Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting Fit (For Sabi Honom and the Ladies of the Ummah)

I've had a house guest These last few days.

It's my dear friend Carey Rockland. Carey is one of the more successful fitness coaches and personal trainers in the Bay Area (a place with fierce competition, there's a personal trainer under every rock in SF) She is one of the people that I go to for advice on how to improve and refine my own fitness program. Over the years she has never steered me wrong.

One area that she is particularly good at is helping people reclaim the health and fitness that they have lost, so when Sabiwabi made her post on reclaiming her own health and fitness, it occurred to me that I had an interesting opportunity to do something useful.

So I pointed Carey at the various posts by Sabi and the other ladies of the Ummah and asked her to put together some useful advice for women who want to reclaim their health. (and Carey is a much better coach than Jillian Michaels)

What you see below is the result. If there are questions, you can direct them to Carey either here or on her blog.


Hello There! Mushtaq has been raving about how wonderful it is that you are all getting together to get fit! I am a fitness trainer from San Francisco, and he has asked me to write a guest blog with you in mind.

Exercise has many benefits, and the one that comes to the front of my mind as it relates to you, is the benefit of increased self-care. The simple act of making time for yourselves to get into shape does wonders for how you feel about yourself in every aspect of your lives. Being mothers, it likely often seems counterintuitive to choose to prioritize yourself any activity.

The choice to make time for your fitness will help you show up for those you love with more presence and efficacy. As your self-esteem grows alongside your increasing level of fitness, you will start to connect with yourself at this stage in your life.

In reading over your blog posts, I see an element of surprise at losing connection with yourselves while being overwhelmed with the demands of parenting. This is a completely normal occurrence. Recognizing the need to care for your health and fitness offers you the possibility of slowing down the pace of your life, refocusing on who you are right now, and can ultimately allow you to be fully present during these wonderful years of child rearing.

Your commitment to yourself and your family is the ultimate incentive to exercise. Knowing that you are preserving your health so you can be there for your children, and live long enough to see theirs, is a powerful motivator. Our minds get in our way more than almost any scheduling obstacle, because they are wired to resist physical discomfort.

Getting back into good physical condition typically includes some degree of discomfort. When the worry about discomfort arises, keep moving, and focus on the ways you are empowering yourself. Rather than engaging with inertia, move right past it. As long as you are committed to putting the time into physical movement, and you do so on a regular basis, everything else will fall into place, you will also find greater appreciation for what you see in the mirror.

One solution to finding time for fitness within a parenting schedule is to take 2 or 3 breaks during the day for 10 minutes of exercise. There are plenty of exercises you can do at home, that can be incorporated into kid time. Here's a sample schedule:

8:00-8:10 AM - March around your home carrying your child for 5 minutes alternating between 20 normal steps and 20 high knee steps. Then complete 10 squats holding your smallest child, then bend over, keeping your spine long, bend you knees and carefully pick your child up 10 times (pay close attention to your form), then lift your child as high as you can 10 times. Repeat x 2. If your child is too heavy, use two 1 gallon milk or water jugs.

12 - 12:10 PM - 5 plank walk-out push-ups (from a standing position, bring your hands to the floor (this is often taught with straight legs, I don't mind if you bend your knees), hand walk out until you are in a plank position, if you need to, drop to your knees, do one push-up, and walk yourself back up to standing. Next, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and step your left leg out to your side, perform a lateral squat step, then step back to standing where you began. Repeat on the right. Perform 20 repetitions per leg. Lastly, use the edge of a sturdy chair to perform 10 triceps dips, you may bend your knees to make these more manageable. Repeat this sequence twice.

4-4:10 PM - 25 jumping jacks, 10 one gallon jug biceps curls (or baby curls), 10 forward hops, 10 backward hops. Repeat x 3 Stand with feet shoulder width, holding gallon jug or baby, keep arms relatively straight, turn and pivot your body to the left and then right x 20 reps, one time through. Lastly, lie down on the floor on your back with knees bent, elbows under your head, eyes up, perform 25 upper ab crunches (upper abs and shoulders come off the floor) then release your head and perform 25 reaches toward your feet with your arms just above the floor, then flip onto your stomach and reach your hands and feet off the floor simultaneously for a 2 x 10 count. Repeat this ab sequence twice.

When squatting and lifting, keep your spine neutral and long - avoid any sort of rounding of the back. Keep your knees behind your toes, approximately over your ankles. When rotating, keep your spine upright, resist the urge to lean forward or back! Proper form is vital, if you are in doubt search Google and Youtube for more detailed instructions. Lastly, it is important to change your program every 4-6 weeks to avoid a plateau. If you do this program, search online for something to do once you have spent an adequate amount of time on it.

The most important thing to remember is: move! Three ten minute walk breaks during the day will serve you well if you cannot accommodate resistance exercise. If you fall out of your routine for some reason, jump right back in as soon as possible. It is better to accept short term set backs and move on quickly, rather than dwell on them. Your cumulative work over the long term will pay off.

Community is a tremendous asset. Use your network to create accountability and support for each other's exercise participation. You might try having a buddy system within the group in which you let your buddy know you have completed your daily workout.

Keep up the good work, keep communicating with each other, and do let me know if there is anything I can do to keep you moving!

Best wishes,
Carey Rockland


Amnah said...

"...refocusing on who you are right now, can ultimately allow you to be fully present during these wonderful years of child rearing."

I love that. I keep trying to remind myself to be more present.

Thank you for this post.

Janet said...

Hey Carey~

I liked the way you broke it down into mom-sized chunks. When my kids were young, 10 or 15 minutes to myself was a real treat. And using it to treat myself to some exercise always felt terrific!