Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If Michelle Obama has time to be healthier, why don't you??

I couldn't agree more with Michelle Obama when it comes to balance in life in terms of health and fitness. She said on Channel & this morning that not too long ago her family used to eat fast food several times a day because it was quick and easy. Her 2 daughters would accept what was given to them because it was under Michelle's control. As soon as she started to cut out the processed foods and add more nutrition to her family's diet (fruits, vegetables, etc), she noticed the difference in the way everyone felt and the need to stay healthy. One of her favorite foods is french fries (I love those every now and then). The trick is not to have fried foods, alcohol or sweets every day but in moderation.

As my clients heard many times from me, earn your "cheat meal". Working out like a madman (woman) does not mean you can eat ANYTHING you want! Add veggies as much as posssible to every meal, add your fruits during the day, multigrain carbs (whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, oatmeal), cut out processed foods as much as possible, increase lean protein, add good fats. Keep it simple!

We are all busy people, there's never enough time for anything. You don't have time to take care of yourself?? Make the time! It's all about planning and scheduling. If it's important for you to be healthy, you will incorporate it into your lifestyle. This is why diets never work and you gain even more weight afterwards. You need to start making small changes in your life to incorporate a healthier lifestyle. Doing anything drastic will most likely end in failure. How many times have I heard all the excuses? Try my job when I have trained 7-10 clients back to back. I may not have time for a sit down meal (protein shakes and bars had to compensate), but i always knew exactly when I had time to eat. There is no reason you can't wake up 10 minutes earlier to have breakfast or take a quick break in between clients to eat something. It's your choice! It's all about preparation!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kettlebell Bootcamp last Sat 6/20


Talk about being drenched in sweat! We had an amazing and high intensity class this saturday. Due to the rain, we worked indoors with music and a whole lot of energy! Between 2 minute intervals of jumping, kettlebell swings, lunges,woodchoppers, deadlifts, figure 8's,shuffling across the room, kb jumping jacks..there was no time to rest and barely any talking. We kept it moving the entire time with active rest. Everyone kept up and did a fantastic job swinging away! Good job guys! Ready for more next week! yay!!! Cindy Lai Fitness

How good is your posture?

Ever since technology has taken over, majority of society is now sitting behind the computer these days. This leads to poor posture, lower back pain, forward head syndrome, tightness in neck and shoulders and often times..injury. I cannot stress the importance of correct posture in a good exercise program. If you do not fix these issues which are already placing stress on your spine, you are loading your body with even more unnecessary stress when going into a workout!!

Take a look at the image on the website I referenced below...How ape evolved into man and now "de-evolving". Looks familiar? Pretty scary if you ask me. The longer you remain in your present unfixed state, the longer it will take to reverse the damges. Good posture is crucial whether you are just standing or sitting,besides exercising. Do you carry a shoulder bag,laptop, or constantly find yourself crouching over your computer? Do you stretch enough, unlock yourself out of your 8-10 hour days behind that desk, have good core and lower back strength? I specifically work with clients in improving their postures so they can alleviate their pain, stand up taller and sleep better. Don't wait until it's too late. Add another 5-10 years and you may be looking like the image behind the computer desk.

Here are a list of several youtube videos I reviewed and feel are very helpful.

How to get perfect posture:

Seated Shoulder Squeeze:

Scarecrow against wall (progression from shoulder squeeze):

Yoga Cat and Cow pose:

Floor prone cobra:

Opposite arm and leg lift:

Hip Flexor Stretches:

Posture exercises at work:

Stretching exercises to grow taller:

Spinal Stretch:

Cindy Lai Fitness

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are you getting enough fiber?

Fiber is an indigestible part of all plant foods (it is used by plants to build their cell walls). It's found in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Your digestive system cannot stomach fiber, so it is excreted undigested.

Well, you may think you don’t need fiber, because it’s excreted undigested, but that’s not true.

Let's imagine the following picture:

You overeat at least once or twice a week, more often at weekends, and your regular menu doesn't include much fiber. Well, this might be your life style; however you should consider that it may cause you lots of health problems like:

digestive troubles
high cholesterol
heart disease
colon cancer
What happens when you constantly overeat? You start feeling:

discomfort stomach aches
gases in the digestive tract
you got tired faster
can't concentrate on what you're doing

I mean you become less productive at work and more irritable at home. Besides all this, you gain weight and that’s the moment when you realize you have a problem.

You start visiting doctors and diet experts, who recommend you expensive medication, like pills and other kind of drugs, which are effective only while you are taking them; or they will make you start a diet plan and may recommend you some fitness procedures to lose weight.

Well, I’m not saying that none of these procedures will work for you. Of course some of them will work; it depends strictly on the individual. But there is always an easier, healthier and cheaper way to solve such problems.

In order to solve a problem, you should first find the reason for it. In this case it’s the lowered intake of fiber-rich foods and respectively – the higher intake of foods that contain no fiber (like meat or any other animal products). The average amount of fiber intake is about 25-30 grams per day. Unfortunately most people regular diets include less than 10-15 grams daily.

You should start consuming more of these fiber-rich foods like:

all bran cereal
beans (kidney and butter)
sweet corn
wholemeal brown bread
red cabbage
baked potato with skin
oranges and many others

I can’t list them all, but I can advise you to eat more beans, grains, fruits and vegetables, and I think that’s enough for you to get the picture.

There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. If you start eating more food rich in both types of fiber, you’ll be amazed of its beneficial effects over your digestive system, your body, your health and way of life.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water in the intestinal tract, it forms glue like gel, which softens stools (no more constipation) and slows down stomach emptying, which means better digestion (no more indigestion).

You feel fuller longer – that’s the effect that helps you eat less food, which is rich in fiber, and your digestive tract uses more energy to digest it. This way your body burns additional calories and you can lose weight. Of course it takes some time to reach your desired weight, but you won’t be starving, and yet you’ll be losing weight – isn’t it great?

Insoluble fiber acts in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s an excellent natural laxative, because of its abilities to hold onto water and to push waste faster along the intestines (leaving less time for cancerous substances in your stool to have contact with the lining of the bowel) – this way fiber decreases the risk of colon cancer and also helps prevent hemorrhoids by adding bulk and softening stools.

Soluble fiber is also known to help lowering cholesterol and the amount of insulin needed to process the blood sugar after eating.



(Above content taken from weight loss advisor.com)

A great cereal with dietary fiber is Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon Power and Optimum Slim by Nature's Path. It's an organic cereal you can find at whole foods or any organic stores which is tasty and high in fiber 7-9 gms per serving and protein 9 gms per serving. It's on sale at whole foods this week so give it a try! Eat it with skim, lowfat almond or soy milk for great taste!


For more info on fighting heart disease with fiber, please go to below link:

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Kettlebell Bootcamp, Sat 6/13

I had my first official kettlebell bootcamp this past Saturday. It was no easy feat trying to lug 90 lbs of kettlebells to the West Side...Whew, that was a workout in it of itself! It went very well though. We jumproped in between while working on the basic kettlebell movements..squats, deadlifts, highpull, hip swing, lunges in rack position, combined movements with rows, double arm, then single arm. Everyone was so focused...it was awesome! With what little energy was left, we ended off with KB Abs. Good job guys! We will mix it up and kick it up a notch every week! Always a challenge and never boring! Get to your best fitness level ever!

(For info on what Kettlebells are, go to my blog dd. 6/5/09 on Kettlebell Training)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kettlebell Fun at the KBC Convention 6/6


By this time, I was taking pictures at the end of the conference. After being battered and beaten by the end, I could only muster up enough strength to move my fingers. Classes were great and it was very inspiring to learn from the experts in the field. The last video depicts a rope workout. It may look strange but this is no easy task. Moving the rope consistently for 1 minute is equivalent to running a mile! My arms felt like they were going to fall off after 2 minutes! It's similar to kettlebells whereas you work your entire body in a functional manner. You need a lot of upper body and core strength obviously but it was fun to move the rope in all different ways, up and down, crossing into figure eights, bullwhip, together, separate...then try combing it with squats...seriously a killer! When I have my own gym one day, this is a must! Hope you enjoyed the videos!

Kettlebell update and Time management for exercise

I am finally recovered from the 2 day intense Kettlebell conference. I felt so beaten up afterwards and even tried to carry 90 lbs of kettlebells home. After 3 long blocks, I had to cab it. I had no energy left. I'm excited to start working on the material I learned from the conference for upcoming kettlebell bootcamp! For those of you know who have no idea what they are or have never worked with them before, trust me...you will feel it! Check out my previous blog for more details.

In the meantime, have you learned how to balance time management with exercise?
When you have a thousand things to do, it can feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day. You wake up, get the kids (or yourself) ready for school, go to work, come home from work, cook dinner, help the kids with their homework, get them ready for bed and before you know it, the day is done. Time for exercise? That's a joke. You'll never be able to do it all, but you can make it workable. Adjust your schedule and see where you can compromise to ensure that your needs are met. Maybe a morning workout is in order or perhaps you can fit an hour-long walk in at lunch. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Being healthy is a LIFESTYLE change. If it is important to you, you will find a way to incoporate it into your life. There is NEVER enough time in the day, but you always have time to take care of yourself. There is absolutely NO excuse! On days you cannot exercise, make sure you are moving instead of sitting your behind all day long. Any little thing you do will add up, whether it's walking to the store, walking up and down stairs, in the hallway, stretching every hour...everything counts! The more active you are, the more prevent weight gain as your metabolism slows down through the years. Engage in fun activites you enjoy. As long as you like them, you will stay motivated to keep moving.

I've heard over a million excuses not to exercise or not enough time to eat properly. What happened to planning? If you know you have a busy day coming up, prepare your meals the day before! Try my job for our change. The days I used to train 5-7 clients back to back, I had no time to sit down for a meal and had to depend on protein shakes and bars..better than nothing! I depend on my blackberry for scheduling. I lead an extremely active lifestyle and if I didn't fuel myself properly, I would never make it throughout the day. The last day of the kettlebell conference, I had continuous courses from 7a-230p with only an interval of 10-15 minute breaks. Obviously I can't have a sit down meal, but I loaded up with water, gatorade, protein bars, fruit, nuts, multigrain cereal and brown rice cakes with peanut butter.

In any case, poor preparation = sidetrack in goals. It's up to you!

We will be playing with kettlebells this Saturday. If you're up for Cindy Lai Kickass Kettelbell Bootcamp, reserve now!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kettlebell Training

What are kettlebells? I like to call it a functional moving weight which challenges your neuromuscular system. We are not bench pressing, squatting or doing shoulder presses in a stable environment all the time. Our bodies are always moving...whether you are moving boxes, walking your dog, picking up your kids, nieces or nephews and swinging them around, or engaged in some type of sports or physical activity, your body is always moving functionally. The problem with a traditional weight training program is that you are normally engaged in a one dimensional exercise. Our body works in several planes of motions. The more you can train your body to function in that manner, the better your fitness level will be. Oh, and don't forget, Kettlebells are great in burning fat by combining both strength and cardiovascular into one, along with core conditioning, coordination, and balance. It's a fun and great workout as well. Never boring and always challenging.

I have been training with kettlebells the last few years and can absolutely vouch for the results it has produced for my clients and for myself. I can't wait for the trade show this weekend with Kettlebell Concepts. It will be brutal..2 full days! Uh-oh... but I will be bringing back my skills in order to prepare for future kettlebell bootcamp! Stay tuned for more details.

Here is a more detailed article http://blogs.ajc.com/better-health/2009/05/20/thinner-you-kettlebell-training-the-hottest-fitness-trend-you-never-heard-of/

AND also a youtube video with Adman Cronin, one of the Kettlebell Concepts Master Trainer I took my certification course under http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aff6BoDIYik

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Interesting Fitness/Obesity Facts of the US Population

After sitting 2 days straight in a Crunch certification course, here are some fitness facts I thought I should reiterate from class:

65% of US population is sedentary
14% of US Population have a gym membership
8% use it

60 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity a day is recommended to prevent weight gain.
60-90 minutes recommended to maintain weight loss

Overweight adults (up to 30 lbs) are 20-40% more likely to die prematurely

The Average American gains 1 lb per year.

300 million lives are lost and $120 billion dollars annually

Since 2001 - Insurance premiums have risen up to 78% vs.19% increase in salary

Gaining 20lbs or more leads to increased medical expenses of $500 million a year

10% increase in physical activity could save $13 billion a year

If obesity continues to increase, it will slash 2-5 years of US potential lifespan -
1st generation to live shorter than their parents!!

Between 1971-2000, the average man added 168 calories to his diet,
the average woman added 335 calories to her diet (women eat 13% more than men)

Overall, overweight people underestimate their food intake by 33%
Normal people underestimate their food intake by 16%

66% of Americans are overweight (BMI > 25)
72 million Americans are obsese (BMI >30)
7-8 million Americans are extremely obese (BMI>40)
Thousands are SUPER-obese (BMI>50) NEW category deemed necessary to create

Experts predict that 9 out of 10 people will become oveweight or obese at some point in their lifetime and if recent trends continue, almost EVERY adult will either be overweight or obese by 2048!!

TOP 5 Foods:
1.Sugared Beverages
2.Cake and Sweet Rolls
5.Potato and Corn Chips

Top Activities:
1. Driving a car
2. Office Work
3. Watching tv or movies
4. Taking Care of Children
5. An Activity performed while sitting quietly
6. Eating - it's ALL sitting!

In summary, majority of our society sits behind a desk all day. Ever since technology has taken over, people are sitting more and moving a lot less! American portions have increased to ridiculous amounts and we are becoming heavier every year! How active are you? Just because you exercise once or twice a week at minimum, what about the 8-10 hours you're sitting behind a desk? Eat less (wisely), move more!! Incorporate more nutrient dense foods into your diet, drink more water, add more fiber, lean protein and most of all.. keep moving! Sit as little as you need to! That means, getting up every hour from your desk to take a few extra steps, walking to and from work, taking the stairs, doing laps around your office hallway if you have one. ANY activity you can do will burn calories.

Even if you can't make it to the gym, all these movements will add up to 10, 20, 30 minutes of activity in a day because you are moving!! Any extra steps you can take will make a big difference in the long run. Of course, food is the most crucial! Clean out your pantry and replace junk food with healthier options. Just because there are social gatherings, birthdays, celebrations, etc. does not mean you NEED to eat all those donuts, bagels, cakes, sweets, etc. Moderation! Add drinking with it, and you can easily consume almost 1000 calories in one sitting!! Alcohol is a major culprit in our weight gain epedemic. I enjoy my glass(es) of wine every now and then but drinking 5 glasses a week can easily add up to 2100 calories extra a week! 5 cans of beer can add up to 3000 extra calories!

Something to think about...If you haven't been exercising at all, start now! Balance it out with healthier eating. If you want to burn around 800 calories an hour, you are welcome to come to CINDY LAI FITNESS BOOTCAMP!

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to Balance Vacation with fitness

What a gorgeous weekend! Another fun sat of bootcamp! It's great to be back in NYC after a week in LA. Boy, are they extreme out there when it comes to fitness! Over the top in my opinion but it was good to shock my body going to the infamous Barry's Bootcamp, one of the original bootcamp instructors. Very militant and super advanced. I took 5 classes, different every time but always a challenge. Whether it's a 100 pushups, curls, jacknife, abs,boxing punches with weights in between sprints on the treadmill (NO rest by the way), or 1 full hour of legs...jumping squats on high step, jumping lunges, stepups, walking lunges (NO REST!!)..it was pretty brutal. Definitely not for the faint of heart! I can deal with it for one week but the people in his class obviously take it 5 days a week! Too much of anything is no good.

This was a much more fitness oriented vacation, but normally what do you do on vacation? We all like to work hard and look good when we go away, but you don't need to work out like a maniac either. Vacation is about enjoying your surroundings and of course the food! I always like to encourage people to take advantage of the recreational activities...swimming, hiking, walking on the beach, sightseeing, watersports, biking, whatever suits you. I love to eat, but I like to balance everything. You should definitely enjoy a good meal, but start off with a healthy breakfast filled with fruit, grains and lean protein. The great thing about traveling, especially overseas is that the food isn't genetically modified or injected with steroids. So fill up on the fresh fruits, veggies, and lean protein throughout the day.

Get your workout done in the morning! It can be a leisurely stroll on the beach or hike up the mountains, but make sure you find something you enjoy and earn yourself that meal! You can dance it off at night too. You can drink, but also drink plenty of water throughout the day. Find your balance, stay AWAY from the gym when you're on vacation. Don't forget the FUN factor! Life is too short to be confined all the time. Drink, eat, be merry, but fit your exercise in and you will be fine. You'll feel a lot better as well.

In the meantime, for those of you who overindulged over the weekend it's time to start fresh! Get your weights and cardio in. Stop doing the same old boring routine if you've been following it for the past year! If you want to shock your body, come to my bootcamp this week:

Tuesday 6/2 Central Park (South Side & Columbus Circle):
6p - Beg/Intermediate
7p - Advanced

Friday 6/5 West Side Highway (Charles Street Pier):
6p - Beg/Intermediate
7p - Advanced

Classes are normally Tuesdays and Saturdays. Intro class is complimentary.
Cancellation policy is 24 hours or you forfeit your complimentary class.
Email me for more details.

If you haven't already signed up, please reserve in advance.

See you soon! Get ready to WORK!!!!!