Strength, beyond your muscles. 

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As we discussed with cardio, we often talk about strength training in terms of the long-term benefits. Yet your brain really cares about the instant rewards of doing something. But what if the instant ‘reward’ you get from lifting weights is muscle soreness and fatigue? Sure, you could tell yourself ‘no pain, no gain’ and convince yourself that it is a ‘good sore’ and all that discomfort means you got a ‘good workout’. Your brain, though, is most concerned with you feeling good now and it’s designed to avoid things that are painful or uncomfortable. When your willpower to endure the discomfort runs out, your brain will start to plant excuses in your head about why you need to skip strength training today (and the next day, and the next).

Eighty percent of people are not doing strength training. Like you, they probably know the benefits—stronger bones, better aging, stronger metabolism—but the brain has some concerns—injury, weight gain, getting ‘too muscular’, or looking like a weakling at the gym. This keeps many people living in the ‘should’ when it comes to strength training.

Are you ready to get out of the ‘should’ when it comes to strength training? Ready to reassure your brain that it is all good, because you are going to work with how your body is designed to be strong? Let’s cut through the marketing- and myth-based ‘facts’ and clear the path to your strongest possible muscles, bones, and metabolism now and every decade going forward.

What is strength training? Strength training is also known as weight training, weight lifting, and resistance training. Basically, it’s when you challenge your body to be able to move your body or objects more easily against gravity. If you are thinking the things you do in your daily life like housework, child care, and yard work mean you don’t need strength training, click here to see why these physical activities are different than exercise.

Making your brain want to strength train. From the very first time you do a strength exercise, you set into motion a cascade of events that produce unique and powerful events in your whole body. Yet, most of the effects of doing or not doing strength training are not noticeable right away, so it’s easy to forget why it is so important. In the next few blogs, I’ll show you the Real-time Results of each strength training session, and why pain and discomfort are not necessary. This way, your brain will be more confident that doing strength training will help you feel and function better now, without having to first endure pain, discomfort, or embarrassment.

Why strength is not from your muscles. Although we most equate strength with big muscles, that is not where strength comes from. Before you even move, something very important happens. Your brain is activated and ‘plans’ what muscles will be needed to create the intended movement. It estimates how many muscle fibers are needed to create the force you need to move against gravity. Then your brain sends a signal through your spinal cord to the muscles you need to do that movement. Without this nervous system signal, muscles can’t move. This pre-planning of movement makes it much smoother and more efficient.

The pathway to strength: Just like the first time you take a trip somewhere, the first time you perform a movement, your brain has to work harder to find the most efficient pathway. Over time, it becomes easier as your brain remembers the pathway. Think about how your body learned to walk, ride a bike, tie your shoes, swim, or play sports. All of these are examples of this process we call muscle memory. This building of muscle memory is what makes movements more automatic, so you can gain coordination, balance, agility, and strength.

Confusion about muscle memory: There is some talk that muscle memory is bad, because you burn fewer calories as your body gets used to an exercise and that you need muscle confusion to keep your body burning more calories. Honestly, the calorie-burning difference is minimal and probably won’t add up to any change on the scale. Muscle memory is what allows you to function. If you are exercising to lose weight so you can feel and function better, muscle memory is your friend.

The strength of your brain. Since the brain and nerves are what tell your muscles how to move, strength originates in your brain and nervous system, not in your muscles. That means you need your brain for building strength. You can see why present moment awareness is so important to get the most from strength training. It ensures you are creating the nerve pathways you want, the ones that allow you to access your strength by positioning your body in the right way, and creating nerve pathways so that strong movement becomes more automatic (more on that later). If your brain is distracted by a TV show, or other people around you, it won’t have as much ability to put into building your strength.  If finding the time for strength training is a concern, choose high-quality strength training by focusing your attention on your body rather than trying to save time by multitasking and doing it while watching TV

Bottom line: Your full mindful attention is your best strength training tool!

In the next blog, we’ll look at what happens in your muscles when you strength train that continues the cascade of events that leads to you feeling and functioning better.

The Win-Win Special ENDS at MIDNIGHT

The Win-Win Special ENDS at MIDNIGHT tonight.

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  1. Make a $45 tax deductible donation to the Enjoy Life Education scholarship fund by the end of today, April 22, 2019.
  2. Email me the receipt at janet@ExercisingWELL.com.
  3. I will send you a coupon code to receive your first month of the Exercising WELL coaching program FREE.

 

Help a teen get more out of life through the

 The Enjoy Life Education Leadership Academy.

Get more out of exercise, so you get more out of life with 

Exercising WELL Coaching Program

 

Win Through the Power of Positivity

It’s pay-it-forward week at Exercising WELL and we are running a Win/Win Special.  From now until April 22nd, 2019, when you donate $45 to the Enjoy Life Education scholarship fund, you get your first month of the Exercising WELL Coaching Program FREE.  

Research shows positivity broadens your perspective, so you notice more opportunities, and helps you build long term resiliency1. When you take advantage of the Win/Win special, you help a teen build positive self-worth and inner confidence through the Enjoy Life Leadership Academy and strengthen your own positive approach to self-care while growing your inner confidence  that you know how to be Exercising WELL.

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Enjoy Life Leadership Academy

From the moment you walk into the Leadership Academy, you are overwhelmed by the energy of positivity—it’s contagious! Every moment is filled with this positive perspective and support for each other.  Check out this brief video to see for yourself. This is not a Pollyanna-type positivity, where talking about negative experiences is taboo. This is the place where life’s challenging experiences are embraced head-on, through activities like group challenges and leaders sharing their stories of resiliency. Life’s challenges are transformed through positivity and help students build resiliency through positive qualities like curiosity, creativity, and empathy.

Exercising WELL Coaching Program

Because our brain is designed to keep us safe by looking for problems, it’s easy to get stuck in the muck of life and stray from your best intentions to exercise regularly. This is normal but not helpful when it comes to building habits for well-being. Health coaching uses research from positive psychology to guide you to get yourself unstuck and avoid the swamp of self-doubt and frustration of life getting in the way. As your coach, I help you sort through your experiences with exercise each week in a way that you lets you use life’s challenges as a tool for learning how to exercise through the ups and downs of life. Research on habits shows that when something is a positive experience, it becomes a lasting habit. Making exercise a positive experience requires both an understanding of brain science and exercise science. This powerful combination is what makes Exercising WELL unique.

  1. Research from The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania

It’s Pay It Forward Week and YOU WIN!

The summer before my oldest son entered high school, I pulled a serious mom-card. I told him he had to attend The Leadership Academy, a week-long program by Enjoy Life Education (ELE). He, of course, resisted. But I trusted my mom-instincts, held up the “mom-card”, and he went. On the last day, I watched as he hugged the leaders, high fived newfound friends, and walked out with more confidence and joy than I had ever seen in him before. On the way home he said “Mom, thank you for making me go. This changed my life!”

You don’t have to have a teen to know the struggles of teens today are more complex than ever before. The Leadership Academy gives teens the skills and confidence they need to be the best version of themselves. I have witnessed it in two of my children, it has rippled out into our family, our community and the world! My son’s experience is echoed in the sentiments of both academy alumni and their parents.   Now, I am paying it forward!

 

From April 15 to April 22, 2019,  you have a chance to help ELE reach its goal of providing this experience to students who need it most through their scholarship fund. At the same time, you are helping yourself create the best version of you through Exercising WELL. Many of the same principles of ELE, such as positivity, mindfulness, and self-discovery, are woven into Exercising WELL. This is a chance for a Win/Win you don’t want to miss.

  1. Make a $45 tax deductible donation to the Enjoy Life Scholarship Fund between April 15 and April 22, 2019.
  2. Email me the receipt at janet@ExercisingWELL.com.
  3. I will send you a coupon code to receive your first month of Exercising WELL coaching program FREE

This is your chance to try Exercising WELL now
and impact the positive leadership of the future!

Cool cardio facts

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We are on a Happy “Whole” Heart journey and there is so much great news to explore!  If  cardio is something you know you should do, whether you “just do it” or can’t do it,  you are in for a surprise! Today I share some very cool facts about cardiovascular exercise.  But first, a word of caution.

As highlighted in the first blog of this series, my goal is to inspire confidence, not guilt. As you read, if you feel guilty for not doing cardio for whatever reason, take a breath. This is not just one of those “do it because it’s good for you” or “here’s what could happen if you don’t do it” motivational blogs. Cardio that works with how your body and brain are designed boosts your energy and your motivation. When cardio leaves you feeling better physically and mentally, you are getting the “whole” heart health benefits. So if guilt or doubt starts to creep in, know that I won’t leave you hanging on  to guilt or fear as a motivator!

Cardio prevents heart disease.

  • Regular cardio leads to a 42%-44% reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Even people who got fit later in life reduced heart disease and cardiac deaths by  44%-52%, despite changes in body weight.

Cardio protects even if you have heart disease. 

  • It reduces the risk of dying from the disease.
  • It reduces the number of times you are admitted to the hospital.
  • Cardio improves prognosis after a heart event.
  • The benefits are greater than those seen from medications alone.

Cardio protects even if you have risk factors.

  • Protection is seen even in people with hypertension, obesity, type two diabetes.
  • People with risk factors who are fit have a better prognosis than people who are not fit with no risk factors.

    If you are at high risk with lots of risk factors, one of the absolute best ways to lower your risk is to improve cardiovascular fitness.*

If these facts inspire you, great! If reading this instills guilt, fear, or doubt because of low motivation, physical limitations, or limited time, stay tuned. You will see cardio IS possible!


Ready to lose the guilt and discover how cardio is possible?  Check out my new online course called Cardio Confidence.  It’s like having a consult with a  clinical exercise physiologist. You will learn the fact-based, user-friendly tools I share with my clients for getting the health, weight loss, and brain benefits while working around physical and lifestyle limitations.  


* Source: Exercise and the Cardiovascular System. Lavie, C, et. al.  Circulation Research (American Heart Association Journal) July 2, 2015.