Why Do You Exercise?
Flanagan Fitness

Why Do You Exercise?

How fast will I lose X number of pounds??

by Shelley Flanagan on 06/19/15

How fast will I lose X number of pounds??

This is probably the most common question I get from clients. If I was able to guarantee “You will be able to lose X pounds in six weeks” I would be the most popular and richest trainer in the world.  The truth is that a lot of factors go into weight loss and most of them are not within the trainers’ control.One of the first thoughts that comes into my mind when I am asked this question is, “How long did it take you to get into your current condition?”  Isn’t it reasonable to think that it would take roughly the same amount of time to reverse the process??  Everyone is looking for the quick fix, the easy way out, the magic pill. Sorry, but there isn’t one. If there was, everyone would be fit and a size 2. It takes commitment, hard work, and consistency. It also takes the willingness to look at all aspects of your lifestyle not just a killer workout program for six weeks.You can kill yourself in the gym several times a week, but if your diet , sleep and stress levels are crap you will probably only get minimal results.I’m sure you have heard the statements you can’t out train a bad diet  and abs are made in the kitchen, but do you also realize that lack of sleep and high levels of constant stress can affect your fat loss efforts as well?I normally like to ease my clients into lifestyle change by having them start leisurely walking everyday, as much as they can, even if that is only 15 minutes a day. This serves several purposes, it promotes relaxation, reducing cortisol levels, as well as releases hormones called endorphins (think happiness hormones), helps build bone density and the added movement can aid in fat loss (as long as you don’t increase your calorie intake to offset the increase in movement!)I encourage my clients to take baby steps, it’s a marathon not a sprint, we’re working toward whole  body wellness.  Start where you are, add small beneficial changes to build a strong foundation.  This will result in a lifestyle you can maintain for the long haul not just for a few weeks.I  would much rather have a client see changes(reduction!) in the number of medications they take, in their energy levels(increase!), and in their ability to play with their children than in the size of their jeans!  Truthfully, in the big picture isn’t quality of life what matters most??

Three Fitness Myths that you need to move past in 2015

by Shelley Flanagan on 01/31/15

Crunches are the way to a 6 pack

You see it everywhere - on the covers of magazines, pinterest, and facebook- Headlines  declaring “3 days to a shredded 6 pack” , “10 minute ab workout for flat abs”  The truth is if your abs are covered in a layer of fat, you can do all the crunches you want, you're not going to be sporting a 6 pack or flat abs.

Spot reducing problem areas

We all have those problem areas, muffin tops, thunder thighs, back fat...This myth is similar to the one above, we don’t get to pick and choose what area we lose fat from.  I find that women normally lose fat from the top down, so yep, you’ll most likely lose some boobie before you’ll lose some booty! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! :- (

Lifting weights will bulk you up

This is specifically targeted to the women out there - please put those cute, little 2 lb pink weights down and pick up the heaviest weight you can lift while maintaining correct form. As women we just don’t have enough of the hormone needed, testosterone, to build big muscles. You may feel a little bigger at first, especially if you have some extra body fat to lose, but as you build muscle under the layer of fat and eat a clean diet, you will be rewarded with beautiful toned muscles and body. By the way, having more muscle also happens to be the best way to burn fat!

Setting New Year Goals

by Shelley Flanagan on 01/01/15

Happy 2015!

Are you a resolution setter? I am, although I prefer calling them goals instead of resolutions.

According to the web site USA.gov.com the most popular New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Lose Weight

  • Volunteer to Help Others

  • Quit Smoking

  • Get a Better Education

  • Get a Better Job

  • Save Money

  • Get Fit

  • Eat Healthy Food

  • Manage Stress

  • Manage Debt

  • Take a Trip

  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

  • Drink Less Alcohol

As we all know most New Year resolutions don’t work. Fitness classes and personal trainers schedules are packed in January, start thinning out in February and by March its just the regular die hard crew who are left!

I think this is because most people try to change too much at once, all or nothing attitude, and end up burning themselves out. I tell my clients to think of these types of change as a marathon and not a sprint, small changes over time.

If I had to pick one resolution for my clients from the list above, I would have them start with reducing or managing their stress levels. I believe that once this is done some of the other resolutions could piggyback on one another.  Reducing stress can lead to weight loss, especially belly fat, would help with quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and making healthier food choices.

Last year one of my main goals was to reduce stress. I developed a health issue that I believe was caused by both my dad and younger brother passing away within a few years of each other. I had to assess my fitness program, diet, sleep patterns, and relationships.

One thing that I found helpful in reducing my stress level is daily rituals. I thrive off structure so I find rituals to be comforting and relaxing. When I wake up in the morning I immediately stretch for 30 minutes, in the dark or very low light and without noise. I found that taking this 30 minutes to nurture myself sets the tone for the rest of my day.  I feel less rushed and stressed about all of the things I need to accomplish that day vs waking up with a sense of urgency and rushing to get out the door.

What is the one thing you can do every morning to reduce your stress and to start your day off on the right foot?

Why Do You Exercise?

by Shelley Flanagan on 06/30/14

Why do you exercise?

The answers to this question are as varied as the people you meet in life!

Some say to get in shape or more specifically, to lose weight.  The fat loss journey is a two part journey, exercise and diet. As we all know, it is hard to stick to a diet and it is common to “fall off the wagon”. When that happens it is also common to feel guilt and a sense of failure, so off to the gym to “punish yourself” with a tough workout to make up for falling off the diet wagon.  “How long do I have to stay on this treadmill to burn off that cupcake?” is a question I get often.  It’s a vicious cycle that ends up making you feel like a failure, no wonder some people associate negatively to exercise and find it so hard to stick to a fitness plan

What if we changed our mindset and looked at exercise as something invigorating, gratifying, or even rewarding and a blessing?  A reward for getting through a tough day or for the good choices we did make. A blessing that we are able to physically move the way we would like to and are not injured or restricted. How privileged are we to be able to knock out those pushups and squats?   

How to make that mindset switch?

First, find an activity you enjoy whether it is running, playing basketball, lifting weights, or a group exercise class. Second don’t think that you have to crunch yourself every time you work out! A yoga or stretching session may be just what you need to feel more energized. You should always leave a work out feeling better than when you started. Lastly stop believing that you need to work out certain number of minutes a day, a certain number of days a week or else it doesn’t matter and you are a failure. If you don’t feel like lifting one day, go for a walk or a bike ride instead. Let go of the mindset that every workout needs to be structured or it doesn’t count, the most important thing is that you are moving.

Fill in your own blank, “I exercise because _________”