You Can’t Get There from Here

Bad knees? Bum shoulder? Weak back?

It’s nearly impossible to help someone if they won’t help themselves. If you want to lose weight but you’re in pain, you’re inflexible, you can’t squat, or you can’t lift your arm, you need a physiotherapist before an exercise program. Harsh? Maybe…but in the long run you’ll thank me.

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You see, if you try to jump over a vast expanse chances are you won’t make it. So too, you can’t go from overweight and wracked with pain to lean, strong, and pain-free –you have to take steps in between.

Build A Bridge

Begin by shifting your focus (for the time being) into a mindset of health, ease of movement and vitality. (I know that sucks when you’re thinking lean and sexy but….) by correcting the acute condition, you’ll begin to feel better, more hopeful and confident. AND THEN YOU WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT. You’ll have the solid foundation necessary to undertake a realistic weight loss plan.  Really, it’s the only way to progress.

Start Where You Are

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“Pain management, physiotherapy, and a good flexibility program are a must in order to rehabilitate and move beyond painful physical conditions and achieve sustainable weight loss and good health.”

You want to lose weight yet an old and painful injury is stopping you in your tracks. You believe that if only you could dump the weight that injury would be tolerable, right? You think, “If I lost 20 (30, 50, 100) pounds; then I’ll feel good about myself, and then I’ll take better care of myself, and then my condition (painful shoulder, stiff hips, bad back) will heal. I’ll be happy and healthy if I lose the weight…..”

#1 It’s possible (sustainable weight loss) but not probable. In most cases the pain associated with a chronic condition saps your resolve to stick to a plan and limits your ability to perform proper exercise.

#2 Often it’s not even the original problem you’re dealing with now. (that’s why you need to see a professional) When you’re hurt and recovering from injury or surgery, your brain sends messages to protect the area (you use it less, and baby it more) and it grows weak with disuse. Ligaments and tendons shorten as movement is limited. The healing process itself causes scar tissue and that adds to the whole mess. You live in pain and pain holds you back.

It’s a vicious circle; you can’t move because you’re in pain and your pain continues because you can’t move. And it goes without saying; you’ll probably not reach your weight loss goals with so much physical chaos….ugh!

You Can’t Get There From Here

Action Eight participant Julie V. has been dealing with this nightmare existence for years. She’s not overweight but wants a healthy, active retirement and a strong body. She wants to ease her painful joints. She wants to minimize the symptoms of menopause, and she wants to keep her metabolism stoked to avoid inevitable age-related weight gain.

She wants to manage her aging but she has to begin where she is now, and that’s in constant pain.

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“Julie knew that she had to keep moving but tightness in her joints, chronic pain and resulting muscle imbalances kept her from full range exercise form. After physio she’s limber enough to squat deeper and do more in the gym than ever before.”

Julie began experiencing excruciating pain in her hips more than 6 years ago. She couldn’t do her job and went on modified duties. She was diagnosed with torn tissues and bone spurs (most likely caused from years of wear and tear from sports combined with heredity). After surgery to scrape the spurs and repair the tears, she was left with limited range of motion, still in chronic pain, experiencing sleepless nights and had little hope of breaking the cycle.

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“Today. Finishing a workout with a stretch in a lengthened supine pose. This position used to cause so much discomfort that she couldn’t sleep well at all. With therapeutic manipulation, daily stretching and a good weight-bearing exercise program things are beginning to change for the better!”

As the joints heal, new issues arise. Scar tissue that forms to protect the healing body parts cause painful inflexibility. Unfortunately her decision to stop physiotherapy limited her ability to maintain a reasonable level of flexibility. She continued to exercise with the intention of living the best quality of life possible, but felt her efforts produced less advancement than she hoped.

When we began working together several months ago I explained that she’d have to address inflexibility before she could even hope to further strengthen her body. Her mindset and determination was perfectly poised for very healthy aging yet the her body’s tightness made it impossible to perform exercise optimally.

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“Very subtle differences make the world of difference in someone healing from trauma and is experiencing painful movement. A taller posture and a hopeful outlook is just as thrilling as dramatic weight loss. Julie feels the difference and very encouraged by what can be seen in her comparisons and more by what can’t be seen. Her pain is not getting the best of her!”

Now on The Action Plan and back to therapy, Julie is seeing and feeling a big difference. It’s still uncomfortable for sure, but now she has the confidence and guidance that will help her achieve her goals, maintain a good level of physical strength and has hope for a pain-free future.

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“By working on flexibility first, her workouts serve to strengthen lengthened muscles, tendons and ligaments instead of reinforcing tight, restricted areas. She stands taller and her postural improvements are the first sign that muscles are responding and working as they should. Exercise form and function continues to improve and Julie’s growing confidence keeps her active and engaged in her training.” 

Begin with Where You Are

If you want to lose weight but you’re in pain, get therapy! Even if you’re not overweight, treat the pain for a better quality of life and health. Commit to it for a lifetime if you must!

Exercise will not “cure” genetic conditions nor heal injury but weight-bearing exercises are important for pain sufferers. Resistance training can strengthen muscles around the joint that hurts. The stronger the muscle is, the less pain you are likely to feel in that joint, but you have to get help to get to the point where weight lifting is possible. You have to get beyond the pain.

Get Fit Over 40

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When I was starting out as a trainer I thought I could help everyone. I thought that if only people would start exercising they could achieve their goals through sheer willpower. I know better now. The Action Plan is not for everyone. If you’re experiencing pain or dealing with acute or chronic conditions please start by seeing a medical professional. Work with a reputable personal trainer as you begin your exercise journey back to good health.

The plan will work optimally when your body works optimally. Do it for yourself and do it today. A world of possibilities will open to you when you take the first steps!

Wishing you the best health!

~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.

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

You Look Just Fine…

….but you want more. You want strong. You want to be fit. You want awesome aging.

Many, many, many women want to lose weight – some, lots of weight. “Bigger” women can’t figure out for the life of them what those “skinny” women are complaining about….they look just fine!

I get it. When you have 50, 80, 100 pounds to lose it can be pretty frustrating hearing about women who want to get healthier and fitter but don’t actually have a lot of weight to lose….bear with me ok, because it’s important to validate all women in their personal quest for health.

The women I’m featuring here, the Action Eight, all look just fine. Actually, in my opinion, they look great. They are all relatively healthy, reasonably fit, and (surprise) they all want to lose weight. Well, they think they do….what I find is that “losing weight” is a catch-all phrase that women use when they actually just need to firm up, reshape, get stronger and manage health conditions.

You Look Just Fine: Karen W.

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Karen’s health data calculates out as “excellent” for body weight/height, body composition, and all her health markers. She has very few physical aches; an uncomfortable hip condition is one that she accepts as normal for her. She is able to maintain her physique and health with very little effort yet she notices an “uncomfortable for her” belly bulge and she would like to age gracefully and healthily with a little less softness in her mid-section and thighs.

Karen “looks just fine” but she wants better for herself, and that’s just great! By cleaning up her eating a bit and consuming a nutritionally balanced meal plan, Karen can expect significant changes to her physique and health. She’ll begin training with weights 3 times per week.

Karen’s Focus Forward:

Number 1 – Begin to incorporate regular exercise.

Seemingly lucky, (and I have to agree), Karen has never been one to engage in a regular fitness program and yet is fairly fit and she looks just fine. We’ve talked about her goals and she agrees that, although she is managing well now, she wants to get ahead of the inevitable age related health declines.

The difficulty that naturally lean women experience as they age is that it’s necessary to participate in a regular and focused training plan but they’ve never formed that habit. That’s kinda tough and one of the reasons it’s a little “unlucky” to be naturally lean. Forming new habits over 40 takes resolve and learning to lift weights is confusing at first.

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Number 2 – Lift Weights!

Building lean muscle mass will strengthen the body, support the joints and build fat burning tissue. Karen will begin with Get Fit Over 40’s weight training program, Strong Over 40.

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You’ve got to start with a good, basic weight training program. Lifting weights will elicit immediate feelings of strength, fitness and well-being.

Karen will feel good immediately and she’ll be motivated and inspired by those feelings to continue. By addressing strength first, and building lean muscle, she can expect to maintain her current weight or even gain a few pounds.

The increased weight gain will come from lean muscle tissue, not fat! And: that lean muscle will serve as an incinerator to keep extra belly bulge and soft thighs in check. Bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, cardiovascular system….every body system will be positively affected! And she will maintain a good weight while enjoying a fabulous, strong and healthy fit physique.

Nutrition

Number 3 – Clean up your eating!

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Karen eats well and her choices are often exactly what fits into a good healthy lifestyle, but because she wants to be more than “just fine” I suggest a few things.

I’d like her to track her habits and maximize the good ones, alter the not so good ones. It’s not important at this time to “be perfect” and “eat good”. What’s important right now is for Karen to realize that all (real) foods are good and can be included in a healthy lifestyle, but you’ve got to eat! Yes, potatoes are good!

“A healthy lifestyle includes all food in moderation, but if you want a dramatic difference you’ll have to make some changes for the time being.” Nourish Nutrition Plan

Also, I’d like for her to make sure she’s eating regularly. When you’re aiming to build up a good strong body you need to provide the materials. Whether you want to lose weight or add strength and tone, you have to eat.

11028131_1610358779185730_1264080325_oAre you lean but soft? Do you suffer from health conditions that could be managed with exercise and better eating?

Do you believe that you have to eat less, lose more and suffer through a rigorous exercise routine to have “that” physique? Do you look just fine but want more?

Follow the training of the Action Eight and discover an easier way to attain your goals!

~karen

Follow me on YouTube! Channel Karen Pilote

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

What is Wrong with Me?

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We were able to lose weight in our late 30’s. Now we’re Over 40 and the weight is creeping back on despite exercise and diet. We start to notice more bloating in the stomach area. What is wrong with us??
Ughhh!

First, and foremost, there is NOTHING wrong with you! Either you want to get fit and are willing to do what it takes OR you want to keep talking about it. It makes no difference to anyone but you. You are the same amazing person to your friends, family, and co-workers no matter what you weigh.

But do you like yourself? Do you like how you feel? Are you content with your life? Do you feel fulfilled?

If you do, great!

If you want better for yourself it’s time to face some realities. Ready?

Numero Uno: Demand honest answers from yourself to these tough questions before you drown your sorrows in a box of wine:

1) What is your food intake? Not enough? Too much? Calculate the correct amount of calories to reach your goals.
2) What foods do you eat most often? Healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables? Or processed junk?
3) Is your water intake sufficient? You need water. Period. You can find out why in a million places online…..google water. 🙂
4) Is your exercise program geared towards your intended goals? Or do you choose activities that you like most? Spend your training sessions doing the work that gets results. Save the fun stuff for in between.
5) Is your stress level through the roof? If you’re anxious, worried, and stressed your body is going to respond with its own mechanisms, sending out armies of hormones to help you cope but that will also promote fat storage…I know, not fair!

Menopause, arthritis, illness, workload, children, grandchildren, family commitments, holidays, celebrations….Yep! There are lots of excuses that are totally understandable. But, are you going to keep using them?

It’s time to Get Fit Over 40. Lift yourself fit!

http://www.getfitover40.tv

~karen

 

Get Rid of Flabby Thighs Over 40

My Flabby Thighs

I hated my thighs all my life and because I am over 40 (way over) that’s a stinkin’ long time. Too long for someone with a reasonable level of self esteem, or so I would imagine from a psychological perspective.

599019_228521523943423_2082401895_nIt’s so hard to post this comparison but it illustrates my point. Today at 54 y/o I am neither that chunky (2007) nor that lean (2011). I can maintain a good, strong and healthy balance.

Genetics will forever factor in but after making the initial transformation it’s easier to maintain “normal” body fat levels and leaner legs with regular weight lifting sessions, moderate cardio and a balanced diet.

 

 

A WAR

I’ve waged war on my thighs for more years than I care to admit, slamming the poor things with so much negative attention that Abraham Hicks would shake his head. I know I’m not alone, right?  Help me out here.  If it’s not your thighs then it might be flabby arms or a bulging belly but most everyone has their own personal vendetta against some part of their body.

Not you? Wow, that’s so great! But I think a majority of us are looking to improve physically even though we know full hips and shapely thighs are a beautiful thing.

If you’re reading this you’ve probably got a “flabby” reason but I hope you’re not expecting a miracle solution (because there’s not one).

Unfortunately I can’t tell you it’s as simple as applying a lotion, taking a pill or drinking a tea. No, there’s not one exercise, food or product that will spot reduce fat, smooth out cellulite or flatten a flabby tummy. I wish there was……but more, what I do hope for you is that you accept your perfect self for who you are and recognize all the things that make you so. You’re beautiful!

But there’s still some flabbiness and we want to get that under control. It’s just who we are……right?

Here’s the thing, you will have to be even more diligent with these steps because you are Over 40, and you  certainly can! Here we go:

To Get Rid of Flabby Thighs:

1) STRENGTH TRAIN 2-3 times per week and engage your leg muscles with exercises that will make the whole body strong. When you eat properly and begin to lose the fat that covers your body you want to see strong, toned muscles underneath. Work to sculpt your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, and butt and your legs will look leaner and slimmer. Target the lower body with workouts that are included in The Action Plan.

Squat, lunge and deadlift for strong, shapely legs.

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2) BURNING CALORIES is key to reducing your overall body fat. Moderate intensity, heart pumping cardio is necessary. Choose activities that burn the most calories like biking, running, rowing, swimming and jumping rope. These exercises will also tone the legs while you’re doing them. Work up to 40-minutes of moderate intensity cardio sessions (two times a week) and 20-minute High Intensity Interval Training (three times a week) to really notice a difference. The Action Plan includes exercises and schedules for you!

Burn calories to reduce overall body fat. Bike, run, row, swim.

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3) DON’T SKIP MEALS and definitely don’t miss breakfast because it’ll rev up your metabolism helping to reduce your overall body fat and reveal your lean legs. Follow The Action Plan nutrition guide and learn to include a balanced combination of protein, fat and fiber-filled complex carbs. The protein will give you energy for your daily training sessions, and it also helps build muscle. The fats will keep you satiated and the carbs will sustain that energy from meal to meal, day to day.

Lean proteins, natural fats, fruits and vegetables for overall fat loss.

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4) CHOOSE WATER most often and with few exceptions. You’ll save mega calories avoiding sweetened beverages. Staying hydrated helps with weight loss and the intricate physiological functions that support good health. Drink often throughout the day and especially before meals as a means to control your appetite and for a natural detox effect. Water is just good all the way around!

Infuse water with flavorful fruit & veggies and drink up!

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Your Flabby Thighs

No need to get overwhelmed. I’ll leave you with these 4 important steps to getting rid of flabby thighs. There are more strategies including: a variety of activity, macronutrient balance, sleep and recovery, managing acute or chronic conditions and stress, etc. But if you get serious, become consistent and remain persistent with just these 4 biggies you will see an incredible change in your body composition and the appearance of your legs. You will get stronger and slimmer!

ua302995_275735735782009_176229755732608_971238_1752614442_n Work hard, stay consistent, believe in yourself and anything is possible. Just remember you are perfect just as you are and when you strive to become stronger and healthier you’ll only get “perfecter”!

xo

~karen

 

Right On Time!

2015 Happy New Year greeting card

I KNOW!

I’M WAY LATE BUT NEW YEAR FITNESS IS ALWAYS RIGHT ON TIME!

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 training clients and teaching classes but I’ve not been focused. I can stay in pretty good shape by keeping active and busy but in order to make changes I know that I have to be more diligent and present – I need to be targeted at the goal I want to achieve over the next 12 weeks.

IT’S 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!

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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.

Karen Pilote The Action Plan

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”?

TO RISE YOU MUST OVERCOME CHALLENGES.

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. Loudly. But we’ve no choice if we’re going to achieve that weight loss!

Karen Pilote The Action Pla

In JUST 30 DAYS  YOU’RE GOING TO BE BLOWN AWAY BY HOW MUCH

YOU’VE IMPROVED AND HOW GREAT YOU FEEL!

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.

ONE DAY AT A TIME, ONE WORKOUT 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!

I’m back on track here, at GFO40 blog and with my training too. Get out the Plan or download a copy today and let’s make this Monday rock with new and realistic intentions. We are stronger than our excuses, right?  Great! Let’s begin New Fitness Year together! (for real this time! lol)

Information and purchase: The Action Plan

Direct Purchase Link: The Action Plan

Karen Pilote The Action Plan  ~karen

 

 

Plank Motion and Activation

The Plank Pose is the bomb for strengthening your abdominal muscles and also the muscles of the back, hips, and pelvic floor. You won’t get six-pack abs doing this exercise alone, but you will gain core stability (trunk and spine) and great posture!

How to do it.

Tighten your abdominal muscles to help you hold the position correctly, and hold it as long as you can. When you begin to feel your lower back start to sag from fatigue, take a break, then get back into the proper position and hold the move once again.

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How to do it better!

Exercise progression is key to getting stronger. Make the plank a DYNAMIC move: when you can hold this pose for 30-60 seconds begin to implement movement modifications to target a variety of  strength, balance, stability and coordination initiatives. The Power Plank demo video is a GFO40 classic. Watch it here and incorporate some new moves to your core training. Make it a challenge!

Core Activation

When it comes down to good physical conditioning the bottom line is “how quickly does your body respond”.  Training for muscle activation is a huge component of physical fitness. We want our bodies to react strongly, quickly and efficiently in our daily activities. A conditioning sequence for the plank pose should include “quick activation” drills:

Activation Plank

Perform a series of Activation Plank repetitions by lying flat on the floor in position to engage the posture. Begin by tensing and engaging all muscles of the body and quickly lift into plank position. Hold the posture for a few seconds and then return to relaxed posture, lying flat on the floor. Immediately repeat this process 6-8 times for one set of Activation Planks. Work up to 3 sets.

 

 I Just Wanna Zip my Jeans!

Do you want to get rid of the middle age belly bloat?  Do you want to have flat abs of steel? Do you want to simply zip up your friggin jeans?  You can, but it takes a consistent overall effort; diet and exercise. The whole process has to start with some really “not sexy” core strengthening. Overall, full body, integrated strength will enable you to perform the more vigorous training necessary to burn fat efficiently. You need endurance and stamina to hang in there for the long haul. The plank is one of those basic exercises that you might take for granted, a training staple that will support your long-term goals.

heartDid you do the Power Plank series?

Grab a foam roller and then let me know how many rounds you finished!

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Subscribe to Get Fit Over 40 and get the Nourish Nutrition Plan: Click the Apple!

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