of existing RC tears.” (World Journal of Orthopedics)

Movement Assessments include all movement in the body.

Movement allows us to take on our daily tasks and athletic activities with confidence and energy.  

To move with an optimal range of motion, it takes a consistent strength program to resolve any imbalances we may develop. When our range of motion is altered by a major or minor injury, lack of activity, or disease, our muscles can become unresponsive and can lead to changes in structural alignment. It can be really frustrating to experience an injury only to have a subsequent injury impair us further. When a muscle is not being used, it becomes unresponsive to recruitment and other muscles may overcompensate. Love to be outdoors doing the things you love? It’s important to keep all our muscles moving with exercise and strength training indoors so we can play outdoors.

When I first started teaching, part of my training was to video record myself during movement classes. Football players, golfers, gymnasts, dancers, and most athletes use video feedback for movement assessments. Schedule a session today and get a true picture of how you’re moving!

Workout inside so you can play outside!

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training on the Class It Up Virtual Studio and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

Step Off The Scale…Grab A Tape Measure

Especially if you are just starting a workout routine. You can lose inches, body fat, and gain muscle without changing the number on the scale and Jenn is proof of that! Muscle is much denser than fat and takes up less space. Think of 5 pounds of styrofoam vs 5 pounds of dry peas. Peas are lovely and so is muscle.

Build more metabolically active tissue to consume all those calories, even at rest. More muscle means better health and improved overall fitness levels.

Now back to my Rock Star Client, Jenn.  As we continue our journey, I just had to share her progress with you all. Below is from Jenn’s Facebook post. I know you have heard it before, but making lifestyle changes is a process. A journey of self-discovery. Jenn trains and meets with me once a week. Each and every week, we work on a piece of the new and improved methods for getting healthy and maintaining health. Our sessions cover Jenn’s workouts, macros, dietary plans, and the safety of each exercise in her program. Our assessments of lifestyle habits help to make behavioral, nutritional, and other changes that promote better health and overall wellness. We create custom-tailored plans for a well-rounded routine. I am loving getting to know Jenn and her adorable son (when he’s not at school). I am beyond excited to work with such an amazing soul!

Flex Friday!

Jenn’s Facebook Post

My body changed so much after 40 – especially w the baby, who is now almost six 😳- and if I had a nickel for everyone who told me as I surpassed 220#’s that I’d never get my body back, The Boy wouldn’t need a college fund – truly, I don’t really care about having a “body” anymore, I mean, I have a man who loves me at 200+#’s (thank you honey, @big_tom_otto ), but being fit and being able to keep up and get up off the floor easily and not have my knees and shoulders and elbows hurt all the time; this.

And having the energy to have a good attitude when things come up that would normally piss a person off; this, too. And knowing I’m making deposits into an account I’ll surely be withdrawing from when I’m 70, just like my retirement fund but for health, not wealth; this, three! But mostly, looking at myself and liking what I see looking back for the first time in six years; especially and unequivocally, that!

I don’t have time to pack a bag and go to the gym and work out and then shower and change and pack up and get back in the car to drive home or work or wherever…My feet hurt from shoes and I didn’t want to invest in another pair of pricy sneakers. I didn’t want to buy equipment or videos or any other dust collectors. I also didn’t think I could afford what I wanted, which was Oprah’s trainer and chef, (we’re being real here).

I wouldn’t trust anyone trying to sell me something here. And I know I can sound salesy when I believe in something. So. Hopefully, for Kathy’s sake, I haven’t lost you. But really. It’s not impossible, it’s not a gimmick and it’s not cost prohibitive if you’re already spending $$ on healthclubs and classes. In fact, it’s more cost efficient because it’s customized – all pfat, no filler 😜”

Consistency Over Perfection.

Remember, health and fitness is a journey. This is why taking pictures, measurements, and journaling are all forms of tracking progress. They can be very motivating when you’re having a hard day. Below is a text Jenn sent me along with some pictures after I suggested she go back to her before pictures. She was pleased to see that she had lost “back fat” and the timing of that was perfect.

“It’s such a mind game, ignoring the number on the scale; all that work and sweat and I still weigh what?! It took these pics lined up side by side for me to really see it. It’s working. In my own time, on my own terms, with what I already have. #mytrainerlive” -Jenn

Work on the following if you are an emotional eater or if you find yourself feeling up or down each time you step on the scale.

Work on becoming a conscious eater. Breathe and count to 30 before starting your meal. Slow down. Eating fast can contribute to poor digestion and a host of health problems. “Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome,” said Takayuki Yamaji, M.D., study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan.

  • Focus on real information about yourself like: I am feeling better about my food choices and moving towards a more authentic and healthy relationship with food.
  • Find other ways to measure your successes like how your clothes are fitting. Who cares if the scale is the same when you just lost an inch off your waist! Grab a tape measure. Balance your life.
  • Make health your main goal because what good is 10 pounds on the scale when you haven’t learned anything? New lifestyles habits will keep the weight falling off in due time. Be patience because the slower you take it off, the more likely it will stay off.

CONGRATULATIONS JENN! You inspire so many!

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training on the Class It Up Virtual Studio and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

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Train like Jennifer Aniston

Featuring my #1 training tip every one should be doing .

Last month, I wrote a blog about a different Jennifer’s choice concerning her training as she prepped for a movie role. Do you recall? The JLo 10 day challenge! Click here to read my take on it.

While I’m not on board with the JLo quick fix method, I am totally on board with Jennifer Aniston’s training method, shared recently by her trainer, Leyon Azubike.

I was so happy to hear Leyon Azubike talk about his celebrity client, Jen Aniston’s training program and how he uses periodization to organize her fitness schedule.  Boxing, strength training, jump roping, yoga. And yes, with her schedule she may hit a few 3 am workouts. That falls under HARDCORE and dedicated. The media made such a fuss about the 3 am workouts.

Celebrities get lots of attention when they seem to be aging well. Everyone wants to have what they’re having. It takes work to look that good, people! Even with a few visits to the plastic surgeon, you need to be fit to go through any elective surgery. Cher is fit for 72, any way you look at it.

I get it, but more than that, I’m loving how Jennifer Aniston’s trainer uses periodization to get it done.

What is this magical formula that is working wonders and making 50 look so fit and fabulous? Periodization. It’s been around since 1950 and was the work of a Russian physiologist, Leo Matveyev.

Periodization is an organized approach to fitness training.

Think of it as the trending Marie Kondo Japanese Method: organization for your training program. Working out should give you results that bring joy.

Basically, it’s taking your health and fitness to the next level. It’s an action plan or blueprint to achieve your health and fitness aspirations. The energy and physique you dream of are within reach, you just need a method and a scientific approach to your long and short term goals. And like the Marie Kondo followers rave, this method will change, declutter, and transform your training, your health, your life.

Periodization involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time. Take marathon runners. They train for months, peak, run the race, and then take a month off. A month full of active rest activities before starting another cycle. Other examples include cyclists, pro football players, hockey players, and competitive bodybuilders. All train to peak for the season or day of a chosen event or competition.

SOOO many times a client will start a training program with a goal in mind. Goals like: an up and coming wedding, a class reunion, a beach vacation. Or perhaps they got their labs back from a recent physical and need to lower some of the risk factors to improve health and decrease the occurrence of age-related diseases. And need a routine sooner than later.

There will always be carrots to dangle, but looking past the immediate is always encouraged when planning your fitness routine.

Train for a better quality of life. Make it a lifestyle choice based on discipline and habit. Life is a marathon, a journey of highs and lows, and we never stop living in this body until we leave this life.

A science-based trainer uses periodization with clients. Whether you are heading off on vacation, competition, or planned surgery, the trainer who is using periodization in the creation of your program, is giving you the best method to results. Life happens, so plan for it. I can guarantee you ALL MY CLIENTS are familiar with periodization. My 90 Day PowerFIT Program has produced amazing results. And there is an 100% continuation after the 90 Days. It turned into 365 days or more for most.

There are times when a  break in the routine is abrupt and unplanned. Even at those times, we use the periodization blocks. Build your health “bank account” and make “deposits” daily as you never know when you will need your good health. Thinking of my clients at the moment. Jenn, Stacy, and Pam just took a taper week. A work trip, vacation, surgery, and no matter what, we train hard and intense right up to the break. I guarantee you will enjoy your vacation, break, or recovery more when you are in peak condition.

Whether you are an athlete, actress, in public service, or a busy mom, you need organization. No more wondering mindless and randomly through the gym, taking random classes, hit and miss weight training and sporadic running on the weekends. Stop overdoing yoga and underdoing cardio. A reckless diet on top of that and it gets messy and frustrating. Burnout is surely on the horizon. You may have all the stuff like getting to the gym on a regular basis, eating well most of the time. All you need is organization along with a clear roadmap and plan to optimize your exercise “space” or time.

For the cost of a few lunches out you can hire a COACH to keep you on track, no matter how life happens. Start with a consultation.

Let’s break it down.

Periodization

Consists of 3 cycles or blocks of different types of stress correlating to particular goals. The three cycles are Macrocycles, Mesocycles, and Microcycles.

Microcycle

The introduction to training with preparatory work. It is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week or more. Exercise selection, sets, reps, loads, pre-existing conditions, fatigue measurement, improve key physiological abilities and lactate threshold are compiled.

Mesocycle

This cycle can last two weeks to a few months but is typically three or four weeks in length. It is classified into preparation, competition, peaking, and transition phases. Three or four microcycles are tied together to form a mesocycle.

Macrocycle

Includes all stages of the periodization training program. Endurance, intensity, competition, and recovery. It is the longest of the 3 cycles and recommended to last a minimum of 90 days, or preferably one year when starting with new clients. Long term planning produces lasting lifestyle habits and joy.

WHY:

13 out of 15 studies show how periodization improves results.

When you use a form of periodization the benefits include:

  • A rapid increase in both strength and muscle mass
  • A clear outline or blueprint of what you should be doing every day, every week and every month with your fitness
  • Increased recovery potential and energy levels
  • Maximized muscle gains in minimum time
  • Prevents under and overtraining and burnout
  • Combines goals of strength, endurance, and hypotrophy all-in-one
  • Training both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers
  • Weight training with any form of periodization slows aging

The art of training is to know when and how to vary your routine. Remember: too little and/or too much will kill your results and stop your body from progressing setting you up for weight gain and accelerated aging. Modeling your fitness liken to a sport with seasons and variables will bring out the athlete mindset and soon you will be eating and training like an athlete.  The next time you are at that long-awaited wedding celebration enjoying cocktails and cake, you will feel great knowing you are in offseason and will start a new block soon. Because you planned for it.

So take a minute and ask yourself: What are my goals?

What’s my main goal?

  • Fat loss, strength, energy, and/or function.
  • A preventive program for aging, disease, and degeneration of the body and brain.

What type of training program is best for this goal?

What type of nutrition plan supports this type of training?

Your training and diet should reflect your goals. Your nutrition choices and your workouts choices need to work synergistically. Use periodization to help you reach your goals. Many people are lacking the tools to make it happen. Fill your space with the tools and keep your space organized.

Conclusion:

When you look at your health and fitness WHAT SPARKS JOY?

How do I get organized and start a program to include periodization?

#1 Start small. Take a step. What is the one thing with your health and fitness that stands out as a first priority? Is it just doing it on a regular basis? Start there. Show up.

#2 Respect where you are and where you are starting from, get real. Thank your body, mind, and spirit for getting you this far.

Hey, listen if you made it through getting a college degree, raising kids, building a business, you can apply that same commitment to your fitness goals.

#3 Get rid of the old and in with the new. Let go of the nostalgia of your past exercise history. What worked in your 20’s won’t work in your 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. What worked in the past needs to be updated. You are not the same body you were in your 20’s. You are not the same person nor do you have the same life as you did back then. Embrace whatever decade you are in. Stop using the excuse of not having time. Make time.

Periodization training will give you maximum results in minimum time. Start using a proven progressive method of training. Stop under training. Stop overtraining. And keep training even when your motivation is low. Showing up is half the work. Start a notebook today. And fill the notebook with only what you need to succeed. Give it your best and forget the rest.

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training on the Class It Up Virtual Studio and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

What’s Trending in Health and Fitness: Trends of 2019

Any sort of challenge or eating plan should be cleared with your doctor before committing.

JLo 10-Day Challenge:

NICHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IMAGES

This challenge lasts for 10 days and includes cutting out all forms of sugar, carbs, alcohol and caffeine.

No starchy vegetables, candy, baked goods, certain fruits, grains, condiments with sugar, sweeteners (even artificial sweeteners), dairy, soda, and alcohol. The deal breaker for many is no coffee.  

For 10 days, the diet will consist of non-starchy vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. Unsweetened teas and seltzers, nuts, seeds, sugar-free nut butter, meat, eggs, seafood, avocado, spices, and seasoning are also allowed.

Since Jennifer Lopez challenged Hoda from the Today Show. the challenge got some big-time media coverage. With all the buzz, she had a few celebrities join the challenge.

So what are the pros and cons of this trend?

Pros: It brings awareness to the amount of sugar you may be consuming on a daily basis.

Cons: The backlash can be wicked, setting up for a big binge. Not recommended if you have big binge tendencies, a background in eating disorders or struggling with dietary balance. If you are trying to find an eating style that you can live with, steer clear of drastic changes such as this challenge.

With my clients, elimination is replaced with food that is enjoyable. Neuroplasticity is the science of rewiring the brain with reactions and thoughts. This is key to good health and longevity.

A 10-day fast with JLo won’t help you there. Since I startd writing this blog, JLo has now come forward to tell us the REAL reason she did the 10-day challenge, “J.Lo said it was in preparation for her role in the upcoming film, Hustlers, in which she plays a stripper, per J.Lo. ‘I’m sure that the outfits are going to be —,’ she said, motioning to her body, implying that her wardrobe would be skimpy. ‘So I’m, like, getting ready for that’” (Bratskeir, “Jennifer Lopez Revealed…”).

Forming new, healthy habits take 30, 60, or 90 days, and even this falls short to qualify as a habit change. If you are looking for a lifestyle change, plan for a year and commit to real changes that stick.

To summarize, I don’t think this trend is worth the agony, and it only provides extremely short term results. THANK U, NEXT!

Celery Juice:

The “originator of the celery juice movement” is Anthony William, also known as the Medical Medium.

The trend, basically, is adding 16 oz of celery juice to your normal morning routine. That is a plus, adding something to what you already do. Like tacking another post-it note on a bulletin board, you are attaching another healthy habit onto another. I like this kind of challenge! Adding more veggies to your diet is almost always a good idea as the typical American diet is lacking in fresh veggies.

Why celery juice? Celery is packed with vitamins, minerals, and potassium. Most health claims attached to celery juice can be said for all vegetables, and there isn’t much harm to consuming it. Unlike a smoothie, celery juice isn’t loaded with sugar. With its natural form of salt, celery juice can be a component of a healthy diet.

Health Claims of Drinking Celery Juice:

▪️ anti-inflammatory,

▪️lowers blood pressure.

▪️thyroid cleansing*

▪️treats acne

▪️treats athlete-foot fungus

▪️liver detoxification*

▪️melts belly fat

▪️aids in weight loss

▪️boosts hydrochloric acid (HCL)

▪️gut-friendly

▪️improves digestion

▪️promotes a healthy brain

▪️reduces the risk of brain degenerative disease

▪️boosts the immune system

▪️increases energy

▪️purifies skin

▪️reduces bloating

▪️rich in fiber

*THYROID CLEANSING: According to Anthony William, “the mineral salts in celery help to fight and cleanse the body of the Epstein-Barr virus, particularly in the thyroid. Celery can also help to boost the production of important thyroid hormones in those with hypothyroidism” (William, “Health Benefits Of Celery Juice…”).

*LIVER DETOXIFICATION: “Celery’s detoxifying properties work to remove bad bacteria, fungi, mold, viruses and other toxins from the liver; the phytonutrients found in the green stalks also can have a protective effect” (William, “Health Benefits Of Celery Juice…”).

To be honest, I started off skeptical as I committed to drinking celery juice each morning. I am typically not a fan of juicing for nutritional needs or extreme fad dieting. Anything that feeds unhealthy and unrealistic lifestyles habits is concerning.

I am a big fan of eating real food and living a healthy-diet lifestyle. As a Personal Trainer, Certified Health Coach, and Fitness/Lifestyle Expert, I understand the need for some to crash, cleanse, or take drastic measures in attempts to lose weight and improve health. For me, with weight training and bodybuilding, I could not survive on a liquid diet alone.

Food is medicine. Eat whole food whenever possible.

Diet is powerful. With a personalized diet, you can reduce body fat, increase muscle, reduce inflammation, and address your specific health profile. Just like a fitness training program, there is not a one-size-fits-all diet plan. Need a little extra help getting your diet right based on your health and fitness goals? Hire a pro HERE.

So what are the pros and cons of this trend?

Pros: Celery juice is a top anti-inflammatory food. This high water content vegetable is a good way to stay hydrated. I recommend eating a high water content diet (aka eat your water} as hydration is good for digestion and skin. Celery is readily available, although my neighborhood Ralphs was sold out of it on my last trip to the store. I use a Nutri-bullet and a nut bag to make it super easy to cleanup. ORDER HERE. (Scroll down to the Kitchen Gadgets & Appliances sections).

Cons: It takes 5-10 minutes in the morning to clean, clean, blend, and clean the juicer. You may experience acne breakouts and frequent urination. Mild eructation occurs in some as well.

Healthy routines first thing in the morning create motivation to carry you through the rest of the day. Here are my tips if you are going to give the juice a try:

DO use organic

DO use the pulp for baking or making celery crisp

DO keep it fresh

DO drink on an empty stomach

DO clean celery thoroughly before consuming

DOES balance ph levels

DOES contain Concentrated Phytonutrients

DON’T make ahead as it changes the cellular structure, therefore, limiting the benefits

DON’T mix with other juices

Here’s to my bodybuilders: Research shows that when celery juice is consumed as a pre-workout drink, it can increase circulation, promote endurance, and enhance strength training with its natural substance content. Talk about a natural pre-workout drink!

For this trend, I say I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED! But so far, I’ve had more energy for my workouts. I’ve skipped my afternoon 10-minute power naps on occasion. I don’t have such a strong urge to drink a second cup of coffee. I’ve had an acne breakout (which is very unusual). And yes, I have found myself peeing often. Bloated initially, but that went away.

Scraping

I came across scraping when I experienced a shoulder injury from weight training. I have tried cupping for various treatments, but scraping was new for me.

Scraping is also known as the Gua Sha technique. This centuries old method of scraping muscle tissue to stimulate blood flow and to promote healing has helped my shoulder injury. The pain relief is noticeable and lasts for hours.

Another name for scraping is the Graston Technique® (GT)  as it involves rubbing the skin’s surface to help break up energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.

So what are the pros and cons of this trend?

Pros: Scraping treats everything from perimenopause symptoms, cold, headaches, lung problems, fevers, inflammation, scar tissue, cellulite, adhesions, stiffness, poor circulation, frozen shoulder, golfers elbow, and weak immune system. You can do it on yourself depending on what body part you are treating. It is less costly than major medical treatments. Scraping speeds up muscle recovery.

Cons: It hurts. Bruising can occur. There are not enough studies on this method for specific treatments.

Do not use if you bleed easily or are on blood thinner medications,

Do not use if you have deep vein thrombosis

Do not use if you have medical conditions of the skin or veins

Do not use with a pacemaker or internal defibrillator

If you are considering scraping, it may help with pain relief. It is recommended that this method is administered by a trained physical therapist.

A 2014 study found that “Gua Sha improved the range of movement and reduced pain in people who used computers frequently compared with a control group that had no treatment” (“Journal of Medical Technology and Physical Therapy”).

In a 2017 study, “weightlifters who had Gua Sha felt that lifting weights took less effort after treatment. This could suggest that the treatment speeds up muscle recovery” (“Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine”).

Takeaway: From my experience, a scraper is a great tool for the gym bag. Purchase a scraper HERE. (Scroll down to the Wellness section). I will continue to use this treatment. Keep you posted!

Sources used in this blog:

JLo Interview

Thyroid Cleansing & Liver Detoxification of Celery Juice

2017 Study (Scraping)

2015 Study (Scraping)

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training on the Class It Up Virtual Studio and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore.

This Fitness Thing…Get in the game!

Super Bowl weekend is here!

I want you to enjoy this weekend to the fullest! Fitness can be fun, it should make you feel happy and proud.

Make a promise to yourself that you will enjoy guilt-free. If you have all the guacamole and chips you desire, buffalo wings, and a few of your favorite adult beverages, so what? Your fitness goals and healthy lifestyle will be there come Monday. It’s not a competition, no end goal or score to make here. There is not a day, time, month, or year at which you need to achieve or arrive at your perfect life or fitness level. No need to stress or rush to the finish line. Consistency over perfection. This is the long game here, you are playing for life. It’s not for 90 days, 30 days, or until you complete the juice cleanse. This game is for life and fitness is forever.

Now, let’s get your mind into the game. There is nothing wrong with ‘falling off the wagon’ when making a healthy habit lifestyle change. For everyone except the perfect one, it is guaranteed you will fall off, be forced off, or voluntarily step off at some point. Have a plan in place for this play.  Make a promise to yourself that you won’t use it as an excuse to say, “I can’t do it” and quit. Replace that thought with an affirmation or a new thought.

Affirmations will change your brain. Neuroplasticity is the science of rewiring the brain with reactions and thoughts. A 30-day juice diet won’t reset anything but your metabolism, leaving you with the same mindset. As we become older, it becomes harder to change our thoughts. Now is the time to learn a new way, a new thought pattern.

I get so excited when my clients have a breakthrough in thinking. This training and coaching season has been amazing with many client breakthroughs. When given the ball, they scored. I feel I have won the super bowl! Having the privilege to train and coach people from all different walks of life and locations, I am clearly moved as I witnessed this real and lasting change. We can talk macros, meal plans, and weight all day, but until a client is ready and willing to show up at practice and do all the work, everything is temporary. Whether it’s undereating, overeating, or poor nutritional choices, mindset and diet is the main game when it comes to health and fitness.

Keep in mind when you see all the before and after pictures that flood social media, what you can’t see is a mind change. You can’t see is if there was a healthy mind change or not. You can’t exercise your way out of an old mindset. It will catch up to you when you least expect it.

“I can exercise with regularity, but don’t ask me to change my diet.”  

“I’m not ready for that part of the program.”

And then one day for one reason or another, something changes. When the shift happens with a client, I get goosebumps! When I can hear and see the difference in clients and the way they see their life and fitness, I know we have arrived at a new level of thinking. The super bowl of athletic minds. If you have a body, you are an athlete. These are the REAL RESULTS!

I love when change lasts a year, two years, a lifetime. Wisdom comes with consistency. Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing all the weight come back on. That won’t be you, not this time. Get in the game and stop sitting on the sidelines. Nothing is more important than your health, no more excuses. Learn to live healthy and happy. YOU CAN DO IT!

Don’t delay, sign up for a coaching package here.

New Year, New Recipes!

Let’s make it gluten free while we spill the tea! 🍵

Doesn’t this Gluten Free Blueberry Cake look delish?! With the dark days of January, why not whip this cake up and share with friends and family, guilt-free. Don’t forget your tea 😉

As a health coach, I often recommend that my clients try one new recipe per week. If one new recipe per week seems daunting, at least try one new recipe per month. Food should be healthy, interesting, enjoyable, and fun.

However, gluten-free is not for everyone. Celiac disease and non-celiac sensitivity in people require a gluten-free diet. Always eat a healthy, balanced diet based on your invidual dietary needs. Trade the coconut flour for whole wheat/oat flour if you prefer!

Here is the recipe from the Today Show.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (packed) almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preparation

To bake in the oven:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Liberally coat a 6-cup bundt or tube pan with coconut oil spray.

2. Add in all the ingredients except the blueberries to a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Gently stir in the blueberries by hand.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a cake stand. After the cake cools completely, you can then cut it into slices. 

To bake in a pressure cooker:

1. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover with foil. Pour about 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker. Put the cake pan on the trivet and gently lower it into the cooker.

2. Place the lid on the cooker and set the vent valve to the SEALING position. Using the display panel, select the MANUAL, PRESSURE COOK function, high pressure and use the +/- buttons until the display reads 30 minutes.

3. When the cooking time is up, perform a quick release by moving the pressure knob from the SEALING to the VENTING position. Using caution, open the cooker and lift the cake pan out. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes and remove the foil before turning it out onto a cake stand.

Reprinted with permission from “Instant Loss” by Brittany Williams.


Healthy Holiday Tips

Healthy Holiday Tips by Kathy Dolan

Do you find yourself over-indulging at the end of the day? End of the week? End of the year? Does it start with Halloween and go strong through the New Year? Let’s start with a typical day, and then add the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and before you know it, you are feeling depressed and a few pounds heavier. It’s a cycle, or mindset, that can be changed with lifestyle choices if you are ready.

You have ended your day feeling accomplished about your tons of productivity, and are exhausted, causing your willpower to be low.

You know the drill, you come through the door at the end of the day, toss your keys down, and change into your comfy sweats and slippers.  This is the most crucial part of your evening mindset. How can you get through the morning and afternoon, sticking to your plan, and totally lose it at the end of the day? Your mindset is telling you, “I earned that handful of M&Ms!”  Your evening may be lacking routine, structure, and willpower.  A little structure, which should include kicking your feet up and chillin’ time, is a must. Yes. You got this.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Lifestyle with creative ways to avoid evening, weekly, and/or annual over-indulging:

  • Establish an evening routine, and shoot for 80% consistency. Holiday months included.
  • Consistent, moderate exercise regulates hormones, moods, and blood sugars, so make sure to schedule time for physical activity. Do your best to keep your training sessions throughout the holiday/winter months. Come April, you’ll be so glad you did. 
  • Does your career have you talking all day at work? At some point in the evening routine, curb your tendency to talk unnecessarily, and settle into the rejuvenation of silence,  whenever possible. Our 5:30 pm Yoga Sessions include lots of quiet time to meditate and rejuvenate.
  • Are you exposed to lots of people, kids, and germs throughout your everyday life, and even more so at the holiday season? Try using a neti pot, air purifier, or humidifier to help keep the lungs clear of congestion. Create a purified environment in your home to end each day.
  • Apply lavender oils combined with coconut oil to hydrate the skin. This practice regulates emotions of anxiety, depression, fear, and nervousness. Need oils? Purchase them here
  • Commit to a regular meditation & prayer practice to assist in quieting, centering and grounding the active mind. Journal your thoughts at the end of the day. What three feeling was dominant throughout the day?
  •  Learn and practice right nostril breathing: Close your left nostril using the ring finger on your right hand. Inhale through your right nostril for 6-8 seconds, then exhale through the same nostril for 6-8 seconds.  7-10 rounds, a few times a day or whenever you feel stress. Create a healthy habit that will enhance the Yang Sun energy that helps keep the body warm as the temperature drops in winter months. Learn more in my winter session yoga classes.
  • Hydrate all day, but especially at the end of your day. Make it a ritual.
  • Turn off all lights from electronic devices.  Use a diffuser (click on the link and look under the ‘Wellness’ category) with natural sounds with or without light.
  • Lights out for bed at 10:00 p.m.  Try to get a full eight hours of sleep and awake when the sun rises. Sleep is vital for health and well being.
You have heard the tendency of putting on 8-12 pounds over the holidays, right?! Did you know it takes most people 6-8 months to get that 8-12 pounds off? Some never do, and the weight continues to creep up year after year. You can enjoy the holidays with a healthy mindset. Drop the all-or-nothing thinking today! You can do it. Change your mindset, change your life.

Wool Dryer Balls! Have you tried them?

So as we were sitting around after our Thanksgiving dinner, the topic of “best things to get at the dollar store” came up. And my son mentioned that the best thing he liked buying at the dollar store was dryer sheets.

This was my inspiration to finally get this topic on my blog.

I have never been a great fan of strong scents and most dryer softeners are crazzzzy strong.  I know, I know, the fragrance is associated with cleanliness.

First, let me say as far as the FDA stands, they are generally “recognized as safe.’’ However, so is your Red Bull or BANG. That said, I am a big advocate for living a mostly healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle. Besides being so picky with the fragrance that I choose to enter my body, the main reason I choose to use wool dryer balls or nothing at all is because of the many  harmful chemicals such as:

-BPA

-Benzyl Acetate

-Benzyl Alcohol

-Ethyl Acetate

-Limonene

-Linalool

-Phthalates

-QUATS (quaternary ammonium compounds) which is linked to asthma.

-Stearic acid

Health problems ranging from a headache, lightheadedness, asthma, and fatigue, to serious organ and central nervous system damage, and even cancer.

Still not convinced?

To all my Fit Family, with 90% of our laundry being workout wear, fabric softener and dryer sheets shouldn’t be used with athletic sportswear, spandex & nylon garments.

With all that Stearic acid coating your lulus you are disabling the wicking capabilities.

A big price to pay for already big priced items!

Alternatives:

-Try using baking soda in the wash cycle to soften clothes

-Add a quarter cup of white vinegar (does the dollar store carry vinegar and baking soda??).

-Wool dryer balls are my pick! These little gems are natural, chemical-free and inexpensive. Like your costly dryer sheets, they eliminate static, cut down the drying time by 8-10 minutes, soften clothes, and help to heat the dryer faster.

To use, put in 3-6 wool balls in the dryer with one drop of a doTERRA essential oil (you can purchase oils here) of your choice on each ball (I like to use grapefruit or lavender). Clothes come out with a great, natural scent and no static cling. You can purchase wool dryer balls here.