What do you think?

“It isn’t in accomplishing something of greatness that you gain your worth; it’s in appreciating your true worth that imbues everything you do with great value.” – Michael Tamura

Combining Organic Healthy Diets with Exercise

I just got back from the 31st Eco Farm conference in Pacific Grove, California. I have been intrigued with farming, and now organic farming ever since I was a kid, when I grew flowers and vegetables around my house in Wisconsin. So, when I heard about this sustainable agriculture conference that is held each winter near Monterey, I just had to check it out. So here I was, a personal trainer from San Francisco among hippies and farmers and people who work very hard to grow high quality food.

I loved what I heard. There were seminars focusing on successful growers, giving tips for new farmers, seminars on attracting bees and other pollinators to your crops, composting, identifying beneficial insects…you name it. The people were generally in good shape, as organic farmers do alot more physical work keeping the crops weeded and generally doing everything without the benefit of pesticides and man made fertilizers, and maybe even heavy machinery.  People were gentle, well-spoken, and eager to share information about what they do.  I learned that community for these farmers are very important.  You want to foster relationships as a way to share information, as well as to share tools and labor, when needed.

This conference helped  me realize how interconnected the fitness industry and the sustainable food industry could and should be. Good health is a combination of what you put in your body, and how you move your body.   Knowing where your food comes from and knowing the benefits of organic food versus conventionally grown food leads to making conscious, healthy choices.    Organically grown food tastes better, has higher nutrient value because it is grown on healthier soils, and you are not ingesting harmful pesticide residues that are used on conventionally grown food.

From One Who Knew:

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.” – Jack LaLanne (9/26/1914 – 1/23/2011)

Improving Hip Health and Mobility

This is a good post from todays’ the Zen To Fitness blog:


There is more and more evidence that our sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to our health.  There is an increase in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes to name a few.  Tight hips and reduced mobility is another consideration. Our long bouts of continual sitting shorten our hamstrings and hip flexors, and can cause lower back pain, and reduced mobility.   The blog also talks about some helpful exercises to counter tight hips, such as hip raises, lunges and yoga.  I recommend incorporating breaks in our sitting during the day.  Every 30 minutes, get up from your chair and walk around for a few minutes.  Swing your legs, do some sit and stands from your chair.   The goal is to keep your muscles around your hips from getting short and tight.  Sitting too much is not good for our bodies!   Get up frequently from your desk and move . This stuff really works!

Rebuilding the injured body

“Constant feedback and careful progressions are essential
for helping one client improve functional mobility.” Idea Fitness
Journal, December, 2010. I liked this article because it addresses the re-building of injured muscle. Throughout our life, muscle and connective tissue can get injured due to trauma, or to improper mechanics.  The rebuilding process may be slow, and there may be a instances where we revisiting pain, but hopefully over time the muscle(s) can be retrained.  Once we focus on increasing joint mobility and in making the body move freer and with less effort, the lesser the chance that we are going to injure the body.

Happy New Year!

I don’t have any right to complain, but it was really cold here today in San Francisco!   I needed my warm top, gloves, a cap, and plenty of kleenex for a runny nose as I left my warm comfortable apartment for my run.  I challenged myself  today from my usual going out and running for 4 miles at a semi-comfortable pace.  What I did was that I ran comfortably for seven minutes, and then sprinted for a minute, then repeated this sequence.  At my pace, each sequence is about a mile, so by the end of the run I would complete four sequences and run for four miles.  The benefit?  This is a relatively short run for me, so instead of trying to run for a long time and increasing my endurance,  I am working on my ability to generate speed.  I am making my muscles get out of their comfort zone for a minute each mile, and increasing the muscles’ ability to tolerate speed.   Doing this is not easy!  My heart rate races and my breath accelerates, but it feels great when I have run back to my apartment, and can stop and stretch.  And, to my amazement, it’s not  so cold outside any more!

Holiday People Connections

During the holiday season, Many of us will be visiting, or
having visitors over. This time of year can be very charged,
emotion wise. You might want to pay special attention to your
connections with people. When greeting loved ones and friends, take a
little time to think about what is happening in this interaction.
You have the opportunity to look at someone in the eyes, and see
into their soul. You can take in their scent. When you touch, you
can feel their warmth, their life-force, the softness of their skin
and the hardness of their bones. In the hub-bub of the day, it is
nice to slow down and take in the moment, and notice the miracle that is every
one of us, and the gift of life that is so precious.

Consciously Relating to Your Body

“You can’t expect your body to serve you if you give it nothing to work with. The body of a middle-aged executive isn’t out to sabotage him when the man decides to shovel a foot of snow from his driveway. But if he has ignored his heart for years, there is danger in sudden hard exertion, perhaps fatal danger. The key to the body’s reliability lies in cooperation: only ask for as much as you have given. Compared with other intimate relationships, your body asks for a fraction of what it is willing to give in return. This is another area where it helps to personify your body instead of objectifying it. Think of your body as a willing worker who wants only a meager salary, but who cannot survive on nothing. The salary it asks for is paid in personal attention. If you genuinely want to cooperate with your body, paying it a little attention makes proper diet, exercise, and rest easy – you will be providing those things because you want your willing worker to be happily employed.”

Holiday Meditation

I get a little lonesome and scattered over the holidays. Meditation is my life-saver to stay connected to myself, and then ultimately with others. The best way for me to meditate is to sit still and be quiet for 15 to 30 minutes shortly after waking up. I also take advantage of my solitary daily runs to meditate. My meditation is basically quieting my thoughts so there are spaces of stillness. If my mind dwells to a thought, I take that opportunity to focus on the inhale and exhale of my breath. It’s as simple as that. These periods of quiet are so healthy for my mind and soul. They act as a gentle regulator for keeping my body actually more alert and ready to receive what life has to offer me.

The Cure for the Fall Blues

We just turned the clocks back.  It gets dark early, it’s cold,  and summer is long gone.  I get a little sad with the diminishing light.  I have found that the best way to deal with my “fall blues” is to get out and move.  I pull on my cap and gloves, and get outside for a cool, rainy day run in Sausalito.  Nature is slowing down in our Northern Hemisphere, and perhaps we can slow down a little, too.  But don’t stop completely!  The change of seasons from summer to fall is a wonderful time.  What leaves remain on the trees are colorful.  The last few flowers are bravely hanging on, and have a poignancy about them.  The cool, fresh air has scents of wood fireplaces.  The autumn sunlight is spectacular with long shadows.

Go out and see the transformation, and then come inside and curl up with a book.