Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
You’re invited to celebrate National Dance Day with a
ZUMBA Summer Jam
Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton, Cumbia, R&B/Hip Hop - it's all here! All I need is YOU! (no dancing experience is needed, just a desire to move and have fun!) Zumba Fitness is a latin-inspired dance fitness movement guaranteed to have you sweating and having fun!
PLACE: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Community Hall
6615 Dayton Ave N, Seattle
DATE/TIME: Saturday, July 31. Doors open at 12:15 pm, Zumba Jam starts at 12:45 pm.
PRICE: $10 per person
WEAR: Comfortable clothes you can move and sweat in, and supportive exercise shoes. PLEASE NO FLIP-FLIPS, SANDALS, HEELS OR BLACK-SOLED COURT SHOES.
BRING: Water and a towel (if you sweat like I do!) Most importantly, bring your smile and fun energy!
PARKING: Parking is located in the lower parking lot and accessed from N 67th St. Please leave on-street parking for neighborhood use. Enter the Community Hall (brick building) from the parking lot or from Dayton Ave.
Phinney Neighborhood Center phone: 206-783-2244
For videos, photos and more about Zumba, visit www.zumba.com
Monday, July 19, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I borrowed this title from the author of a blog I follow – whom I am coming to know and admire more through her blog – and a recently-posted entry of an experience and reaction she had to some negative comments that were thrown her way. One thing I’ve learned through the years is that when people direct ugly comments your way it usually comes from their own insecurity and really has nothing to do with you. Ironically, our first instinct is to take the comments personally, especially when a nerve is hit. But, how we handle the situation often says a lot about who we are, or even who we are becoming.
I’ve had Betsy’s permission to reprint some of her story here and I’d like to share it with you. Whether we are trying to tackle personal health, financial, emotional or other difficult obstacles, I think we can all learn from Betsy’s experience how to support others in similar situations, and how to react and support ourselves when we are faced with the negative comments.
“…I’ve been training for [the Seattle Rock ‘N Roll] half-marathon as part of my “bucket list…” It has been a tough process, and…throughout these months of training I’ve continued to have the same worry:
What if people make fun of me for not being a “real” runner?
This is an insecurity I’ve had since I started [training] last fall. I couldn’t even run 60 seconds at a time without gasping for breath, and I had serious doubts that I would ever be able to run a mile, much less a half-marathon. Even deeper than the lack of fitness was my insecurity over how I looked compared to all the other runners. I have never been athletic, and on my best day I could be described as curvy.
Over the past 8 months I’ve made significant progress, and… I’m confident that I’ll run those 13.1 miles, and I’m even getting a little ambitious over the time it will take to finish.
But still the insecurities remain.
[One] Saturday I went running in a beautiful spot on a sunny day. Normally I wear a special running shirt that wicks the sweat away and make[s] me look like all the other runners, but I didn’t get my laundry done and had to run in an old Patriots t-shirt. Near the start of the run a woman running toward me said to her friend: “See that? *Not* a runner.” This is exactly the kind of comment I’ve been dreading these past 8 months, though I really thought most people would just think it and not say it. All this time I’ve been looking for judgement [sic]in their eyes and this woman made it so convenient by actually saying it out loud!
At first I was really taken aback and felt the tears sting my eyes (I mean, I heard it over my iPod while playing Eminen, so she didn’t exactly whisper it). And then I tried to justify it by saying that I wasn’t dressed appropriately and blah, blah, blah – making excuses for why a stranger would make a rude comment like that!
If we work this comment out it really doesn’t take long to neutralize it. By the sheer act of running at that moment I am a runner. By training 4-5 days a week for months at a time, I am a runner. By sticking to a regimen that predicts I will be able to finish the half-marathon, I am a runner. Even if I don’t make it across the finish line, I am still a runner BECAUSE I RUN. There is nothing anyone can say to change that unless I let it change my opinion of myself [emphasis added] and stop running…
Neutralizing negative comments
Do you find yourself paralyzed by the fear of negative comments? There are 3 steps that I use to work through this that may help you, too.
1. Realize that your insecurity is what gives negative comments power. For instance, if someone told me they didn’t like my hair, it wouldn’t bother me much… [My hairstyle] is not a point of insecurity for me, so negative comments slide off pretty easily. Running, on the other hand, is a real sore spot because it is so far out of my comfort zone.
2. Let your imagination run wild. Think of the worst things someone could say to you about your new decision. Go crazy with it! The more outrageous you make your scenario, the easier it will be to see how ridiculous it is to fret…
3. Turn the mirror around. In my case, the other runner was wearing makeup, had on a perfectly matched outfit (without a jog bra!), and wasn’t even sweating. It’s obvious that appearance is important to her. Why should I make that my issue? She could be an Olympic sprinter or a total jerk, but either way her comments say more about her belief system than mine. I’ve got too much work to do on myself to worry about everyone else’s insecurities...
Remember that you don’t make big changes in your life for other people’s approval. By the same token, other people’s negative reactions shouldn’t cause you to stop making positive changes in your life (or to never start at all).”
Go Forth and Conquer!
To read Betsy’s full entry – as well as her recap of her Seattle Marathon adventure, visit
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
This last sentence is the part that I call not-so-new. If you’ve ever trained for an event (half- or full-marathon, a 5K) or started a weight management or exercise plan, you’ve heard people tell you to set small, attainable goals. If we think about the 13/26 miles we have to run or the 40 pounds we have to lose, we can overwhelm our brains, and our bodies actually respond in a physiologically-negative way to that stress (that’s a hormonal discussion we’ll have later!) Setting yourself up to accomplish small goals each day allows for that constant forward movement, or imua, and tight, but reasonable, deadlines can help to eliminate distractions that eat away at your time.
With constant forward motion comes the risk of failure, our second point of discussion. Our society has programmed us to think of failure as a negative term. It is only negative if you allow it to stop you from achieving your goals or from moving forward. Sometimes failure can be an open door to the closing window. Take a moment to ask why your attempt did not work and whether it can be tweaked for success or it needs to be discarded. I’m a problem-solver and I can spend much too much time trying to figure out HOW to make that square peg fit into that round hole. It was refreshing to hear Ms. Riviere say that’s it’s okay not to be obligated to something that isn’t working. Just remember imua and keep moving forward.
So, whether you are creating a training program for fitness events, managing your weight or starting your own business, remember to constantly move forward, allow for and understand failures, and celebrate the small successes. I foresee several post-its around my house reading “imua!”
Advice from a pro: 3 small steps to achieve big goals
Monday, May 24, 2010
Prep time: 30 minutes
1 c quinoa
1-3/4 c water
½ tsp sea salt
¼ c toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds*
¼ c olive oil
¼ c lemon juice
3 tbsp chooped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 green onions, chopped
¼ c currants
1/3 c crumbled feta cheese
Wash, rinse, and drain quinoa. Place in a 2-quart pot, add water and salt, bring to a boil, lower head and simmer with lid on until all water is absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes). Do not stir the grain while it is cooking. Test for doneness by tilting pan to one side, making sure all of the water has been absorbed. Remove lid and let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
Dry toast nuts on a cooking sheet in oven about 10 minutes, tossing nuts once or twice, until they turn a light brown.
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mint and parsley in a large bowl. Add onions, currants, feta cheese and nuts and toss. Slowly fold in quinoa, a little at a time. Toss well. Serve at room temperature.
Just try to stop eating this!
The World’s Healthiest Foods
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Summer seems to be making a slow entry in Seattle, but I’ve already started hearing rumblings of concerns about fitting into cute summer clothes, shorts and swimsuits. At the same time, I’ve also heard talk about quick, unhealthy fixes. It’s interesting that, even though we know better in our heads, some will still choose to lower their calorie intake to a point of depriving their bodies. The body’s response is to screech to a halt, saying “hey, you are not giving me enough energy to function so I need to slow down and hold on to the reserves in case I am being starved.” The body holds on to that fat for energy so it turns to using the energy stored in your muscles. This pattern usually results in frustration, binges and, ultimately, either no weight loss or an apparent weight loss that is actually loss of lean muscle. And, the second you go back to eating the way you were before, the pounds comes back, sometimes bringing five to ten of their friends.
Okay, we all know that, but how can we lose it and do it quick?
It is a combination of tweaking your diet and increasing your physical activity. But, the primary thing to focus on is burning more calories than you are taking in. Keeping a food journal and calculating calorie and fat intake, or logging it online (try free site: Calorie Count) can be tedious, but also bring more awareness to portion sizes and the little tastes here and there that add up.
Activity In order for anyone to stick to an exercise program, you must find something you enjoy doing. Find something that challenges you or shakes up your current program and makes you feel empowered/powerful. For me, this is yoga. I never thought I could do it, but now embrace that each class challenges my mind and my body; and, every time I make just a tiny bit of progress on a pose, I feel strong and proud of what my body can do. (I just returned after a 7 month absence! Stay tuned for that post!)
More ideas: Try a Zumba or other dance class – I never feel more alive than I do after dancing for an hour and it’s a great core workout as well as calorie burner! Start a walking program or, if you’ve been walking a while, add some hills or try jogging (if you don’t have joint issues).
In the gym: Increase your incline or resistance levels on cardio machines or add 10 more minutes to your time. Increase the weight you are using in weight training circuits – and don’t worry ladies, unless you are taking large amounts of testosterone supplements you won’t bulk up like the boys! Finally, try intervals – 10-20 minute cardio segments, interspersed with two-to-three sets of three-to-five weight-based exercises (upper-, lower- or full-body exercises, depending on your program).
Food Making small changes one at a time will help your body get used to the changes without shocking your system. If you drink alcohol, try taking a month off from it – sometimes this change can yield surprising results for people. Replace something you may be dependent on – cheese, red meat, bread or simple carb – with a fruit, vegetable or complex carb. Get a scale or measuring cups and measure all of your food until you can eyeball portion sizes. Finally, try to eat as many whole foods - as opposed to processed foods – as you can. When you can’t, look at the ingredients listing and choose products that have few ingredients, and steer clear from partially-hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and high fructose corn syrup.
The only way you will achieve The Biggest Loser style weekly weight loss is by doing nothing but exercise for six hours a day and carefully controlling your calorie intake. Not very realistic for most of us. Healthy weight loss is around two pounds a weeks, some weeks it can be a little more, some a little less. So, give yourself some time to reach reasonable weight loss goals; and remember, starving yourself will only deprive your body of the essential nutrients it needs to function properly. You wouldn’t expect that your car would get very far on an empty gas tank, would you?