Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

Give It Up

February 18, 2015

It is February. It is freezing in most of the country. Those New Year’s resolutions seem so far away, even if it has only been 6 weeks.


I don’t know about you, but my resolve has weakened a bit. It started with broken cookies. (Insert shameless plug: those homemade graham crackers from indigo jones eats are amazing!) With a double boiler full of melted dark chocolate on the stove from morning until night, I confess that I took to dribbling a little on my fat free Greek yogurt in the morning. Without going any further, I will just state that you would be amazed at what tastes great dipped in a little chocolate.

There have been birthday dinners, followed by an extreme desire to stay in and binge watch series on Netflix and Hulu.

Something has to give, and I think I just found it.
Today, Christians observe Ash Wednesday,which marks the beginning of Lent; a period of “fasting” which extends until Easter Sunday. This is typically a time when they give up something they enjoy for 40 days. Although this time frame is longer, Sundays appear to be fair game.

While I am not Christian, and do not wish to exploit a meaningful religous practice, the idea of giving up something for Lent is kind of appealing to me. It is a good long period of time to let a bad habit go, be it a food, drink, or doing something we know is not good for us. Why not designate this period as a non-denominational time of cleaning up our collective acts? My list of things I could give up is a little longer than usual, but picking just one, and commiting to it could make a big difference in my life.
The idea that it takes 21 days to form a habit has been widely disputed by experts, but certainly 40 days should be enough to at least get on the right track, right?

So who’s with me? What are willing to give up for 40 days to get on track for a better, healthier lifestyle?

photo: glasshouse images

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New Year’s Revolution

January 1, 2014

They’re coming and it won’t be pleasant. Like the zombie apocalypse, they will invade our gyms and fitness classes and unwittingly wreck havoc in our lives. Sit tight people, it won’t last long. By the end of the month, the masses will recede, and things will get back to normal. Who I am writing about, you may ask? The New  Year’s Resolutionaries!

Each year, swarms of people join gyms January 1st, and resolve that THIS is the year they will get in shape. They start out with all good intentions, and then somehow burn out and fade away. Health Clubs typically see a big boost in membership this time of year, and lock people into contracts so that they get paid whether or not their members succeed in becoming the gym rats they aspire to be.

If you are one of the millions of people starting the year off with the promise of fitness, here are a few tips for making the commitment stick, while avoiding pissing off those who were there first:

scales, weight, health, fitness

Start slowly

If you over do it, you will be sore, exhausted and discouraged. Instead of vowing to workout everyday, commit to hitting the gym 2 or 3 times a week to start.

Set realistic expectations

Going from sedentary to running 5 miles straight isn’t realistic. Neither is lifting super heavy weights, or doing multiple fitness classes in a row. Start with a run/walk combination and increase the running time each week until you can get through a mile without stopping. If you aren’t experienced with strength training, invest in a few sessions with personal trainer who can teach you proper form and help design a program for you. Bad form + too heavy weights=injury.

Make a gym date with yourself and keep it

Put your workout into your agenda, and take it as seriously as you would if it were a doctor’s appointment, a business meeting or a date with someone you really want to see. If you really can’t make it, reschedule it right away.

If you reserve a spot in a popular class, show up, and don’t leave in the middle.

Some popular classes ( read: indoor cycling ) are difficult to get into. Us regulars become enraged when they are turned away from a full class, only to see you walk out 15 minutes later because it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. Do what you can, but stick with it! Take a short breather, pull back on the intensity but try to tough it out if you can. Conversely, don’t sign up for the toughest class in the gym right away. Find something more in line with your fitness level, and build up from there.


Let the instructor know you’re a newbie:

They will help you get set up, watch your form and cut you some slack on your intensity. Set yourself up for success by letting them know you’re a beginner.

Be conscious of your food intake:

For the most part, weight is based on calories in, and calories out. Just because you took a 30 minute stroll on the treadmill, it doesn’t mean you can pig out afterwards. It takes 3500 calories to make a pound. If you do the math, burning 150 calories at the gym does not mean you can indulge in a 350 calorie congratulatory treat and lose weight. You also need food to fuel your workout. Starving yourself will not result in having the energy to complete a serious workout. Ask my friend who took 3 fitness classes in a row without eating, and passed out in the shower. Facing the paramedics and health club staff buck naked was not fun.

Keeping a food and activity journal will help you determine your calorie intake and expenditure. I recommend an free app called Lose It! to keep you honest, and on track to meet your goals.


Find something you love to do, and stick with it.

If you hate running, you most likely will not do it enough to make a difference. If you love to dance, try a hip-hop or Zumba class. If you like a high intensity workout, and are motivated by a group setting, try indoor cycling or a boot camp style class. If you like being outside, go walking, hiking or skiing. If you find something you enjoy, staying with it will be much easier.

Don’t create gridlock.

Most people go to the gym to work hard. If you are going to just stand around and chat, please step to the side and get out of the way. This concept applies to walking down the street in New York City as well, but that is a whole other post! Don’t camp out on a bench or piece of equipment while you text, fix your ponytail or sip colorful water. Allow others to “work in” and keep moving.

Clean up after yourself:

Wipe your sweat off the equipment, put your weights away, and please don’t leave your towels, dirty tissues or makeup smeared Q-tips laying around. It’s disrespectful, unsanitary and downright gross. Shout out to those who leave their used disposable razors in the shower. Even in the poshest gyms, with ample cleaning staff, it’s just downright unacceptable.

It’s not magic.

Fitness and healthy eating isn’t a fad, or a quick fix. It takes hard work, diligence and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. You probably didn’t gain weight, or lose muscle tone in a week, and you won’t lose weight and gain significant strength in that period of time either.You need to do the work to get the results. Give it time.

If you fall off the wagon, get back on fast.

Nobody is perfect, and if you indulge when you know you shouldn’t, enjoy it, and get back to healthy eating right away. If you miss a few workouts, recommit and get moving again. Don’t take a defeatist attitude and decide since you already blew it, it’s over. You are only one meal, and one workout away from being back on track.

See you tomorrow at the gym?

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Resolution Revolution

January 2, 2013


It’s a new year, and I am trying to start it off with a clean slate:
a clean house, a clean closet (1 down, several more to go) and a clean attitude.

While I believe it’s always time for a fresh start, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions.

Why do we need to wait until the year begins to commit to a better lifestyle?
Why do we need to put pressure on ourselves to do something, just because the calendar changed?

Statistically speaking, 80% of all resolutions have failed by January 20.

I won’t miss seeing the swarms of people invading the gym tomorrow morning, taking up space, misusing equipment and leaving wet towels on the locker room bench. Only the diehards will still be there at the end of the month, when the rest of us breathe a sigh of relief and take back our turf.

Grocery stores will be fuller, as people vow to eat healthier and lose a few pounds. The crowds will go back to normal when people revert to the convenience of food delivery. The list goes on and on.

This year, let’s resolve not to make resolutions we can’t keep.

Let’s respect our bodies and our minds and treat them the way they deserve to be treated.  The rest will fall into place naturally.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year, filled with wonderful times.

Now that’s something I can commit to!



Balancing Time and Passion

August 15, 2009

1188800230.JPGDo you have a passion you would like to pursue, but something is holding you back? Do you constantly say you would love to do something but you just don’t have the time? Toss away the excuses and meet Alexander Mays, a 14-year-old yogi, gourmet cook and aspiring ballet dancer who manages to fit his passions into his life as a teenager and student.

As an 11-year-old boy, Alex accompanied his mother to a yoga class. He immediately felt a connection to the practice, and began studying on his own.  At the age of 14, Alex has completed 200 hours of teacher training, and is now a certified yoga instructor. Originally introduced to a form of yoga known as Sivananda, he now practices mostly Ashtanga and Anusara under mentor and yogic follower, Patrick Creelman, at Pure Yoga in Hong Kong.

Alex also enjoys cooking, and prepares the family’s meals everyday after he has completed his homework and household chores. He enjoys Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cuisines, which he finds interesting and colorful. Inspired by his Grandmother in Sweden who used to run a culinary school, Alex taught himself to cook, by reading and experimenting.
Says Mays: “I love how food can be so conventional, yet so sophisticated at the same time. All you need is fresh, wholesome ingredients and a creative mind, to have a good meal.”

Yet, amid all of this creativity and commitment, Alex has developed a passion for ballet.

On a recent trip to New York, Mays took classes, and was discovered by Alexandre Proia, of the Juilliard School and the Joffrey Ballet. His natural grace and flexibility from practicing yoga, has made the transition to ballet seamless.

Mays believes in pursuing something he is passionate about as a future career.
Always artistic, he has planned a future in the performing arts. He dreams of dancing with the New York City Ballet, while simultaneously getting a degree in political journalism.

When asked how he juggles school, yoga practice and teaching, cooking and pursuing dance, Mays replied: “it is quite challenging, but you have to learn to prioritize and organize your time. If you focus and concentrate on your goals, everything else will fall into place.”

Sounds like a plan to us!

photo:Glasshouse Images

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