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Even When It’s Cold

Winter Wonderland~

You might think I’m about to tell you I was out exercising in the fresh fallen snow early last Sunday morning with a group of enthusiastic gals, but I’m not going to tell you that. The truth is….

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….I was thoroughly enjoying a typical Sunday morning, lounging in mushy jammies with a steaming mug of strong, black java, updating client profiles, planning posts and skimming Facebook. My heaven~

This particular Sunday I gazed out the windows and was mesmerized by a wild wind that was whipping up frosty snow swirls over the ominously ice-grey lake. My thoughts? “There’s no place like home.”

As I scrolled through Facebook, a friend’s post caught my eye. This idyllic scene; a beautiful photo of a motivated bunch of girls strolling through a refreshing winter morning. Wow.

I pointedly looked to see when it was posted and was surprised to find it had been added only minutes prior. In that swirling snow. This group of gals were taking a Winter Walk!

How incredibly awesome was that? (It was practically a blizzard outdoors.) Kudo’s girls!

While I’m not likely to give up my Sacred Sunday ritual, I was curious to review the benefits of exercising outside, even in the cold.

Icy Inspiration

We all know it’s tough to find motivation to exercise (ANY day) let alone outside on a frigid day. During the work week most of us begin and end our days in utter darkness tinged with a frosty chill. The winter sunshine is appreciated but it’s not all that enticing when it barely warms up the day. We’re compelled to stay indoors, find warmth and forget about fitness until the spring thaw.

But for some, like the girls who were out walking on that frosty morning, outdoor activity is preferable to a crowded, stuffy gym and I was pretty impressed and inspired by their tenacity and spirit! Ballsy babes!

A Doctor of Natural Medicine and a Personal Fitness Strategist agree.

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Winter Warrior Rosemarie

My sister-in-law, Rosemarie, was one of those Winter Warriors. Later that same evening we had the opportunity to talk about exercising outdoors, even when it’s cold.  Rosemarie is Doctor of Natural Medicine, owner of Infinite Healing and an incredibly intuitive healer.

We agreed that cold weather training can be a perfect opportunity to increase the benefits of exercise, health and longevity. Here are the reasons we felt were most important:

You can burn more calories.

The body works hard to regulate core temperature in the cold, you’ll burn more calories during a wintry outdoor workout compared to one indoors.

Overall calorie burn will vary with each person’s body mass and the extremity of the temperature, but it’s a great perk to burn a few more without the extra sweat and effort.

You can strengthen your heart.

Cold weather makes your heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. A regular exerciser with good cardiovascular endurance can strengthen their heart with cold-weather sessions. You’ll be ready for more strenuous workouts in the future. (Non-exercise stresses too!).

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Skater? Not sure but I’m in the game!

You can build a tolerance for the frigid season.

It’s damn hard to force yourself outside for the first walk/workout of the winter season but over time it gets easier. Adjust your expectations as you acclimate rather than push for your typical “good-weather” training levels. Pay attention to your effort as opposed to hitting certain time, distance or other performance goal. Learn to enjoy the process.

You can get a good dose of vitamin D.

Even when it’s cold, the extra sun exposure will supply you with the same important nutrients as it does during warmer seasons. The benefit feels like “more” in the winter because natural light is already so restricted.

You can feel energized and happier.

Cold-weather exercise will boost your mood. There’s no humidity to drag you down and the chill is stimulating. As the body works hard to stay warm, more endorphins are produced which leaves you feeling a strong sense of happiness – you’ll feel younger!

You should embrace the winter months.

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Me on a Tube!

  • Find a group of friends to kick your butt into gear.
  • Take the kids tubing and strive to keep up.
  • Get out your ancient ice skates and give them a twirl.
  • Rent some snowshoes, go for a walk with them on.
  • Organize a Pond hockey league!
  • Learn to Curl
  • Just get out and walk!
  • Ski!

Make fitness a bigger part of your life by extending your workouts to outside the gym while doing something fun. Exercising in the cold weather is going to make you hot!  (yep I just said that, cheesy I know!)

 

Get inspired. Get geared up. Get prepared. Plan your next adventure.

Winter activities can be as simple as organizing a walk with the girls or gathering the family for a skate. With bit of travel you could find Winter Snow Tubing in the country. It may take some research but you could perhaps find Snowshoeing at local golf course, winery  or through a pretty wooded estate. Ski weekends, sledding afternoons, snow angels moments…..even shoveling can be a fun and beneficial. Really!

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My Mack

Here, (in the Niagara Region of Ontario and Western New York) there are tons of opportunities to get out and you just need to do that – get outside!

Do something you’ve never done before and you’ll get a life you’ve never had before.

My personal favorite-Winter runs with Mack: This guy is the best workout partner I’ve ever had! Can you imagine keeping up with that!

<————– Happy, happy happy Bulldog~

Anyway….you get the idea.

 

Get out of that lazy-boy recliner before you begin to look like one! Fresh air and exercise will take care of many health concerns and you’re just going to be happier. That, and you’ll be away from the fridge!

Have a fantastic winter and promise me you’ll get out and play! ~karen

About the Author

nourish1Hi! I’m Karen Pilote – My job title (I suppose) is “Personal Trainer” but lately I’m liking the term “Personal Fitness Strategist.” I help people find unique and individual strategies for implementing fitness into their lives. I’m skilled at making plans for achieving a goal, and I’m good at forming strategies (which is OH SO (so!) important when we’re talking about fitness.

One size programs do not fit all and one (rigid) plan will not suffice for the long term. Your weight-loss journey’s going to follow a winding road; face it. It will be a mountainous climb at times; prepare for it.  It will bumpy ride for most of the trip; buckle up. But you can do it; believe it!

 

Honestly, it’s going to be confusing and you’ll need the support of an intuitive guide to help trouble shoot the challenges along the way. That’s me!

Sure, I can send you a program, tell you what to eat, explain and teach you the exercises but lot’s of people can do that for you – actually, you can find it all on the internet.

But I excel at tuning into what you’re feeling. My strength lies in understanding your confusion and fetching you back when you’re lost. I’m supportive when you’re disillusioned and I’m sure of your success even when you’re not.

Failure is not an option and I’ll never let you quit on yourself! I believe in you and I see what you can be- I will teach you to find that person and bear the challenges with some cursing and chuckling along way.

My program is called The Action Plan– it’s an general guide and plan to follow as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Read more about it here: The Action Plan

My workouts are found on Get Fit Over 40 – Pinterest. Free. I’m sure you’ll find them challenging and unique. For the most valuable use of the boards and cardio routines it’s best to set goals and follow the general plan outlined in The Action Plan.

I’m on Facebook Page Karen Pilote – Get Fit Over 40 for daily motivation and light-hearted humor and inspiration. (At least I like to think so, lol) See you there!

 

The Fit Life – Gerda is Fit Over 40

“I started my fitness journey and one of the glaring reasons I did was the feeling of ‘un-sureness’ I had doing ordinary things. Feeling unsteady, vulnerable and timid about stairs, long walks, hikes. At age 50 I wasn’t ready to stop doing the things I liked. I made a change, took charge and never looked back.” Meet Gerda!

I’m Gerda Collins

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“At 53 years of age, I’ve come to the place in my life that intend to do things that really move and inspire me. Confidence has come to reside in my being.  I’ve been married 34 years and have 2 children, and 2 grandchildren. I feel very privileged to be called wife, mother, and grandmother.”

My Fitness Journey

“Proper health and fitness have ‘eluded’ me most of my life. Recently several family crises and my own declining health left me in a sorry state of stress and fatigue. On October 22, 2014, unwilling to resign to this as my life now, I embarked on a new lifestyle; not a fad program or diet, but I made a real and sustainable change by overhauling my brain and body.

I began by enlisting professional help. I hired a personal trainer who understand clients Over 40, and began a weight lifting program, cardio and “clean eating”.

The accountability of meeting with someone regularly has helped me greatly. I started out with a simple 15 minute walk twice daily and 2 sessions per week in the gym. Over time, I learned to work all the muscle groups, learned to ‘listen’ to my body and become aware of what my muscles were doing (and not doing)!

Each week my walk increased by 10 minutes and soon I was doing 1 hour a day and 3 gym sessions a week.  Now I work out on my own, 4 times a week in the gym: 1 hour lifting weights and 30 minutes of cardio (usually elliptical). I also do 45 minutes of cardio on my home treadmill twice a week. Currently I meet with my trainer 3 times a month because I need a push to stay motivated, make sure I’m on track and my form is correct to avoid injury.”

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Clean Eating

“Early on in my journey I began eating clean (very limited processed foods); protein, veggies and slow carbs (mainly sweet potato or brown rice).  By following a strict food plan I started to realize that even though I wasn’t a ‘binge’ eater, I had formed some very emotional attachments to food. When I didn’t have to think about what to eat  (I do meal preparations for one week at a time) I became free of those emotions… wow.. that was an eye opener!

“Food is fuel.. and I’m fueling a Maserati not a moped!”

I now plan my ‘cheat meals’ or ‘re-feeds’ very carefully. I don’t eat junk because I truly don’t want to.  I choose real and well-prepared foods. If I have a special event coming up I plan for it and allow myself that occasion to enjoy (within reason) what I want. 

One thing that was VERY hard to get through my head initially was not eating enough calories! I slowly began to understand that depriving myself was not helping my cause in any way.  “Fuel for the gains” is what I hear from fellow lifters. Now I know that when you exercise 6 days a week, you need plenty of fuel to feed growing muscles and muscles burn a lot of fat!”

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Fitness Friends

“I found great encouragement and ‘kinship’ online, the lifting-community is FULL of people eager to help. Both online and in person, #grandmaswholift are not as rare as one might think.

It’s been 11 months and I’m 45 pounds lighter and a lot stronger! I still have to lose 40 pounds, but I know I can do that. I just know it now! I’ve increased my energy and have confidence in my ability to accomplish any goal I set!

I really feel that if I can do this anyone can. (I mean 99.9%) In the past I’ve been the worst disciplined person and it’s true what they say, ‘You have to come to that place where you say enough! I REALLY want this.’ And then you find your inner strength…..

Just typing this makes me cry; I think ‘Why did it take me so long!?’ And yes, I’m doing this now and you can too. Stay the course!”

Get Fit Over 40

Thank you for sharing your story Gerda! (Instagram @gerdasgarden)

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I’m inspired every single day by women around the world, friends of GFO40. I have “down-days” when I think “I’m not making a difference” and then I recall the women I’ve witnessed experience this emotion… this elation… this aha moment….and it’s then I wish every single woman on earth knew how good they could feel if they just let themselves. Thank you so much again Gerda and my many supportive friends. We are Fit Over 40. Please join us, there are so many wonderful life experiences yet to be enjoyed- get strong for your future.

~karen

The Fit Life – Barbara is Fit Over 40

“You have one body. Care for it and feed it well, it’s the only place you have to live.” I truly believe the fountain of youth is found in the gym, in the classroom (yoga, spin, boxing…. whatever!), in the pool…….. and a nice glass of red wine doesn’t hurt.” Meet Barb!

I’m Barbara Joan Warwick

barb10599248_10204157238028409_7532160826461057141_n“I’m about to turn 48, married and my two kids are in college, age 20 and 21. I am the Chief Compliance Officer for an elder healthcare agency. My career in illness and death has influenced my outlook: I’m really grateful to live every single day of this life.”

A Fit Life

“I work out at the gym 5 days a week doing interval weight training with relatively heavy weight and run. On the weekends I’ll pop into a yoga class, ride my bike, run with my dogs, hike or paddle board; it just depends where I am and what’s around.

I love to cook and I love to eat! And most importantly for me is that fitness has become a family thing. My husband and kids also work out.”

 I Have No Choice

“I got serious about fitness at 40 because I had to…..

It was Mothers Day and I was feeling dizzy, sweating profusely and hearing a ring in my ears. I was diagnosed with hypertension. My blood pressure read 240/130 and that put me in the stroke zone. My cholesterol was nearing 500, and my LDL was 180. A whole series of tests came back negative and doctors concluded that my medical condition was genetic.

I couldn’t believe it! I was kind of angry at the situation, to put it nicely. At the time I was 40 years old and maintained a healthy body-weight. I was fairly active (coached girls soccer for 8 years), never smoked, and followed a decent diet.  The cardiologist put me on a gigantic list of meds.”

I Knew I Could Do Better

11903290_10205980460047820_1690861364_n“I overhauled my habits. I started running everyday and lifting weights with a trainer a few times a week. I cut out most red meats and fat. (I’m not a sweets eater so I didn’t have to overcome that) My body started to change and the muscle tone was pretty noticeable.

Surprisingly, I lost about 20 lbs over a year and my size shrank: I was a solid size 10 then, and now I’m a 6-8 depending. More than that though, I was determined to get off all the meds. I signed up for every 5k or obstacle run I could find, you know, to always have a goal to reach. That commitment kept me honest, no skipping the gym. It also made a HUGE difference in my level of stress.”

A Fit Future

“Fast forward to now and I take only a single small dose of blood pressure medication, a small dose of cholesterol medication and an aspirin a day. My resting heart rate lies around 70. My BP is 120/75, and my total cholesterol is down to 180 and the LDL is 60!

I truly believe my commitment has battled my genetics and I’m winning! I tore my left meniscus early last year. I kept working out, kept walking with a brace and postponed surgery until this spring.

barb10896909_10204352551151115_4168079449351867643_nThe recovery was surprisingly not too bad. I can’t run uphill, nor do I try walking lunges but for the most part I can do what I want. It’s taking time and does still hurt. The repair, which is common, has a 50/50 chance of improvement. It has improved, despite some pain, but the clicking and popping has stopped. It’s been five months and I am really back to normal.”

“I’d like women Over 40 to know: A fit lifestyle isn’t about vanity.  We’ve likely had a couple of kids and earned a few wrinkles and dimples. It’s about QUALITY. It’s about DOING! Exercise is not a punishment. It’s a privilege and it’s an investment in yourself mentally, physically and spiritually.”

Thank-you for sharing your story Barb!

Get Fit Over 40

karenuntitled-74HEADERI’ve been fortunate to meet and become friends with many woman over the years at Get Fit Over 40. I’ve come to realize that pictures tell nothing of the challenges and triumphs they each face in becoming and maintaining a Fit Lifestyle Over 40. These woman inspire me to stay in the game of social media as they share their wisdom, inspiration and motivation. Real Woman who are Fit Over 40: I invite you to share your story too! Message me here or on the Facebook page Get Fit Over 40. When we lift one another we are all lifted! Thank you for being part of the GFO40 family. xo ~karen

Build a Brick House

Are you considering a strict diet and bootcamp exercise to make up for summer weight gain? Think again because you’re running out of time, and those quick weight loss schemes never work out in the long run!

As we age it becomes more and more difficult for our bodies to rebound from trauma; crash dieting and “blitz” exercising is traumatic to the human body. It’s an assault that weakens your body, and a weak, sickly body cannot magically morph into a strong and lean physique…it just can’t.

That’s why it’s important to start with “reasonable” and gradually progress to “moderate” so that you can naturally adjust to “vigorous”….

You need to build yourself up!

What most people think of as “conventional dieting,” (slashing calories and eliminating whole food groups) actually tears down the body structure, weakens the foundation of health and creates an unstable environment that will actually diminish your ability to lose weight and remain healthy and strong in the years to come.

BUILD A STRONG, SOLID HOUSE

You need good quality building materials to build a strong and solid house and you need a specific amount of building material to complete the house of your dreams.

BUILD A STRONG, SOLID BODY

So too with your body. If you’re to achieve a strong and healthy physique you need good quality food and you need a specific amount of food to build and maintain that physique.

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Lasting Quality

A well-built home is easier to maintain and requires less maintenance than a poorly built home. A fit and healthy physique is easier to maintain than one that is starved, weak and sickly.

A well-built home takes longer to build but is worth the investment; same too for a body that will perform and thrive for many years to come.

Do it right the first time!

The Planning Stage

There are standard calculations required to build a house.

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When you’re investing time and hard-earned money, you do the groundwork, right? You calculate costs, research materials, establish a time line and figure out the game plan…….

Plan for a strong body too; formulate and follow a game plan for your health and weight loss.

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Calculate your calorie needs, choose wholesome foods, plan your grocery list and prepare your food. It takes time to succeed; preparation, contemplation and organization are part of “the life”.

 How?

Start with the very basics: nutrition and exercise.

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Energy balance is the relationship between “energy in” (food calories taken into the body through food and drink) and “energy out” (calories being used in the body for our daily energy requirements).

HOW MANY CALORIES SHOULD I EAT?

Figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy expressed in calories that a person needs to keep the body functioning at rest. Some of those processes are breathing, blood circulation, controlling body temperature, cell growth, brain and nerve function, and contraction of muscles.) The body’s energy needs include the amount of energy required for maintenance at rest, physical activity and movement, and for food digestion, absorption, and transport.

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You can determine your probable optimal calorie need using a simple formula that calculates BMR. You can find BMR calculators all over the internet, here’s a good one: BMR Calculator. Once you’ve nailed down the number you can retrain the body to consume and utilize the nutrients, overcome poor eating habits and gain the energy you need to train intelligently. You’ll adapt!

The Action Plan

The Action Plan energy balance section sets general guidelines for the calories you should be taking in. You need these (quality) calories to build that brick house, so don’t scrimp! Start your program with maintenance level calories to restore nutrients and provide the fuel you need to exercise. Once you are recharged with good food it’s easy to manipulate the calories in order to prompt fat loss.

Kerri’s Calculations

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Kerri S. is an  Action Eight participant; one of 8 women I worked with personally and started The Action Plan earlier this summer (2015).

Kerri was shocked to learn her body requires 1800 calories to function optimally. She’s getting her head around it but it’s difficult to fathom successful weight loss when eating that much.

I point out to her that 1800 calories of wholesome food may seem like “too much” to lose weight, BUT the “sneaky snacking” and nibbling has been the too much!“. 

When Kerri divides those 1800 calories by 5  (3 “meals” and 2 “snacks”), consuming the appropriate amount of food becomes easier to manage. 360 calories per meal is an average clean eating meal and 1800 calories of clean food IS GOING TO BUILD LEAN MUSCLE, which will burn fat.

And that’s the whole point: scale weight is secondary to how you feel, how you look and how you function.

Fat Loss Success

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Kerri is a ways from “getting it all right”.  She’s learning and she’s striving to make better choices. With only the few strategies that she has grasped and applied so far, her efforts are already paying off. Initial comparison photos show changes in her physique and she reports feeling energetic, confident and excited to continue. She has a plan and she’s following the blueprint to building a healthy fit body!

HIT Cardio + Weights + Better Food Choices

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Kerri has a quirky instability in her back that requires modifications during exercise. She is realizing the importance of good nutrition in building strong muscles to support her weak links. Adding a basic weight training routine focuses appropriate loads on her weak areas. With a balanced program of HIT cardio (modified), resistance training and supportive nutritional strategies, she is reaching her goals!

Relevant exercise (that is, exercise that is appropriate for your goals) and proper nutrition will work for you too – even if you’re Over 40. Never doubt it, just get doing it! Build a strong and solid “brick house”.

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Okay? It’s time to get rolling!

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Have a Fit Day!

~karen

Health Issues? Get Fit Anyway!

I will decide how I age.

I have control. 

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But, There Will Be Snags

Exercising while dealing with chronic or acute health conditions is tough. Often, the issue keeps you from doing the very thing that will have a positive effect on the condition. At the outset of a therapeutic training program you’ll feel an exaggeration of symptoms or new ones…..exercise is unpleasant (for beginners) under the best circumstances. When you feel lousy, it’s worse. Sometimes bad enough to pull the covers up over your head and ignore the problem, right?

Wrong.

Remember, you want better.

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Exercise and Health Conditions

If you’re experiencing fatigue, lethargy or pain due to a health issue, the last thing you want to do is bounce, lift, jiggle or add to the discomfort in any way. The last thing you want to do is, quite frankly, the thing that you must do! You have to move arthritic joints. You have to circulate oxygen through the veins. You have to build stronger circulatory, respiratory and cardiovascular systems that will cause healthy adaptations in all areas of the body.

Good nutrition and relevant exercise will promote healthy body weight and ease the burden on body systems so that you can heal, and there are very few medical conditions that are not positively affected by a healthy, active lifestyle.

But you already know that…..

Now, if you’re looking for an excuse NOT to exercise, NOT to improve or NOT to succeed, you can stop right here. No one will blame you for that. It’s hard! But if you accept that it’s you alone who decides your future (and you DO want a future of optimum health), then you’ll want to continue reading and meet Debbie.

Debbie’s conditions are not imminently life-threatening yet they could spiral into a serious situation. Her unique health challenges (circulatory), together with the universal “womanly” related (menopausal) challenges AND genetics have fueled her current quest for better health, improved body composition and yes, weight loss. She’s ready to fight and I’m all on board to help steer!

Meet Debbie:
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“Hi, my name is Debbie,

I’m a married mother of two, grandmother of five and I work full-time.

I’ve battled my weight for most of my adult life and tried many fad diets with little success.

In my early 40’s I hit a record high of 172 lbs. I thought to myself,  it’s time to do something before major health issues develop. I started walking and trying to cut back and then I tried a popular weight loss program (WW) and made some progress.

Over next few years I added a variety of activities such as circuit training, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and exercise videos. I lost 30 lbs. and I’m proud to say I have kept it off for over 10 years (still a struggle at times). In the last 3 years I started cardio classes and began to do some light weight workouts (3-5 lbs).

As a menopausal woman, I was concerned with bone loss, toning, and wanted to rid myself of those last 10 lbs. that I couldn’t shake off no matter how much I mixed things up. So, in February, I joined a local gym and had the pleasure of trying a variety of classes (Piyo, yoga, and, Bodybomb). All of the classes were great, each targeting specific needs.

I’m now under the guidance of Karen, with her expertise and Action Plan. In only 4 weeks I’m already seeing results in weight loss and body transformation!  I am lifting heavier weights (10,15, and 20 lbs. depending on the exercise) and using machines with weights up to 45 lbs.

I do have a few health concerns; pernicious anemia, varicose veins, restless leg, CVI, and Spina Bifida occult. It hasn’t been easy!  Karen and I have made modifications such as reduced reps & weight, and longer rest periods…(to catch my breath and check for a pulse ha ha!).

I’m eager to see where my transformation journey will take me. I know I wouldn’t have had such success without the encouragement and support of Karen and my workout girls. I feel stronger, healthier, and more energized than ever.

Thanks a million for helping me make it happen!

Debbie L.”

Debbie’s Action Plan

This is a workout routine from the Action Plan.

Four months ago Deb would have taken one look at it (in total confusion) and walked away. While she didn’t walk away, she didn’t get through it either!

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You see, it takes time, effort, tenacity and determination to do a board; you have to learn the routine, the terms, the exercises, and the sets and reps. You have to suffer the uncertainty. You have to show up and give it what you’ve got that day.

You’ve got to fail.

Debbie did all those things and she did them consistently. Even now, four months later, the boards are tough to get through most days. Debbie has learned and now understands: it’s the tough days when she plugs through (at whatever intensity she can muster), that she’s making gains. She’s growing stronger in mind and body, and that’s what it’s all about!

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My Two Cents

Deb was successful at losing 30 pounds ten years ago because she altered her habits. She maintained her loss because she stayed active and ate (relatively) well; the changes became a lifestyle that continue to support her new life and physique.

Fast Forward to Now 

Debbie wants more improvement and to move forward. To make further physical and health progress from this new position she has to implement further lifestyle adjustments. I want her to lift weights and tighten up her diet;  she’s agreed that these are reasonable and understandable “next steps”.

Although Debbie lives and enjoys a good lifestyle, I intuit that it’s still a struggle. From our conversations, I gather that nutrition isn’t always easy and there’s an underlying fear of losing control and gaining weight back if she’s not diligent and “on top of her game” at all times. I explain that, although her bodyweight is down, body composition is still an issue. By increasing lean body tissue, (muscle) with weight training, she can change the shape of her body and easily maintain a strong healthy physique for many years to come. She’d then be able to better manage her health conditions as well.

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I gave Debbie (and the Action Eight) a very general resistance training routine to follow for one month. She struggled with exercise form, but even at that she’s experienced dramatic change. We’ll work closely together as she implements a more specific weight training plan to target her unique needs. We’ll monitor her progress, make adjustments and continue to refine her nutritional habits. I want to keep it as flexible as possible for her busy life as a wife, mom, grandma and full-time employee.

One Month Progress – Un-retouched Photos

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It’s possible to Get Fit Over 40 and it needn’t take years. With health conditions, it possible to Get Fit Over 40 anyway!

It does takes appropriate action, knowing when to switch it up and focus on new goals (having achieved previous ones). Ask Debbie!

The Action Plan and Get Fit Over 40 will get you there!

Get Fit Over 40 With Us!

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Follow this blog for updates on all of the ACTION EIGHT girls.

Subscribe to the GFO40 Newsletter to get the workouts!

Tune in to my YouTube channel – Karen Pilote, for video support too!

Comment here to share your own stories. We love to hear about other “Over 40’s” who are doing it!

Have the absolute best day you can!

~karen

Search for Clues

“It’s like that picture you’ve got to stare at in order to see the hidden image within….you’ve got to focus intently to see the person you’re becoming!” ~karen

If you can see the changes in Melody’s physique in the comparison below (and get excited knowing that a shift CAN happen within weeks), you can succeed at your own transformation! The key is you have to know what you’re looking for!

Your weight loss will depend upon your ability to see and feel subtle changes so look closely!

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Splitting Hairs

You’d be right to say that I’m splitting hairs with this comparison; the changes are that subtle. But let me tell you: if you don’t make the effort to search for positive change in the first weeks of your training program, you will give up in frustration. Look for success clues, acknowledge them and applaud yourself!

UN-Realistic Expectations

We want quick weight loss. We want to see change fast. We want to do it the easy way. I get it, who doesn’t want to be slim yesterday?

Most of us are inspired and excited by the “radical change in minimal time” schtick; those cover stories on rag magazines that feed on our desire to fix everything NOW – but deep down we know that it just doesn’t work that way. *Sad sigh.

I’ve got to tell you though, if you’re expecting to see a radical difference after 3 weeks, or you expect to see a huge loss on the scale…..you’re definitely going to be disappointed.

I’ll gladly be the “Bearer of Bad News” if I can help you in the long run, so here it is: there is no quick weight loss. If it’s fast it won’t last.

Oprah right?

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Kirstie too…..

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I think you get my point. Radical weight-loss rarely lasts. Maybe you’ve been down that road yourself? I certainly have and know better now…

Real Change

I wanted to share with you what real-time change looks like so that you know what to expect from a legitimate and effective training program.

I was really excited for Action Eight participant Melody and couldn’t wait to send early comparison pictures to her. I wanted to share with you too, and give you a “heads-up” as to what to expect in your early weeks of training.

Melody started her focused training 3 weeks ago. She had a strong fitness base and solid adherence prior to dialing into this new “push towards better” phase. Mel used The Action Plan for 12 weeks prior to this cycle. Over that time period she got pretty strong and leaned out quite a bit. Now, after starting a general resistance training program, we did this comparison just before her vacation.

Once again, the difference is slight but it’s very important to recognize your progress and build on it.

It’s hard for women to look into a mirror and see something different from what they’ve seen and believed for 40+ years. Melody “got stuck” right there, not refusing to see but simply unable to see the athletic, fit, and strong woman she’s becoming.

But I see it. When I point out the success clues to Mel, she sees it too. By analyzing photos (I recommend every 12 weeks) you can track positive trends and switch gears (NOT QUIT) if results are not forthcoming.

Subtle Success Clues

Some comparison is good!

Melody’s pictures show the subtle changes that she might have missed:
Pose #1 hips and legs are slimming
Pose #2 belly area is beginning to tighten
Pose #3 v-taper is stronger, shoulders broader

“Pictures really show the difference. At first, I didn’t see the changes, but the more I looked, I saw some changes. It’s really is exciting! It made me work harder today!
Thanks!” -Melody S.

Anyway, I hope you get the idea. Dig deep and search for the positive. Keep at it for the long-term and make a habit of acknowledging every little thing that’s going right. Your success depends on it!

~Karen

Eight Women Share Their Fat Loss Journey

I’d like to share with you the process I’m using to help several women achieve their physical fitness goals.

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This series will feature real – awesome – and dedicated women who have graciously agreed to share their journey. These narratives will hopefully inspire you and demystify the process of physical transformation. You can follow and learn what it takes as they experience the process.

The most important thing necessary for fat loss success is that you be open to learn what works and what doesn’t – FOR YOU. Be open to the process, focus on your current level of fitness and understanding….you’ll  be surprised at the need to adjust different aspects of training and eating while following a realistic fat loss program.

Be aware that the “order of steps” taken will differ for each participant based on individual circumstances, and they will vary slightly for you too! Each individual “plan of action” will be formulated according to generally accepted and logical “key components” of healthy lifestyle transformation but they will differ somewhat in the delivery.

Ready to witness change in action?

Get Ready to Watch These Girls Transform!

Melody: She wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on body composition changes and strength. Fat loss will follow.

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Kerri: She wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on strength and stamina. Fat loss will follow.

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Debbie: She wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on body composition change and strength. Fat loss will follow.

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Julie: She, too, wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on muscle maintenance, flexibility and joint stability. Fat loss and optimum weight management will follow.

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Tamara: (data to be completed) She wants to lose weight. I suggest she continue with fat loss training and focus on body composition. Fat loss is assured.

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Kerri: She wants to get stronger and toned. I suggest weight training to reshape her physique and shoot for optimum strength and muscular balance.

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Zowie: She wants a fit, athletic physique with lean muscle definition. I suggest she focus on a muscle building training program that will give her functional strength for sports. (Zowie is very young but will be a good example for those underweight or tall woman who find building muscle difficult.)

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Jaci: Wants to shed fat within a 12 week time-frame for the purpose of competing.

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Note: Jaci is a Personal Training client and friend who’s goal is to compete in a Figure Competition. Her training will be targeted, intense and strict. I wanted to include her journey as a means to illustrate the use the same key fitness components used in general fitness and weight loss except, in this case, to achieve a very specific and time sensitive goal.

How We All Met:

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In 2015 I began offering a total body conditioning program based on The Action Plan to a group of women at a local fitness facility. The improvements that they experienced over the course of this 18 week program (I called it Bodybomb) were extremely encouraging. Success led these women to seek further physique transformation, nutritional excellence, fat loss and strength gains.

I feel privileged to share their journey via this blog!

Please note that each participant first completed The Action Plan as best they could and at the level of fitness they were at. Next, they each completed a one month general strength program that allowed them to learn and apply general resistance training principles. They developed and incorporated a structured plan for strength training into their schedules. Each girl was challenged to apply the strategies and adapt them to their individual circumstances and you will have to do the same if you are to attain your goals.

I’ll begin by thanking the girls for allowing us to follow their journeys. This is so great because we all know how difficult it is to “put yourself out there” with before pictures. Aghhhh! In sharing the discovery process for each woman I hope it helps you too!

The Group Fitness Phase:

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I love group fitness and I feel strongly that exercise in an organized format positively impacts each participant and encourages adherence, learning, camaraderie and accountability. BUT I’d also like to point out that group fitness training can only take you so far. This won’t make perfect sense to you right now but you will begin to understand and discover the benefits of individual training as you follow these eight women!

In my opinion, general exercise plans work extremely well when you’re savvy enough to alter them to fit your unique circumstances, but that’s difficult for the general population. That’s where this series should help demonstrate the need for individual attention and modifications even though the goal of fitness, weight loss and strength gain is a common one.

The “Next Level” of Training:

Follow the blog as we employ different strategies for each woman, and a variety of approaches to bring knowledge, understanding, and shed light on what many woman find a confusing journey.

We’ll begin with Melody! 

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Over the last few months Melody completed The Action Plan. She became stronger, leaner and increasingly more aware of the effects of HIIT exercise on her physique. She also learned about her limitations, habits, strengths and weaknesses. It was a process of discovery; very important step in the direction of her goals.

When we began our training together Mel found The Action Plan workouts challenging and needed to modify the exercises, take more breaks between sets and do less repetitions than listed on the workout boards. Given that she was fairly active and involved in other fitness classes prior to our “Bodybomb” group fitness classes, the HIIT workouts presented new challenges and she was more than ready to tackle them.

Over the next few months she participated in 2-3 sessions per week while continuing with her “other” workouts. Melody began to feel the adaptations and her confidence increased. The training was always challenging but she realized that, even though the workouts never got easier (insert evil snicker) she was capable of doing more at each session. Winning! Melody felt great, fit, tighter, stronger and ready to “take it to the next level”.

Fast Forward to Now:

It’s time for an in-depth discovery process and we’ll ask specific questions that bring into focus targeted concerns.

What are your current goals? (Melody: weight loss)(Karen: tighten nutrition, water consumption, fat loss training, strength building, balance physique, alleviate negative impact of hip/leg imbalance

-What do you believe to be your downfall to achieving those goals? (Melody: #1-diet #2-understanding macronutrient logic and #3- understanding the importance/difficulty of eating sufficient calories) (Karen: I see no insurmountable roadblocks to achieving your goals so continue to focus on learning balanced eating by trial and error. Read, research and implement food and lifting strategies. Begin weight lifting protocol for muscle maintenance and to improve/correct postural imbalances. Set a timer to alert for meal times, prepare said meals in advance)

-What are your physical limitations? (Melody: born with dislocated hip joints causing a marked difference in length of legs) (Karen: objectively observe the effect of the program on your unique limitations – is that limitation the downfall to achieving the goal of fat loss? or is nutrition? or is water consumption?)

Having completed The Action Plan and then one month of the general physical conditioning, Melody is ready to begin an individualized program that will address her particular level of fitness, weak links and physical expectations. We’ll work together closely to monitor progress, trouble shoot plateaus and problems. At the same time we’ll learning more about calories, macronutrients and using internet-available calculators to determine the optimum individual figures.

Food First

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But How Many Calories Do I Need?

As Melody continues to train using the general weight lifting program and waits for her individualized plan, she is focusing on food! We’ve determined how many calories she needs and a good starting point for macronutrient ratio. Here’s how we figured all that out:

BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator

It’s important to learn just how many calories are necessary to support your living and breathing and other body functions. Use the calculator highlighted above and figure out how much fuel you need to survive. Remember that this number will change as you lose weight so make sure to recalculate using new data as you begin to lose fat and change body composition. (Knowing this will save you the heartache of agonizing over weight loss plateaus!)

Note: on the BMR calculations for each participant: we multiplied the BMR calorie count by 1.3 to factor in moderate daily activity. Therefore, in Melody’s case, she should consume 1632 calories just to maintain her current weight and body mass. “Oh dear!”, she says. “That is so much more than I’m eating right now!!” That is one very simple reason she’ll experience stalls: if you don’t eat to support your body, your body will refuse to budge! So Eat!

Meal Composition: Macro Nutrient Calculator

Once you’ve determined how many calories to consume in order to support your exercise plan, it’s important to compose meals according to an optimum balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. I prefer to have clients start a muscle supportive nutrition plan composed of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fats. This ratio breakdown is a good one to begin with and then easily adjust the ratios to find your own sweet spot for muscle maintenance and fat loss.

Calories and Macros:

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At this early stage of learning, I’m asking the girls (and you) to NOT STRESS out over meal composition. Take the time to gradually learn by doing- make sure you have protein at each meal (here- steak), a complex carb (here- broad noodle), fibrous carb (here- zucchini and peppers) and fat (here- fat present in protein choice and perhaps olive oil on the pasta or grilled into the peppers). Plate your meals to resemble the one pictured. You can swap out eggs, chicken, turkey, tuna for the steak- likewise, rice or sweet potato for the pasta- get creative and stay satisfied!

We’ll be talking lots more about food balance and in a very short time you’ll all realize just how simple and common sense the whole topic is. Until then relax, eat whole foods and learn to enjoy fresh tastes!

Hi there! I’m Karen Pilote from Get Fit Over 40

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Stay Connected and Follow the “Action Eight” Transformations!

I’ll share Melody’s weight training program for her next 12 week cycle and introduce you to Debbie! So get on those calculations for your own meal plan and let me know if I can help…leave your questions in the comments and Bon Apetit!

~karen

Grow Some Goals

We now know, after 40+ years of trial and failure, that it’s tough to make one humongous lifestyle change. The hard work and discipline necessary to switch years of nasty habits to angelic ones is near impossible to sustain.

I’ve found that the easiest way to stay on track and measure progress is to set clear, non-negotiable goals.  In fact, I set goals on a regular basis because it’s the only way to stay on top of my health and motivated to grow as a person.

You’ve got to state your goals in order to get what want and by having focus on positive outcomes you’ll barely have time to ruminate over challenges. Having a goal keeps the big picture in sight but allows you track your progress on a regular basis. If you need to deviate, modify or adjust course you’re going to know how and when to do just that.

Grow Some Goals

#1 Dream Big but Play it Small:

It’s important to have big goals and believe that you can achieve them. If you can see yourself 50 pounds lighter, or running a marathon or even just walking a mile for some, you will do it!

YOU WILL DO IT! But its hard to sustain the excitement for a long-term – heck, sometimes its hard for me to sustain that feeling for 5 minutes! In order to sustain motivation easier I always break my ultimate goal into smaller ones.

If you want to lose 50 pounds, set a goal for 2 pounds per week. You can do that! Some months you might lose more and others weeks you might lose less, but you’ll be losing!

Bottom Line: When your goals are broken down to smaller ones then you can celebrate your successes along the way which will keep you motivated towards the bigger goal.

#2 Find Support:

It’s important to have a positive group of people who are supportive and caring. It might be hard at first but if you are open about your hopes to gain better health and to get stronger and fitter, the people who matter will help!  Tell those closest to you what your goals are and why you want to achieve them, then ask for their support. But you have to ask!  No one has ever achieved greatness by doing it alone, and you shouldn’t try to either.  You’ll be amazed at what you can do with a team of great people behind you.

Bottom Line: Those closest to you may not understand your journey or be willing to change along with you, and that’s ok. You’re strong enough and sure enough to do what it takes, but ask for the support anyway. You might be surprised at who wants to help.

#3 Recognize Your Potential

It’s just too easy to sit with who you are right now and be unhappy. It takes courage and wisdom to realize that your potential to achieve great things is undeniable.

It’s so important to recognize your potential and what you are capable of.  Way too many women yearn for something in life but stop there thinking, “I can never achieve that.” I want you to know this: you have the potential to achieve great things! Find an activity that you enjoy and do it! Find success in small things and let that success fuel bigger things. Start with healing pain and injury, then walk. Walk until you can run and then sprint – do what needs to be done to achieve your ultimate dream.

Bottom Line: Once you’ve decided on what you really want, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get it. It’s most important to believe in yourself and then take action.

Have Courage:

You need to have the courage to take it slow.
You need to be disciplined and not over do it.
You need to be motivated to build a foundation.
You need to be smart and do the minimum.
(Doing any more will really set you back.)
You need to be really focused on mastering the basics steps.

Karen Pilote

Don’t expect your world to turn around overnight, you’re too wise for that!  Set great goals and small goals. Master the very basics and never give up on yourself.

I admire you for having the tenacity to take the road less travelled….you’re a winner already!

~karen

Eat a Sandwich

The Sandwich Evolution = Your Fitness Revolution

Working at making a lifestyle change is hard work if you make it hard, so why not stop working at it? Don’t make it into work, don’t call it work and don’t think of it as work. All that work is just too hard!

Eat a sandwich……

Yes, I mean it! Make a sandwich and relax. Sandwiches are easy and relaxing is easy. So make your diet transformation easy too.

Watch how simple it can be for a sandwich to transform in just a month. (You can try this with any food that you’re eating right now.) The process is Guaranteed!
WEEK ONE: Two slices of bread, 1 oz. turkey, leaf of lettuce, slice of tomato, tbsp of mayo.

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WEEK TWO: Two slices of bread, 2 oz. of turkey, 2 leaves of lettuce, 2 slices of tomato, 1/2 tbsp of mayo.

 

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WEEK THREE: One slice of bread, 3 oz. turkey, a pile of lettuce, 1 small tomato, 1 tbsp. “spiced up” greek yogurt.

 

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WEEK FOUR: 4 oz. of turkey, a pile of lettuce, 1 small tomato, 1/4 avocado, a whole lot of additional crunchy vegetables, 1/2 a palm-full slivered almonds, cashews, or walnuts 1 tbsp. “spiced up” greek yogurt.

 

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The biggest deal is going to be week 3. Piling all that turkey and lettuce on a single slice of bread is going to be tricky! Go ahead and eliminate the slice if you want to in week 3, add some croutons if you’re having separation anxiety.

 

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You can see how, over time, a sandwich can transform with only a few small changes each week. So can your body. Day by day, week by week make the small extra efforts, focus on simple habits to change and give yourself time to adjust to the new way of doing things.

Bon Appetit!

Protein: Chug It or Chew It?

Your body needs protein, an essential nutrient, to build, repair and maintain its organs, cells and tissues.

Specific to fat loss, your body needs protein to build muscle. Muscle will burn fat. Capeesh?

Let’s keep it really simple now and think this through so that you can decide what makes sense and what works for you. That will be the ultimate deciding factor; what makes sense to you and what works for your lifestyle.

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Eating Whole Foods:

1) You can get the necessary daily protein requirements from both shakes and whole foods, but you will not get optimum nutrition from protein shakes exclusively.

2) Consuming whole food has a “thermic effect” meaning that eating & digesting food burns calories. That’s a good thing!

3) Consuming whole food is a natural function. We were meant to chew, swallow, digest and eliminate nutrient dense, natural, fibrous whole foods.

4) Consuming whole food is satisfying and enjoyable. By focusing on good eating habits at the outset of a fat loss program you learn to enjoy social situations, family and business functions, celebrations and holidays.

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Drinking Protein Shakes:

1) Protein shakes are a convenient replacement for whole foods if you are short on time.

2) Protein shakes contain nutrients that are quick digesting, which is great for post-workout recovery.

3) Shakes are a great way to bolster calories when it’s difficult to consume enough whole food to support body functions and energy expenditure.

4) Drinking protein shakes can reduce your daily calorie intake and they are often successful in weight loss plans.

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The Bottom Line

When you undertake a fitness program to reduce fat and gain leanness, it’s vital to make healthier eating choices and exercise regularly. A “habits based” mentality is necessary in order to create and sustain a fit lifestyle. Choose foods and supplements that make sense for your weight loss plan and that will also carry forward into your new fit lifestyle.

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Nom Nom! ~karen

Right On Time!

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It’s Mid-January..a great time to begin.

Are you a little late getting to your New Years resolution fitness? Yep, me too!

I’ve been active. I’ve been exercising. I’ve been busy but I’ve not been focused.

It’s easy to stay in “pretty good shape” by keeping active, but in order to make changes you have to be more diligent, focused and present. Target the goal you want to achieve and take action every day. You’ve got to make it happen, not wish for it to happen.

Time to get Strong and Lean 

To be fair, it’s pretty common, even for seasoned fitness buffs to get thrown off track over the Christmas and New Year holidays. It takes time to get schedules back in order and eating back on track, so in my books, we’re all right on time! And this is our time!

This New Year I’ve taken the Action Plan to a new location, a local gym in my hometown, and offered the workouts in a group setting. It’s been challenging to address the different levels of physical capability. Actually, what I find difficult is communicating the need for each individual to recognize their own physical capabilities and progress at their own pace. I think it’s important for all of you as well, when working out at home, to be sure to modify your exercises to a level of intensity that challenges you, not hurts you.

The Action Plan includes exercises that target muscle strength, endurance and flexibility components. It’s  challenging and that’s what it’s intended to be! You should look at it and think, “can I do this”?

You’ve got to overcome challenges.

Karen Pilote The Action Plan

Becoming fit is not usually comfortable. It can be downright painful in some regards: leaving a warm and cozy family evening, finding time in a hectic schedule, maneuvering through a challenging workout routine, experiencing unusual physical responses, facing your insecurities and doubts…..there are so many reasons that committing to a fitness regime and lifestyle change is uncomfortable.

I get that. It’s hard for me too.

There are days that I want nothing more than a steaming hot mug of coffee, a good book and a bubble bath…..exercising is not my favorite thing to do, believe it or not. Don’t get me wrong, I love the strength that I feel after a good workout, but comfort and coziness call in the cold winter months. But we’ve no choice if we’re going to achieve weight loss!

 You will begin to feel amazing, strong and lean in 30 days. Promise.

All that aside, I think the biggest deterrent for most people is a fear that the program will be “too hard”, and they won’t be able to do it. But that is the point. You must do more than you did before, or do something different in order to progress. You’ve got to safely push yourself to the point of failure, just beyond your comfort zone, each and every workout. The Action Plan is set up to challenge your maximum potential. It is intentionally difficult! You, as an individual need to heed your body signals and expect to gradually reach your full potential over time and not in one session.

That means you’ve got to know when to modify, or to take a rest or to limit any workout in order to recover for the next session.

Take it. One day at a time, one work out at a time.

Going forward with (or back to) the Action Plan, I encourage each of you to be aware and recognize your level of tolerance in your training because it will make all the difference in your adherence to the program. No one can define that moment for you. Do what you can each session then follow up with good recovery nutrition, sleep, and hydration. You’ll come back fresh each session and be amazed at the progress you make in a very few short weeks!

Information and purchase: The Action Plan

Direct Purchase Link: The Action Plan

Karen Pilote The Action Plan  ~karen

 

 

No Guilt In Between

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year

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Happy Thanksgiving GFO40 Family!

In the time between Thanksgiving and New Years it’s tough! It’s tough to get it all done, and so it’s probably not the ideal time to begin a whole new lifestyle, diet, exercise program. Accept this, do the best you can and allow NO GUILT!

What You Should Do

December however, IS a great time get into a better place mentally and minimize the resistance to take inspired action. Get into a place of feeling good and then follow whatever action is inspired from that good feeling place. This is a great time of year to feel good!

Spend time with family and friends, cook and eat passionately, get out into the fresh air and find the rhythm of your body. Make the decision that you want to feel great and you want to be sensitive to what is feels good and what doesn’t. Decide you want to feel energized and not lethargic, sloppy and sad. Be guided by your feelings and find harmony with what it takes to live a healthy life. Learn to recognize when a choice you make does not support your intentions to feel good.

No Guilt

This year, between Thanksgiving and New Years, get rid of guilt. Don’t be guided by it and don’t succumb to it. Find a place of joy and abundance and let those feelings lead you to your better lifestyle and healthy future. You will be amazed at the insights and opportunities that unfold in your experience that will guide you to make better decisions about your health.

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Get out, travel a new route, play in the snow! Open yourself up to new people, places and experiences!

Enjoy your holidays (and dig in!)

xokp

You Are Beautiful

Self-Bashing: Where did it begin?

We are living with stereotypes and the labels are seriously damaging.

Not good enough. Lazy. Bitchy. Ugly. Fat. Undisciplined. Mean. Insecure. Superficial. Vain.

Who said that, and why’d we believe it? And why on earth are we still carrying it around?

Sure we can blame the media and the industry and countless other sources that demean women, and we would have every right to do that. I know that I certainly was affected, influenced and totally sucked in by media when I was a young girl, but I chose to exercise and a find healthy ways to handle body image issues. It’s not that way for most, unfortunately.

Where Will It End?

At the end of the day, we are the only ones who can end it. End the bias, end the attitude and end the self-deprecating thoughts……you have to just stop.

Hey, You! Just Stop It!

Look in the mirror and say something new, uplifting and inspiring. Talk nicely to yourself. Carry yourself with pride and grace. Value yourself and your health. Be different, act different, speak differently. Practice beautiful words, practice humble appreciation of yourself and lift yourself up. No one can do it for you.

Begin to build trust in yourself so that you can stand proud, healthy and strong. Quit relying on media to define who you are and what you’re capable of. You choose who you want to be, how you will be perceived and what you expect from this life of yours.

Be proud and stand proud, you are beautiful!

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Love yourself healthy and be nice to yourself!

xo karen

HGH- The Ultimate Youth Hormone

I’m always excited to learn new ways to optimize my ability to become stronger and healthier by implementing natural strategies. We have an absolute ability to manage our aging process! The human body holds power beyond imagination. If we learn to harness that power and nurture the amazing systems within, we can and will become strong, vibrant, youthful and achieve weight loss. The key is to mobilize an arsenal of natural health defenders, like HGH.

Human Growth Hormone

HGH is produced by the pituitary gland and helps to:

  • regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and heart function
  • regenerate and repair your cells
  • makes your muscles firm, skin tight, bones strong and joints healthy
  • helps your body function more efficiently

With age, the body starts to produce less of this hormone but you can bolster HGH levels naturally and easily. Countless studies show clear proof that the following strategies can increase  Human Growth Hormone.

7 Ways to Harness the Power of HGH

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1) Get sufficient good quality sleep. Approximately 70-to-80% of  HGH production takes place while you sleep 7-to-9 hours straight, day or night.  Get deep, peaceful, and revitalizing sleep.

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2) Abstain from eating before bed. You can produce more HGH while you sleep if you stop eating 2-to-3 hours before bed. The key here is to keep insulin levels low so that HGH production is optimized. Anything you eat will cause your body to release insulin, not just sugary foods, so eat well and regularly throughout the day to avoid late night binges.

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3) Work-out at a (relatively) high intensity. Research shows that intense workouts that involve the entire body will elicit an “exercise-induced growth hormone response” and will produce the most HGH. Weight training and low to moderate intensity cardio activities will increase HGH as well, but most likely not near as much as full body compound exercises and intervals would. Of course, depending on your fitness level, it’s important to gradually progress into higher intensity activity.
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4) Exercise first thing in the morning.  There may be some advantage to working out in the morning when your insulin levels are lower. Of course, train at the best time of day for you (considering your individual schedule) but it may be beneficial to give this theory a try to see how it works for you.

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5) Lose weight.  If you carry extra weight, it’s highly likely that you are insulin resistant. The body just can’t do a good job of getting rid of excess insulin in overweight conditions. No matter what your current weight, you can prevent insulin resistance and produce more HGH if you avoid sugary and processed foods.  Stop eating garbage!

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6) Eat seafood and beef. These foods are good sources of the amino acids (L-Phenylalanine/ L-Tyrosine)  and aid in the production of L-Dopa (a non-essential amino). L-Dopa stimulates the Pituitary gland to release HGH.  If beef or seafood is not your thing, you can easily supplement with natural sources of L-Dopa.
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7) Nurture a healthy liver.  All the HGH released in your body is absorbed by your liver. You can experience maximum benefits from HGH if you have strong liver function. Clean it up with wholesome fibrous food, recommended water intake and daily exercise.
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8) Laugh! Lots! Research shows that laughter can increase your growth hormone levels!

“The blood drawn from experimental subjects just before they watched a funny video had 87% more human growth hormone compared to a group that didn’t watch a funny video.” -Dr. Lee S. Berk of Loma Linda University

Keep company with fun people and lighten up in everyday life!

Age Management

imageAwesome Aging is possible for everyone. Become fascinated, learn more and gain a deeper understanding of the potential that exists under your skin.

You have everything needed to optimize health and lose weight in this beautiful human package. You don’t need to understand the science completely, just adhere to basic health strategies (activity, eating, sleeping, drinking water, reducing stress) to ensure optimum performance and age management. xokp

The Miracle Question

imageWhat if, tomorrow morning, you woke up at your goal weight?

What things would you be doing differently to have achieved that? What’s in your fridge? What clothes are in your closet? Where do you spend your time? How has your daily schedule changed? What are your priorities? Who are your friends?

Do you see where we’re going with this?

The Miracle Question is such a cool little brain-training tool but you really have to get into it ok? Feel it, see it, believe it, and write it down! It should be like imagining that you’ve won the lottery. Dream big! This exercise can help you establish goals so have fun with it!

Try the Miracle Question:

(The miracle question is a method of questioning that a coach, therapist, or counselor uses to aid a client to envision how the future will be different when the problem is no longer present. Solution-Focused Brief  Therapy Practices)

This is the question:

“Suppose our meeting is over, you go home, do whatever you planned to do for the rest of the day. And then, some time in the evening, you get tired and go to sleep. And in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and all the problems that brought you here today are solved just like that. But since the miracle happened overnight nobody is telling you that the miracle happened. When you wake up the next morning, how are you going to start discovering that the miracle happened? What else are you going to notice? What else?”
 

imageI’d love to hear how your dream day would unfold so use the comment area as your journal. Let’s compare notes.

Don’t be afraid to dream big and in HD, you will get it!

xokaren

3 Things to Do Now

newyearb8e1e1fdde806bef056c739afaecde7bBeginning the ACTION PLAN.

Don’t wait for the New Year. Don’t wait for another Monday. Here are 3 things you can do right now while you organize yourself for the Action Plan.

It’s very exciting when you are all “motivated up” and ready to start, but we both know that if you aren’t prepared it will be a frustrating transition.  If you aren’t in the right mind set you could drop the ball before the game starts. And if you aren’t familiar with the program, the exercises and the food plan, you may quit.

Uh, not again! Not this time!

Take time. Invest a few days to get organized:

1) Read through the whole program, beginning to end.

2) Clear out and organize your workout area. If you already have a space, freshen it up.

3) Shop and Chop. Grocery shop, prepare and store your food.

4) Get mentally prepared.

While you are getting organized do these 3 simple things:

NEWYEARtumblr_mx8faaH3e71scwrn2o1_400

Drink water.

This week get in the habit of drinking water. Have a glass first thing in the morning. Pack it to go, stash some in the car, prepare and store a jug with lemons or cucumbers and have a glass before you sip on that Timmy’s or Starbuck’s. Start to make water the rule. Invest in a few gallon jugs and fill them up daily. Aim to consume a gallon a day. Plan to make the trips to the restroom. Plan to wake up in the night to pee. It’s going to take some adjustments, of course. But they are necessary and you’ve got to do it. Period.

Please eat! Eat regularly and heartily. Feed yourself wholesome, fresh foods.

www%20hot_soup_bowl[1]Make a Pot of Soup.

Shop, chop and simmer a huge pot of soup. Use the Action Plan Brown Rice and Chicken Soup recipe, or make your own clean cooking recipe. Just be sure to keep a good balance of protein, complex carb and vegetables. The idea this week is to nourish your body, ease carb dependency and fuel up for your training. Think positively about food! It’s your partner in fat loss! As you work towards getting your life organized and ready for some changes, rely on this pot of soup to keep you fed and satisfied. Start your day with it if you must, have a serving every two hours if you must, just make sure that you begin to feed your body at regular, consistent intervals and begin to feel strength and vitality from the whole foods in the soup. Here is our recipe, from The Action Plan:

 

newyearsoupPublication2Action Chicken Rice Soup

The Action Plan “Brown Rice and Chicken Soup” is found on page 55.  Make a huge batch!  Make it your own by incorporating your favorite vegetables, grains and protein. You might choose to  use a good, clean eating recipe that you are fond of, a family favorite or ours! The ACTION PLAN  recipe. Just have a pot of soup ready for the next few days!

 

 

Move Your Body.

It will take time to become familiar with the HIIT Boards and THE TEN exercises that are used in the Action Plan. Again, take the time to learn them, view our exercise demo videos at Get Fit Over 40 and google the movements for further clarification. Do this very simple routine everyday this week to get you going and keep you moving. It won’t take long for you to figure out the boards and pull your food plan together but it’s nice to have a go-to workout handy when you are a bit overwhelmed. If you are intimidated by the number of reps in this  program simply skip down to 30 or 25 rep section and follow it down to the 5’s.  Just make sure to do a little more each day.

Take Action now; not tomorrow, not after the holiday, not on Monday. Do it today!  Incorporate these 3 strategies while you get organized. It will be a little frustrating at first but you will quickly fall into a habit and shortly thereafter you’ll be able to adjust things to suit your own lifestyle.

 

heartHappy New Year everyone!

Happy New Attitude!

Let’s do this!

xokaren~

Slaying Midnight Munchies

TRUTH

This is really hard to tell you; your dream diet illusions will be crushed, but I believe that you guys are ready to face some hard truths. Truth: to achieve long term weight loss success, expect to feel hungry at times. To manage the hunger and midnight munchies, plan ahead for the assault and devise your success strategy during the daylight hours.  Don’t wait for a surprise attack, use these 4 tips to minimize collateral damage!

midnightmunchieshealthy-munchies-content-00

Four “Munchie Management” Tips:

shopandchopgroceries

1)  “Midnight Munchy Management Meal” On Shop and Chop Sunday, plan, prepare and package meals for the week and include a munchie meal that fits into your overall nutrition program.

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2)  Avoid nibbling on arbitrary “healthy” snacks. Any food that is “in addition to” your allotted weight loss calorie requirements will stall your progress. Instead, address the need to change a negative habit. Mindless eating is not going to get you to your goal. If you feel you need nutrients later in the day, plan for it.

eating-to-a-schedule-article

3)  Adjust your eating schedule to accommodate that later meal and then close the kitchen at night. Eat at 3 hour intervals starting at (for example) 7 am, 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm. Divide recommended calories by 5 (meals). To include another later meal make the adjustment by dividing daily calorie needs by 6 (meals).

closedthe-kitchen-is-closed-by-jennifer-garant

4)  You will feel hunger, and the best thing to do is deal with it. Eat (hungry or not) every planned meal, drink required water, get necessary exercise and sleep at night! Lifestyle change requires some adjustments and there will be times that you’ve got to have willpower. Find yours and succeed!

heartDo you get the munchies late at night? Come on! I know that I’m not the only one, and I have to admit there are times I am not prepared. For the most part though, I’m pretty good and my best strategy (the one saves me often) is that I never have a tempting treat in the house. If I’m on a bender, (well, a real bender includes m&m’s) (peanut butter m&m’s) I can usually find some greek yogurt with a few almonds to settle things.

True confession time! What are you doing to tame the midnight monster?

karen~the munchie slayer

Control the Monday Monster

morningK&i-monday-morning-monster-illustration-sketch-6Monday: “My Day”

How do you feel on Monday Mornings? Are you up and raring to go? Or, are you tired and lethargic, raring to go back to bed?

You can control how you feel! Monday mornings, or any morning for that matter, can be productive, energetic and even euphoric. It’s a brand new week and the possibilities are endless if you plan it that way. These tips may help:

1) Stay on your food plan throughout the weekend.

No matter what social event is on your schedule, eat your meals with consistency. Steady, good, clean fuel will balance out “party nibbling” and keep your energy levels steady. Moods are affected by the foods we eat. An overload of sugar, skipping meals or not getting enough water over the weekend will result in Monday Monster.

2) Stay active.

If your training program calls for rest days, plan to do something to move the body anyway. Invest in a good stretch video, attend a yoga session, ride your bike or go for a hike. Exercise affects your mood. When you begin training consistently your body and brain craves activity and when deprived it becomes a Monday Monster.

3) Stay on top of your “to-do” list.

When you plan and execute an organized exercise program it becomes easy to get it all done. Start the days with training for energy and mental focus and then get to your lists. Yard work, laundry, taxi cab service for the kids….you’ll get it all done! When you fail to plan and procrastinate so many things do not get done and that brings out the Monday Monster.

4) Stay connected with your feelings.

Moods are a conversation between your body and your mind. Eavesdrop! Meditate and read between the lines. When you learn more about yourself and your responses to exercise and food you will be better able to manage and then banish the Monday Monster.

You Decide!

You have control over every detail of your life.  As part of your own personal ACTION PLAN, schedule time to organize, prepare and manage events and tasks that have previously caused you to stumble. Take a few moments today to analyze your activity over the past weekend. If you feel great, note the reasons. Think about the good things accomplished and acknowledge the connection. If you feel “not so great”, figure out why, take note and resolve to manage those factors and control next Monday’s Monster.

heart Have a great week!

xokaren

Party Prep Plan

Get Party Ready and Fit Over 40

Note: This is a great “at home” program for any season, winter, spring, summer or fall! Follow it anytime you need to change up your routine or prepare for a special event.

Thanksgiving is 6 weeks away and Christmas, 10 weeks. Are you going to feel great  in your party dress?

partyprepprogramimagesCA4EAT0VPrepare for the social season, implement positive habits and get a head start on your January resolutions with the Party Prep Plan, a “feel good for the holidays” program.

The Party Prep Plan is an efficient, effective and sustainable program. We have planned rest days because more is not better.  We eat well and we eat often because less is not better. Structured rest days and solid nutrition will keep you physically, mentally and emotionally motivated; ready to build the life and physique you want.

Get “Red Dress Ready” with a program that is completely planned out for you with progressive intensity  (necessary to reduce the chances of plateau). The Party Plan works!

The 6 week PPP weight loss program includes 4 Treadmill Workouts, 4 Core Programs, 4 HIIT Sessions, 4 Walk Workouts and a meal plan. Similar to the Get Fit Over 40 ACTION PLAN, the PARTY PREP PLAN sessions are organized for you on a calendar and it’s simple to follow.  Just do the work, check it off and Get Fit Over 40. Purchase the program right here and get started NOW!

Get the Party Prep Plan here!
Add to Cart Six Week Fat Loss Program $19.95
Karen Pilote

“I’m getting ready too! If I could share just one thing to help you Get Fit Over 40, this thought is something I believe is very important:

Begin a moderate exercise program that you can sustain.  Hours on the treadmill are not sustainable. Insane intensity will cause injury. Boring and painful workouts don’t last. You WILL quit.

In contrast to crazy, last ditch, frenzied fad-diet tactics begin by implementing short, intense workouts using weights, sprints and plyometrics. This type of exercise is sustainable and appropriate for a mature body. Balance your exercise program with challenging walks that are easy on the joints. Do quick, intense core work; variety will keep your program interesting.

Both the PARTY PREP PLAN and THE ACTION PLAN are based on sound exercise and nutrition principles.  As always, follow the blog and facebook pages to stay connected, we’ll all need one another’s support!

Let’s get this party startedheart!”

karen

Easy on All Those Salads!

Tell me I’m crazy but every time the topic of diet or weight loss comes up the discussion always turns to carbohydrates.  (Ok, I’m exaggerating. But really, it happens a lot.)  Weight loss conversation seems to center around carbs: low carb, no carb, or carb cycling. We are addicted to carbs, craving carbs or crashing from lack of carbs.

Newsflash: Carbs aren’t the only player on the team!

Instead of focusing on this one macronutrient that gets so much attention, my suggestion is this: create a shift in your thinking by defining your meals by the protein selection.  When you change your thoughts and words, you change your reality.

Let me explain.

Making Protein the Reference Point

momsteak-salads-grilled-steak-and-vegetable-salad-with-chipotle-chimichurri-dressing-0912-lWhen it comes to eating for weight loss we are pretty good at reciting our carbohydrate food choices. When asked “What did you have for lunch?” we’ll reply, “I had a salad,” “I had a bagel,” “Aghhh, I cheated! I had pizza.”  Yep, all carbs.

A Protein Challenge

My challenge to you is this: tell me about your protein. Protein is the lost macro-nutrient and not because it’s more/less important than the other nutrients. It’s “lost” because we fail to mention it; we define our nutrition by the carbs we eat. When we think weight loss we think diet. When we think diet we think salad, raw veggies and fruit. Where’s the meat? Weight loss is achieved through balanced, clean eating. When planning your meals, choose the protein, compliment with a starch carb and finally, load up with vegetables. Before adding fat to your meal, consider how much is already available in your protein source and then proceed accordingly. Remember to start the conversation with protein.

Let’s try it again.

Question: What did you have for lunch?

Answer: Protein…….

whatslunchprotein-tips_main

Steak, sweet potato and asparagus.

Chicken, rice, spinach salad.

Egg salad in a pita with tomato and cucumber.

Beef Burrito and Bean Salad.

Crab Cake and vegetable stir fry.

Good Basic Protein Choices:

  • Tuna (fresh, in pouch, or canned in water)
  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Skinless turkey (ground or breast)
  • Lean ground beef
  • Ostrich
  • Lean cuts of steak
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat, low-sugar yogurt
  • Fish (Salmon, Catfish, Orange Roughy, Cod, Sardines)
  • Protein shakes/powders/drinks
  • Protein bars (emergencies only, ok?)

Ensure Success

Understanding is key to success for any undertaking. It’s a big deal that you understand the importance of “balanced nutrition.” Protein. Carb. Fat. Start thinking about your meals in a way that supports your goal, speak about your nutrition with confidence and prepare meals by components first. What is the protein? What is the carb? What is the fat? Like any new skill this will become second nature quickly. Good health can be learned and getting fit over 40 is possible.

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Get Fit Over 40!

Start The Action Plan. 18 weeks of exercise and nutrition are scheduled to help you become the best you!

Hang out with us at Facebook: The Action Plan-Get Fit Over 40 for support and Facebook: Get Fit Over 40 for motivation. Our website Get Fit Over 40 also has complete guidelines for weight loss strategies. Check out the Nourish Program to get you started and the Shrink Program. See you over there!

xokaren

Intelligent Eating

tinappletumblr_lvhdtckkSU1qhhdqno1_1280_largeConfusion

We are confused. We want to eat the “right way” but we have no idea what the right way is. Paleo, gluten free, low carb, blood type, intermittent fasting, vegan, vegetarian. What is clean eating? What is the best diet plan? What? When? How much? Should I cut calories? Cut fat? Cut carbs? The options and opinions are vast and diverse.

Clarity

What is your goal? That’s what you need to get straight first. You can’t make decisions until you have a clear sense of what you want to achieve. Everyone is seeking health and many are striving for weight loss. The two are inextricably linked but eating for health alone will not guarantee weight loss. If you make the proper food choices though, you will likely gain better health if weight loss is your goal.

KISS

Keep it super simple; don’t go looking for problems and don’t make things overly complicated. For weight loss make sure you are implementing these simple rules:

1) Eat to support function. The body needs calories for energy to sustain itself optimally and to perform daily tasks. Don’t deny yourself this very basic necessity. If you don’t pay the bill the power will be shut off. If you don’t feed the body your energy will grind to a halt.

2) Eat quality food. For superior performance you need to eat good quality, wholesome and fresh foods. Period. You can eat less calories of garbage foods and lose weight, but not for long. I will bet you, within 2 weeks your body will scream for nutrients and rebel with fatigue, moodiness, and you will experience loss of enthusiasm for your once exciting mission.

3) Eat often. If you are grabbing a coffee at 10 am, you need to eat. If you are mentally crashing at 2 pm you need to eat. If you are foraging for a snack at 10 pm, you should have eaten more regularly throughout the day. Don’t underestimate the power of a steady source of fuel. Once you’ve skipped a meal you’re definitely behind the eight ball. You will binge; that’s not a guess, it’s a guarantee.

TIN1woman-measuring-waist-measuring-tape_410x290Refuse to be Confused

Stop reading ridiculous diet nonsense. Rebel against diet marketing schemes. Stop buying into complicated hype that causes analysis paralysis.

The only reason you “can’t do it” is that you’ve been led to believe it’s hard.  You’ve allowed yourself to be misled. Guess what, it’s not hard. Believe that there is an easy answer, because there is an easy answer. Make each meal simple and satisfying. Make one healthy decision that’s built on the last healthy decision. “Get stuck” with good habits.

Exert your willpower, its good for you!  Walk away from diet drama and stand apart from the contrived controversy. Keep it super simple, capeesh?

“Beat sugar cravings and get your eating in order so that your program has a chance to succeed. You have to nourish your body to achieve weight loss. A weak body will not tolerate the exercise necessary to shed fat. If you want a dramatic difference you’ll have to make changes. Start with this 2 WEEK eating program that will teach you the basics and get your body in the nutrient-rich, exercise ready state. This is the foundation work you have to do! If you take the time to learn smart, sustainable habits you will accelerate weight loss and minimize injuries. Eating well is the key, there is no doubt about it!”

Buy Now The Nourish Nutrition $9.95
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Are you feeling confused about nutrition and weight loss? Let’s talk…

What do you find hard to understand when it comes to weight loss nutrition? We can all share our common sense solutions. I’m going to grab a shake, be right back!

~karen

Extreme Fitness Over 40 – It’s Not Necessary!

What It Takes

12180977_1682358368652437_1349377930_oInsane Workouts.
Marathon Sessions.
Ultra Clean Eating
Deprivation.
Exercise Fanaticism.
Critical Calorie Counting.

That’s what it’s going to take, right?

Actually, no.
Losing weight will take consistency and patience.  Willpower and determination are key for long-term successful weight loss, and that is an extreme concept to most.

We believe that fast, hard and long is the way to achieve our weight loss goals. Following an efficient, effective and sustainable program seems extreme.

We believe that a missed workout means “start again” and any deviation from an eating “regimen” elicits guilt and signals failure. Planning rest days, eating well and eating often is perceived as extreme by many. The thought of taking a year or more to achieve ultimate health and substantial weight loss is just unimaginable for us.

80%

Eighty percent of people who begin an exercise program will quit. That percentage is unnecessary and unacceptable, but it’s no surprise when you think about it. We buy into lies, set unrealistic expectations and fail.  We expect to lose weight, feel great, stay healthy, and change our lives with a 90-day program that starts at 100 MPH. With no gas. And no rest stops. When we burn out, stall or crash we blame ourselves for not going hard enough and long enough. It’s just crazy!

It Takes More

Long-term, effective, sustainable weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the “hard exercise” that you need to tackle. When you practice and perfect behavior change, self-efficacy strategies and self-management strategies, you will be miles ahead of any quick weight loss scheme.

Go Beyond Extreme

brucetumblr_losvxoTQV51qa2wo7o1_r1_1280This time, go beyond extreme. Build the life and physique you want by focusing on consistent, long-term effort and performance goals. This time, adopt a moderate mentality, patience and learn to accept and adapt to the peaks and valleys of a healthy lifestyle.

This time, succeed! (Now, that is extreme).

It’s time to stop dieting and start living the life you want, don’t you think?  Get a good plan and make it your own.  My program is called the Karen Pilote Program because it’s all about me. It’s time to put your name on your plan and set it into action for an extreme duration. Make it for life!

The Action Plan

KARENBLOGPAGA good place to start: The Action Plan

Stuck?

Get Unstuck

tara1It would be a small miracle to follow a weight loss program and progress smoothly, consistently and effortlessly. It would be fantastic to drop pound after pound, to see your body change, skin tighten, aches disappear and live happily ever after. It’s going to happen, although not as consistently as you might hope.  The fact of the matter is that weight loss is not predictable. You can always expect good results when you adhere to a realistic program, but your body will respond in its very own way, and in its own time. Expect plateaus going in and you will be less disappointed and frustrated along the way. Plan your training and nutrition properly at the outset and have a “plateau strategy” in place.

Have you hit a plateau? Are you totally frustrated because weight loss has stalled? If you have just begun the program, stay calm and stay the course. You will see the weight loss soon. There is a trick to losing weight with relative consistency.

Adaptation

Your body will adapt to newly imposed demands by getting stronger and smarter. It’s a built-in mechanism that should be viewed as a positive indicator that your training program is effective. Plateaus are a signal from your body indicating that you are on the right path. When you stall you’ve succeeded; you’ve taken your body to the next level and it’s time to implement “the next logical step.” Welcome a plateau, rest a time, revise your program and eating strategy.  It’s time for a change so plan and prepare for your next phase of training.

Time for Change

dostumblr_m1txnim7ta1r2dklqo1_500When your body has become accustomed to your exercise routine and you are not seeing results anymore you have to mix it up. With a good program, your body becomes stronger and it’s necessary to change the exercises, change the order of exercises, lift heavier weights, change the rep scheme, or take shorter rest periods. You have to change some component of the program to challenge the body further and continue the adaptation process.

Dieting is similar in that your body becomes accustomed to a certain amount of calories and adjusts your metabolism accordingly. Your body gets smarter and slows its metabolism in order to protect you from a perceived period of starvation. The rate at which the metabolism slows down will vary, but it is almost a guaranteed situation: when you diet for a long period of time the metabolic rate is going to decline.

By alternating the calories you consume, a technique called calorie cycling, you can keep your body guessing and burning calories. You may also choose to incorporate a CHEAT MEAL in an effort to “trick” your metabolism into speeding up again.

THE ACTION PLAN

rockthCA4JZ4IJTHE ACTION PLAN suggests that you begin your program by calculating the calories necessary maintain your current weight and consume that amount with clean foods. At this stage, you will find that weight loss is attainable simply by eliminating junk food and exercising at a moderate intensity and frequency. It is recommended that you maintain that calorie level for 2 weeks and then lower the food consumed by 200 calories.

At this time you will become familiar with your energy levels, the rate of weight loss and the time it takes for you to recover. If you find that weight loss is sluggish you may choose to reduce portions again by 200 calories for 2 weeks. But, if you have not hit a plateau, simply delay this step until a time that weight loss does slow and then try the calorie reduction.

The point is to simply pay attention to your body signals and feed it as much nutrient dense food as possible while continuing to lose weight. As you progress through The Action Plan training program, the workouts become more challenging and will require an adequate source of fuel. Eat to maintain a good fuel supply and you will feel energized for your workouts and you will lose weight!

Send Us a Smoke Signal

heartHow long have you been “stuck” at the same weight? What measures have you taken during that time to manage the situation? Did they work? Sometimes it takes a time of reflection and another viewpoint in order to see our own situation more clearly.  Clear your head of useless frustrations and get back to the one clear thought: I will be AM strong and healthy. Share your thoughts here and we can troubleshoot together! karen~

99 Problems & Belly Fat is One

Stress Fat

cortisolthCAB4ZYQ6The boss is on vacation, your partner is down with a cold, your workload is doubled, the car is in for repairs, the kids are home from school, the fridge is empty, and the house is a FREAKING mess. You are exhausted, frustrated, at the end of your rope, and feeling fat and lousy.

You are stressed all the time and too tired to exercise. Heck, too tired to tie up your running shoes. Dinner is something you grab and gobble on your way out the door. Again.

Middle age weight gain may be inevitable due to crazy life circumstances, but now there is an extra layer of uncomfortable fat around your middle. What’s with that? Lack of exercise?  Poor eating habits? Or is stress to blame? Is it the hormone called Cortisol that causes belly fat?

We know that there is a link between cortisol and abdominal body fat, but is this singular hormone the sole culprit? So many seemingly reliable sources say it’s so, but what are we to believe?

Who’s the Bad Guy?

cortisol16-dr%2520evil

Is Cortisol a Bad Guy?

If you depend on the information in advertising claims, you would be convinced that stress and cortisol are to blame for obesity, belly fat and the failing world economy. It always makes me wary when one factor is made tidily responsible for a multitude of problems. It’s important to realize that by simplifying scientific facts, advertisers sway millions of intelligent people into believing the unbelievable.

So, is cortisol the “bad guy'”?  Does stress make you fat?  I did some research in order to make an informed opinion. Take a look at some facts:

Just the Facts

Fact: Cortisol is an important hormone; balanced levels of this hormone are essential for numerous body functions. (Me: Cortisol is good.) Fact: Cortisol works to break down stored fat, but chronically elevated levels can lead to muscle loss. (Me: Muscle loss is bad.)
Fact: High cortisol levels can contribute to storage of body fat. (Me: eat too much + move too little =  body fat storage.)
Fact: Stress alone does not increase body fat. Stress may stimulate appetite which can lead to overeating, which will lead to overweight issues. (Me: Stress eating, eating poorly, under-eating are facts of life for the middle ager.)
Fact: Balanced cortisol levels can improve strength and recovery, but reducing those levels below normal has not been proven to have a positive effect on strength and recovery. Less is not necessarily better. (Me: Taking cortisol suppressing drugs are not a weight loss answer.)

morttumblr_mmoomcnBi21rlzvmho1_400It is really hard to lose the extra midsection weight without disconnecting the stress-cortisol connection. You have to ease the impact of unavoidable stress:

•Schedule downtime.
•Get sleep.
•Eat healthy balanced meals.
•Spend time in caring environments with caring people.
•Get out of relationships that cause you stress.
•Limit alcohol and other (non-prescribed) drugs.

Stress is Important!

Cortisol is a Good Guy. Positive growth is achieved by adapting to imposed demands. Go ahead, embrace stress, but learn to manage it.

Work hard to steer your life away from chronic and continuous stress, not only in everyday life but at the gym too:

showtumblr_mofa429hq51rbybp4o1_500•Stop low calorie dieting for long periods. Calorie deficiency stresses the body and is counterproductive.
•Train with an intensity that is relative to your ability to recover. Training a tired body is stressful and harmful.
•Keep most workouts short and intense. Cortisol response will kick in after 45 minutes of training.
•Get lots of sleep! Good quality sleep!
•Limit stimulants that may give false energy and mask important body signals to slow down.
•Limit alcohol. Yes, large amounts will raise cortisol levels!

 

Look, we have stress. That’s what life is all about, right? I like to give problems a reasonable amount of time (based on the seriousness of the situation) and a time limit. Some things demand I worry for one hour, other things one day, and if it’s a pretty complicated issue, I give it a week. Very rarely do I tolerate anything for more than a month without taking some drastic action to ease the situation. It’s just not worth it! Life is short! I’ve got stuff to do, and so do you. I’m tough love all the way, on myself and my clients. If you want to lose weight, you can if you do it the right way; with consistency, tenacity and a solid plan you can change your physique and win the battle on belly fat.

Face the truth about what is holding you back rather than accepting (even legitimate) excuses. Have you given it everything you’ve got? Have you worked diligently towards your goals with proper exercise, eating, sleeping and minimizing stressful situations? Do you believe it’s possible to get a flatter tummy? You’ve got to believe!

heartI look forward to hearing from you, leave a comment and let’s talk!

xokp~

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