educational

Can you over-exercise?

In my family, stories of my Grandma Lloyd are legend. 

She was a 4’11 Irish woman who was notorious for speaking without a filter, a lack of attention to detail, being a horrible cook (spaghetti with tomato soup anyone?), and driving on the sidewalks.

 Too much fertilizer, too much water, too much exercise. Too much of anything is no good. 

Too much fertilizer, too much water, too much exercise. Too much of anything is no good. 

One of the favorite stories is when my grandfather brought home a new tree for the backyard. After a few weeks, the tree had died, and my grandfather pressed her for what happened. 

“How much fertilizer did you put on it?” he asked. 

She disclosed that she’d been giving the tree four times the amount that was recommended and had killed the tree. 

“Well,” she said matter of factly. “I thought if one cup was good then four cups must be better.”

It’s easy to laugh and shake my head and chalk it up to another Grandma Verda moment (yes her first name was Verda), but the thing is, I see this everyday. 

In fitness. 

If three workouts per week is good, then six workouts a week is better. If five workouts is great, then 10 must be amazing. 

No.

In my college days when we we were down south for spring break, we would bust out two-a-days to take advantage of the warm weather. And even then, when we were in our teens and early twenties and our bodies could tolerate more, we did not perform two demanding workouts in the same day. We would bust out a tough practice in the morning before doing skills work and running plays in the afternoon. 

Because the most important thing in preparing for the season, aside from getting conditioned and knowing the plays, was staying healthy.

Staying healthy. 

Say that together with me. 

Stay healthy.

Working out is a lot like adding fertilizer to a growing tree or salt to a recipe. More is not always better. You can have too much of a good thing.  Less is more. 

Feel free to add your own cliche. 

If you want to dedicate that much time to your fitness though, I would offer the same message I did in my post the other day. 

Harder isn't always better.

You could go out for a long run in the morning and then spend an hour that same night foam rolling and doing active recovery work. Active recovery might get your heart rate up, but the goal is to work on your movement quality - perhaps by performing your warm up (you do warm up, right?) five times in a row. 

Instead of working out 12 times per week, workout six times and use those other time commitments to help your body recover.

Do you get soft tissue work done? Do you go for massages? 

Massage is not just a luxury. And it's not indulgent. Sure a Swedish massage can be just that, but soft tissue work can also go a long way in keeping you healthy. It can relieve stress and help you manage anxiety (both of which are paramount to keeping you sane and healthy), but a good massage can also increase your range of motion, help you sleep better, and enhance your actual exercise performance.

In fact, after experiencing tightness in my knee for the past week, I went for a deep tissue massage yesterday and my knee feels better than it has in two weeks. He worked all of the muscles around my knee and my range of motion is much better. 

Sure I could have spent 90 minutes running yesterday, since I'm signed up for a marathon - but I'm going to have a much better two hour run today because I spent yesterday caring for my body. 

And don't assume that working out 12 hours per week is going to get you to your goal faster. Because if you don't stay healthy you're going to have a tough time hitting your goal at all. 

More is not always better. 

Ok? Ok. Good talk. 

Did you know I have a newsletter? It's true. I do. I send out weekly emails with tips and tricks in fitness and nutrition. Did you also know that I'm releasing my first fitness product in April? And that I'll be giving away a free copy to someone on my newsletter list? No, you didn't know that? Well, now you do. Sign up here.  No, I won't share you email. That's just not cool. 

How does muscle building change as we age - guest post

Here's the funny thing about the interwebz.

Samantha Oliver, a personal trainer who lives across the pond in Britain, was riding the bus home one day and casually searching the hashtag #catsofinstagram on her phone. 

For those of you who read my site regularly, you're first thought here is "wait a second. You have cats?"

Yes. Sadly, as of yesterday, only one cat, as our 15 year-old yowly, curmudgeonly cat Cosmo passed away. 

 Yes, there is a cat in my household. She tries to smother me in my sleep. 

Yes, there is a cat in my household. She tries to smother me in my sleep. 

I've posted about cats exactly twice in my intsagram career, but out of that post came a collaboration with Sam. 

Some people fight wholeheartedly to retain their youth, strength, and aesthetic beauty, and others welcome their old(er) age with positivity, serenity, and grace. However, no matter the category you occupy, one thing is for certain: your muscle-building potential changes drastically as you age, and no, it’s not okay to allow yourself to lose muscle mass.

We aren’t necessarily talking about aesthetics here so much as we are talking pure functionality, health, virility, and quality of life. Muscle is crucial in keeping you fit, able, strong, and healthy, especially as you approach your silver years. Here is how muscle-building changes as you age and what you can do to keep making gains and stay healthy.

The muscle building potential through the decades

And then, puberty struck. Your body began to change, your bones and muscles grew, and your muscle-building potential was through the roof. Fortunately, this continues well into your twenties and even into your thirties if you are genetically gifted.

However, for most people, once you hit that thirty threshold, things begin to change. As you move through your thirties and into your forties, the testosterone levels imperative for muscle growth (among numerous other bodily processes) gradually begin to decrease, making it increasingly difficult to build muscle and preserve a toned physique. This is why at this point proper nutrition and rigorous training becomes essential.

Have you heard of Sarcopenia?

So who, or rather what, is the main culprit orchestrating the demise of your hard-earned physique? Much like arthritis affects your cartilage and osteoporosis affects your bone density, a condition called sarcopenia affects your muscle mass and your muscle-building potential.

This degenerative condition associated with aging increases with time, and there isn’t much you can do about it except work hard at subduing its effects and work even harder towards building new muscle tissue despite its presence. And yes, it is doable.

Building or maintaining muscle mass

Needless to say, losing muscle mass should never be an option, especially as you approach senior status. While preserving an aesthetic physique is always a good way to nurture your confidence and self-esteem, you should mainly focus on building muscle and strength for the purpose of leading a healthy, vibrant, and energetic lifestyle.

Losing muscle mass can lead to numerous conditions down the road, and even injury, especially in the lower region. Hips, knees, shins, and your lower back all need adequate support, which is the primary role of your muscles. Lifting weights and maintaining cardiovascular endurance will also help keep your bones and connective tissue strong and healthy.

Staying safe and tailoring your routine

However, you can’t expect to run the same training program as you did twenty years ago. Not only will you gain less, but you will also risk injuring yourself, perhaps indefinitely. You need to learn to listen to your body and tailor your training routine to fit your goals and your current capabilities. And then go ahead and build up from there.

One of the most important things to remember is to stay safe no matter what. Safety should be your number one priority, so make sure you maintain proper form and wear protective gear and durable weightlifting clothes for support, comfort, and mobility. Remember to up your flexibility and mobility routines as you age as well, in order to decrease the risk of injury.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Finally, you want to use these insights to tailor a healthy lifestyle routine entailing proper sleep, nutrition, and training. These are the essential constituents that form a foundation of a healthy future. Your goal should be to remain strong, vibrant, and most importantly, able to live out your entire life to the fullest. Sticking to regular exercise will help you do just that.

There are some things we can’t change in life no matter how hard we try, such as time itself catching up as we age. However, we can influence the way old age treats us, whether it will be kind or cruel. Be sure to use these powerful insights to pave the road to a lifetime of strength, vibrancy, and health.

 Samantha Oliver

Samantha Oliver

Knowledge bomb dropped. Boom.

Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter, or in a tea shop. 

https://twitter.com/sam_olivier_

https://ripped.me

Personality type and fitness

Friday morning my alarm went off, and I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower.

I’d signed up for an early morning networking event. (As I try to grow my business, I recognize that these type of events are important, even if I’d rather slide down a razor blade into a bed of salt than spend my spare time socializing with strangers.)

 This is how I get my energy. And also why it's sometimes hard to actually type a blog post, with his head on my wrist and whatnot...

This is how I get my energy. And also why it's sometimes hard to actually type a blog post, with his head on my wrist and whatnot...

So I put my clothes on and as I got ready to head out the door, was slammed with a realization. 

I just…..couldn’t…..talk….to….one….more…..person. 

Not yet anyway.

So I turned around. Put my Captain America jammies back on and crawled into bed with a pillow over my head. 

I felt a little guilty because I’d spent 20 bucks on the event. And my life coach, whom I really like, was presenting on the problem of saying no (I’m sure she was proud that I said no to this event on saying no…) 

But I’d spent from 10:50 am to 8:05 pm on Thursday either talking to or being talked to at the gym.  

I’ve known since college that I am an introvert. My spiritual director administered the Meyers Briggs test and I was an off-the-charts introvert (I’m an INFP if you’re curious). For those of you who know me now, you might be surprised to learn that I'm introverted, as I've learned to be outgoing through the years.   

The terms introversion and extroversion are preferences popularized by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and later incorporated into what is now known as the Meyers Briggs test I referenced above. 

Extroverts tend to be outgoing and talkative and get their energy from parties and engaging with people. Introverts tend to get their energy from quiet reflection, and that energy dwindles during interactions. 

I know what I need to get and keep my energy up, and I know that quiet reflective time (i.e. pillow over my head) is important for me. But I forgot.

A few years ago I read the book Quiet by Susan Cain. I didn’t think the book had much to teach me (I know…how arrogant of me), mostly because I spent so much time working with my personality type in college and when I lived in the convent.

I was wrong. This book was an excellent reminder that it’s not just conversations and being around people that fatigue me.

It’s loud noise (I don’t love concerts), bright lights (I work in ambient light at every opportunity), and any other type of stimuli. Which means the gym is actually a very draining environment for me, no matter how much I love it.

I write this post mostly because I think so many of us try to force ourselves to go against the grain. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to terrify yourself sometimes (I’ve been doing more Facebook Live videos, which I recommend if you want to terrify yourself. Also jumping out of planes, but I’m not going to do that.) If you don’t challenge your comfort zone, you’ll never grow.  

But if you don’t also pay attention to your needs and energy levels you’ll fry yourself. 

Let’s say you are a high introvert and decided to sign up for Crossfit* at the beginning of 2018 because your friend insisted you try it. It was okay at first, but gradually, you found yourself dreading each session - maybe because you didn’t feel like working out, but maybe because you also just want to put your headphones on and be left alone. I’m not knocking Crossfit here, but the community aspect is part of it’s appeal. If I spent my day working in an office and rarely talking to people, I could probably enjoy that community vibe. But given the work I do now, there’s no way I want to do a workout that requires engaging with people. 

Choosing an exercise routine that aligns with your personality is a great way to make it stick. That might mean that you work out by yourself two days a week and take a spin class two other days. If you’re an extrovert, that might mean that you find a workout group or class for all of your workouts. 

Last Friday was an eye-opener for me. Despite my self-work and knowledge around my personality, I had to acknowledge that I can’t always force something. Going to a networking event is important and I will go to them. But next time around, I’ll plan that event around my work week and my personality and I’ll attend the event when I’m fresher. I’ll honor my introvert.

*I'm not knocking Crossfit. I just know that the Crossfit environment is largely successful because of the strong community aspect of it.  

Each week I send out a newsletter with tips and tricks for working out. Click here to sign up. I won't spam you. I'm not like that. Besides, spam is gross. 

Do you need to join a gym to get in shape?

The other day, a friend of mine shared the following article from the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/style/do-you-need-to-join-a-gym-to-get-fit.html

 I firmly believe one of the reasons that races like the Tough Mudder are so popular is community, team, and play aspect of it. Also in searching for a portapotty in the middle of rural New Hampshire. That's fun too...

I firmly believe one of the reasons that races like the Tough Mudder are so popular is community, team, and play aspect of it. Also in searching for a portapotty in the middle of rural New Hampshire. That's fun too...

The article, which is certainly worth the read, highlights the efforts of a New York Times reporter to join a gym and try to “get fit.”

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but she ultimately decides that she doesn’t need a gym to get fit. She gets plenty of exercise from playing pick up basketball.

What is this article basically saying? 

Playing like a kid is good for you.

Absolutely! Get out that whoopie cushion and that fake dog poop and...oh you don't have that in your desk drawer? Oh yeah...uh me neither. Nope, not me. 

Playing like a kid IS good for you. (Whoopie cushion too...) There are many benefits of playing sports as an adult to stay in shape. 

1. You move in different planes of motion

The sagittal plane is where most of us spend our time. We’re walking forward, and in the gym we’re squatting, deadlifting (I hope) and curling in the squat rack. Don’t curl in the squat rack. The frontal plane is moving side to side, a lateral lunge for example, and the transverse plane is rotational movement, such as a golf or a softball swing. 

Very few of us move in different planes of motion as an adult, even that biologically, that’s what we are designed to do. Playing defense in basketball and swinging a racquet or golf club keeps us moving in ways that we are designed to move. 

2. You’ll forget that you’re exercising

Hahahaha...I know what you're thinking. Kim, I forget my name half the time but I could NEVER forget that I'm exercising. But you know what I mean. When the focus is on scoring a bucket instead of watching the minutes drag by on the treadmill the time goes faster. 

Playing volleyball, basketball, racquetball or squash is a great way to think about something else while still getting in a good cardiovascular workout. 

3. It’s fun

Remember fun? I hope you don't just remember fun, but that you've had some today. And yesterday. And every day. 

I make videos on a weekly basis promoting the fun of exercise, but let’s be honest, it’s not fun for everyone. Some people just flat out hate to exercise so turning the workout into a game can make the time go by much faster while also providing a good outlet for stress.  

Dodgeball anyone? 

One caveat

I just wanted to use that word.

I completely agree with the author that there are some fun and creative ways to get a good workout in without dropping 50 bucks a pop on a barre or spin class.** But I believe strength training is essential to any workout routine, especially if you’re a recreational athlete playing tennis or pickleball. 

Strength training is going to help you build more muscle and better bone density and those benefits alone will help you not only perform better in that noon-time pick-up game, but also stay healthy in the process. 

The worst feeling as an adult is when you sprint down the first base line in a beer league softball game only to pull a hamstring. It makes you feel old. Our muscles get more like beef jerky and less like a prime cut of steak as we age (analogy courtesy of Mike Boyle). Our muscles also get short as we age - for example if you sit all of the time, your quad (front of your upper leg) muscles are going to be short while your hamstrings (back of your upper leg) are going to get longer. Those shortened and tight muscles that you didn't have as a 16-year old are going to make it harder to move your joints through a full range of motion.

In other words, blah, blah, blah, beer league softball just broke me. Which brings me to my last point.  

For the love of all things holy, warm up 

Regardless of what you decide to do for a workout, warm up. Please? Please?

At a minimum, do your foam rolling or throw a tiger stick in your gym bag. Doing a couple of arm circles and side bends aren’t sufficient to get your muscles warmed up to go from 0-60 out on the basketball court. 

Just to help you out, here's an introduction to foam rolling.

Thoughts? Questions? Ready to get your own workout program? Comment below or shoot me an email at kim@kimlloydfitness.com

Even if it's just to say hi. Or tell me a joke, I love jokes. 

Struggling with fat loss? Try more protein

That's such a click-baity headline, I know. But I did it anyway because I suck at headlines and I'm experimenting, ok?

When clients want to make nutrition changes, I teach a habit based approach, something that I learned during my certification process with Precision Nutrition

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.01.39 PM.png

This means that rather overhauling your entire diet on day one, we choose one habit to focus on for each week. Usually, we start with keeping a food log. Often, just writing down everything you eat can help you find some of the hidden calories that it's easy to forget about at the end of the day. Unmeasured salad dressing, the croutons you pop in your mouth while cooking dinner or the handfuls of nuts you eat in the afternoon. 

Then we reduce processed foods. (Your body has to work harder to break down a handful of peanuts than it does two tablespoons of peanut butter). From there we focus on chewing slowly and paying attention to hunger cues. Are you really hungry at 10:00 a.m. or are you tired of answering emails and eating a snack out of boredom?

Once we've worked on these habits we start looking harder at the macronutrient breakdown. If you're unsure what a macronutrient is, check out this post here. 

One habit I encourage is to increase the overall protein intake for the day, and the recommended starting point is 100 grams. You’ll see many different recommendations on the interwebz when it comes to protein consumption, but if you’re just beginning to make dietary changes, 100 grams is a good starting point. 

There are multiple reasons that a high protein diet can help with fat loss. Protein is satiating and helps you stay fuller longer. It helps build lean muscle, especially when consumed after a strength workout. And it has a thermogenic effect, meaning that your body has to work harder to process the foods and you burn more calories in the process. (This is what people mean when they talk about the meat sweats…no I've never had meat sweats...) 

Many clients come in feeling as though they enough protein, but when we begin tracking their food, they quickly realize that they consuming much less than they originally thought. So to help get you started, here is a sample of what a 100 grams of protein in a day might look like. 

Breakfast: Smoothie - 40 grams 

In the image above, one scoop of protein powder is 23 grams, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt is 12.5 grams, and 2 tbsp. of PB Fit (not pictured) is 4 grams. One cup of almond milk, ice cubes, and some spinach or green powder and you've got almost half of your protein intake for the day. Total calories are under 300.  

Lunch: Cottage cheese, chicken breast, spinach salad - 47 grams

1/2 cup cottage cheese - 15 grams 

4 oz of chicken breast - 32 grams 

Right now, you're almost to 100 grams of protein half-way through the day, and once again, you're around 300 calories. 

Dinner: Salmon and steamed brocolli- 40 grams 

If dinner is half of a salmon fillet, now you're at almost 120 grams of protein for the day. Boom. 

Now there are a ton of different factors with this recommendation. One is assuming that you like seafood, and you may not. And another is assuming that you like and can eat dairy.  The above suggestions are only scratching the surface of possibilities. You can also get protein from grains such as quinoa and spelt, nuts and soy products and chicken and turkey.

Questions? Thoughts? Stories?

Shoot me an email at kim@kimlloydfitness.com or comment below.