Stone Cut Bodies

Live healthy, live vibrant, and fall in love with your body.


Leave a comment

Chlorophyll Water

Chlorophyll Water

I have been drinking this stuff for years. I especially like to down it before I run long distances or sprint because it helps increase energy by aiding the body in producing red blood cells. Chlorophyll is almost molecularly identical to hemoglobin, the molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen, thus oxygenating the blood. It differs only in its central element. In hemoglobin, this element is iron, in chlorophyll, it’s magnesium. Because of this similarity, it helps to power me through long or rigorous workouts, and it is calorie-free.

Additionally chlorophyll is an excellent detoxifier, as it binds to heavy metals and helps remove them from your body. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, and can help with digestive issues AND reduce body odor. Not bad attributes for a calorie-free beverage!

Choose a brand that is sourced from plants like alfalfa and without additives or preservatives. It should be available at most health food stores. My favorite is DeSouza’s. Add about 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorophyll to 32 ounces of water and I like to mix mine with a few drops of peppermint oil. Happy Health!


Leave a comment

Lifting for Ladies

Back Side Cropped

Most of my female clients come to me with the goal of losing weight, specifically targeting their butts and bellies. They like to focus on cardio training and ab workouts. When I introduce weights they eye me suspiciously and when I increase the weight they invariably tell me they don’t want to “bulk up.” I even trained one woman who wanted to tone her arms but stood firmly against lifting anything more than five pounds. They tell me they admire my upper body but when I train them the way I train myself, they protest.

I understand, I had the same incorrect ideology for many years. I was a cardio junkie who would spin for an hour or more on the elliptical machine five days per week, watching the “calories” tick off on the display. It was only when I started incorporating lifting – and lifting heavy that I started to see real changes in my body. Now I dedicate two or more gym sessions per week solely to lifting, (after a quick warm up) and it is easier to keep weight off. I can eat more food and my muscles are toned and defined.

There are a few reasons for this. The first and probably most well-known is muscle confusion. Your body is smart, you need to outsmart it. When you perform the same activity over and over for your workouts, your body will adapt and become more efficient at this activity, and you will burn fewer and fewer calories doing the same thing. By interspersing different types of workouts between your cardio sessions, you are challenging your body and forcing it to burn additional calories.

The second reason occurs after your workout. After any type of exercise, you continue to burn calories once you’ve stopped moving. You get a metabolic bump from your efforts. Resistance training gives you a greater metabolic bang for your buck long after you’ve stopped lifting as compared to steady state aerobic activity.

The third reason also occurs after exercise, but is even longer-lasting. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, so even after your sweat session and post-exercise metabolic bump, the muscles you’ve built continue to act as a metabolic furnace.

Here is what I recommend to help turn your body into a fat and calorie blasting machine:

~ Lift at least twice per week between cardio sessions.

~ Start your lifting sessions with ten minutes of light cardio (running at 5 or 6 mph on the treadmill) to get your body ready for exercise and avoid injury.

~ Choose two muscle groups and two or three exercises for each group (for example, if you are working your chest, you might try pushups, chest flies and chest presses).

~ Perform 3-4 sets of each type of exercise.

~ Choose a weight with which you can do only 8-12 reps before muscle exhaustion. If you can do more, you are not challenging your body enough and should increase the weight. I realize there is the fear of “bulking up,” but this requires an amount of testosterone women simply do not have to build big muscles. My clients are surprised to learn I typically use 15-30 pound dumbbells, depending on the muscle group I am targeting .

~ Try to combine exercises for maximum burn, for example squats with curls, or lunges with shoulder presses.

~ Always incorporate some type of core work into your sessions to keep your middle lean and your body stabilized.

Try it for a month. Many years ago I swapped precious cardio sessions for lifting, and I also swapped to a leaner, more sculpted body.


Leave a comment

Disobey Your Fear

Recently I was listening to a new segment on NPR called “Invisibilia.” The station describes the show as depicting “the invisible forces that shape human behavior.” The segment I happened to hear was about fear. In particular, one man was so gripped by fear of rejection after his wife left him that he was unable to interact normally with other people, specifically women. He finally became so fed-up with the way his fear was negatively impacting his life that he decided to “disobey it.” Instead of running from it, he sought it out. He would ask random strangers for favors and rides, ask clerks for discounts, women for coffee dates all with goal of seeking the very thing that terrified him – rejection. By turning his fear upside down he began a new narrative for himself. Instead of being fearful of rejection, he was happy to receive it and said “Thank you” to those that gave it to him. He conquered his fear by challenging it. Taunting it. Asking for it. This strategy was so successful he eventually turned it into a card game that he marketed around the globe.

This story struck me profoundly. Several weeks ago a client confided to me that she was terrified before I came to train her each morning. (I had no idea I could strike terror into the hearts of my clients!) She explained that fitness had been a lifelong struggle and she feared failure once again. Admittedly I do not suffer from this type of fear. I welcome new fitness challenges and love to work my body so hard it hurts. But all my life I have suffered from another type of fear. In addition to being a trainer, I am also a performer and I suffer from fairly intense stage fright. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been on a stage hundreds, if not thousands of times throughout my life. Before I step out there, my heart pounds and I am filled with fear that I am going to f**k something up. Or that I don’t belong there. Or that I am not funny. Or can’t hit an emotional note. That is until recently, when after a performance I had an epiphany. The performance started like any other, all the palpitations, all the doubt. And when it was finished, the director didn’t run up to me and spit in my face and tell me I sucked. No. Just like all the other times, she told me I was great. On the drive home I pondered how, with evidence to the contrary, I could tell myself the same false narrative before every performance. And just like that, I decided to tell myself a new story, one that actually fit the data. At my next performance, I was startled to find no palpitations, only calm. And instead of hurting myself with negative bullying, I helped myself with positive thoughts. It has served me quite well in subsequent performances and auditions as well as other aspects of my life.

Of course fear has a viable place. Fear of lions on the plains kept our ancestors from becoming lunch. But when fear keeps you from being your best, from achieving your goals, it’s time to tell yourself a new story. Disobey your fear. Tell it “no.” Tell yourself “yes.”

Anza B 2014 Up Dog


Leave a comment

Move Your Butt

Reservoir

And what a lovely backdrop to do so! If you live in L.A. and haven’t been to Silverlake Reservoir, get your butt over there and run or walk around it. It is one of my favorite places to run. It is 2.2 miles around, so you can measure your distance easily. It is mostly flat, but has a few pretty intense hills to challenge you, and the scenery is gorgeous. There are also two dog parks (one for teeny dogs and one for large) so bring your pooch and get some outdoor exercise. Happy Health!

Reservoir 2


Leave a comment

The Best Exercise for Weight Loss

Running 2 Cropped

While all of my clients have different needs and goals, many of them have the common desire to lose weight. Of course any type of exercise is better than being completely sedentary, but some types of exercise are better than others for dropping pounds. For my weight loss clients, this is what I prescribe:

High Intensity Intervals

(sprints, jump squats, jumping lunges, jumping jacks)

High intensity intervals are the best form of cardio to torch calories. I love a good endurance run, but I burn more calories when I run sprints – that is, running as fast as I can for a short period of time, and then walking or resting for a short period of time. If you’re new to exercise, your intense period will be shorter than your rest period, but you can mix it up and play with the intervals as you progress. Start with a ratio of 10 seconds of intense work to 40 seconds of resting (a 1:4 ratio) and work up to a 1:1 ratio (10 seconds of work to 10 seconds of rest,) and then to a 2:1 ratio (20 seconds of work to 10 seconds of rest.) 20-30 minutes of this 3-5 times per week is all you need to start seeing results. In addition to burning more calories  as compared to steady-state cardio while you’re working out, you will also continue to burn more calories post-workout. A metabolic bump, what’s better than that?

 Core Work

(crunches, pulses, bicycles, leg lowers, plank, push ups (also count as resistance training,) back crunches, bow pose)

I incorporate core work into all my clients’ routines. You will need a strong core for good posture to support all physical activity. This will also help you to avoid injury, not to mention the flat, sexy abs you’ll acquire. Make sure to incorporate exercises that target your back as well as your abs, you want a strong core, not just a strong belly.

 Resistance Training

(anything using a barbell, dumbbell, weight machine or body weight to build muscle)

Building muscle is another great way to give yourself a metabolic jump.  Muscle burns more calories than fat even when at rest, at a ratio of 2.5 to 1. So in a day, ten pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories, as opposed to ten pounds of fat, which would burn 20. It adds up. Plus a toned body looks great and muscle works to stabilize your joints which will also help you to avoid injury. A trifecta of fitness!

These exercises, used together and performed regularly can turn your body into a fat-burning machine. I continue to have a fast metabolism (despite no longer being a young whippersnapper) because I work out intensely and I have a lot of muscle mass. Make your body work for you. Happy Health!

 

*Consult your physician before starting any type of exercise plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Vacation That Moves

Maine Sign

This time of year always reminds me of family camping vacations to Mount Desert Island, Maine. The air is a little crisper, the clouds a little puffier and fall feels moments away. I loved these trips soaking up the last glorious days of summer. If you have never been, this place seems wonderfully enchanted. The mountains are covered in dense, fresh-smelling pine forests, and surrounded by cold Atlantic waters that lend a briny scent to the air. Our camp site was right on the harbor, and overlooking it there was a little rock in the shape of a bench that fit my two sisters and me just perfectly. Sounds ridiculously idyllic. And for one week every year, it was.

Maine Trees 2

The best part of these trips was how active they were. We didn’t lie on a beach all week or roast in the sun while waiting to ride roller coasters and gorging on cotton candy (although there was an ice cream shop called CJ’s Big Dipper that we visited once or twice that I still drool over.) No. We hiked, kayaked, canoed, swam and jumped from rocks into the ocean only to climb back up and jump again.

Maine Alex

When I look back on these times, I am grateful for this gift my parents gave my sisters and me. We were taught to be physical, we were taught to move and that these things were entertainment, even on vacation. Especially on vacation. In the face of the obesity crisis in our country, the diabetes and heart disease epidemic, what better thing could you do for your children other than teach them this? Children learn by example.

I have a client who is very sporadic about training, but who recognizes the value of a healthy lifestyle. She bought a few sessions for her daughter who just graduated college and is equally sporadic when it comes to exercise. When I told her I was having trouble scheduling sessions with her daughter, despite the fact that the sessions were already bought and paid for, she laughed and said, “Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” No it doesn’t. And your children probably won’t fall far from your habits. My parents are 60. My dad just climbed Mt. Whitney – the highest peak in the continental U.S. and a 16 hour endeavor. My mother still runs marathons. It is not a coincidence that my sisters and I are all fit and active. Where do you want your apple to land?

Maine Tree


Leave a comment

Adult Play

Get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not what I meant…although that’s fun and a great way to get some exercise too…

Recently I went up to the bay area in California to visit my sister. While I was there, we participated in something called “Bike Party,” or, as it’s (loudly) called in moments of bike-riding bliss by all who partake, “Bike Par-DEEEE!!” It was a hoot. A bunch of about 1200 adults of all ages pedaling from designated spot to spot, stopping only to dance or climb a jungle gym. Or to dance on top of a jungle gym. There was music and flashing lights on bikes and the occasional fire cracker shot into the sky. But mostly there was movement. And people. And joy.

There are so many things we get to enjoy as adults that we don’t necessarily as children – booze, staying up late, raw fish, whoopi. But we tend to forget the silly silly exuberance of things like flying down a hill on a bike as the sun sets, wind in hair, or running so fast you feel you might launch into the air, or dancing like the biggest goof, arms and legs flailing. I am unusual in that my job is physical – I make people jump up and down for a living. Even still, much of my time is spent writing at a computer, or reading at my desk. When I find myself in a moment of active bliss, I think, “Why don’t I do this MORE?!” Our bodies want to move. They want to be healthy. And when we engage them in this way, they thank us by flooding our brains with happy chemicals. Exercise doesn’t always have to be a five mile run on the treadmill or a grueling lifting session (although it’s good to incorporate these into your routine as well…) Put on some music and have the silliest dance party with your kids. Jump on a bike and pedal in the prettiest place near your home, sunshine splashing you in the face. Run down a hill as fast as your legs will carry you. Swing on a swing set. Move. Play. Giggle. Be a goose.

Desert Dancers Pose  Desert Hangin

Bike ParDEEE

Your body will thank you for it. And your mouth will smile.