My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned along the way. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

The Vancouver Wellness Show ( http://www.thewellnessshow.com/ )is an annual event that my wife and I never miss. In fact this year is their 25th anniversary. There is a lot to see, do, sample, taste and learn. There are workshops, lectures, cooking demos, fitness demos and more!

It was this past weekend (March 3,4,and 5) and it was at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

Now granted, and I say this in all fairness, there are some alternative wellness booths that make me shake my head, with people standing on something that looks like a paint mixer, or lying on a table with coloured lights blinking around them.

We even saw one booth that had a tent set up that people sat in with strobe lights flashing. I am not sure what that was supposed to do, but I am surprised no one had seizures from it.

Sadly there are also lots of booths of pills, potions, shakes and other short cuts and you all know how I feel about those.

The good news is that there is tons of other stuff for everyone, even if ,like me, you want to just learn about real healthy food and snacks and living a healthy lifestyle.

vida-plates-packI had read on Facebook of a company called Vidadish                            ( http://vidadish.com/) that makes a portion control system. As my readers know I am big on portion control. I will also say they vida-water-bottlehave not paid me for this. I bought my products but wanted to share what I liked about it.

I bought kind of a starter set. It cost me $30 which was a show
special that included a bonus water bottle. It also has a sample 7 day meal plan inside.vida-plates-open

vida-platesIt comes with the meal plate and the snack plate. They both have nice tight fitting lids so they are good for home, work or
even on the go. If you are familiar with the American “My Plate” system, it is similar but divided a bit differently. It is hard to see in my photos but they are even labeled with a C for complex carbs, P for protein and a small section labeled F for fats.

vida-protein-sectionIn the complex cards section goes your vegetables and grains, in the protein section is obviously for meat or other protein sources. The small section is for healthy fats like a low fat cheese for example. One feature I really like is the protein section is removable so you can heat up your meat. If you took some chicken breast and a salad for example, you could heat up the chicken without having to heat up the salad.vida-snack-plate

As I mentioned, it comes with a snack plate which is in 2 sections for complex carbs and protein. It would be good for apple on one side and peanut butter on the other.

One note – these are hand wash. They are not dish washer safe. They are leak proof, unbreakable and BPA free. Check out their website!

One thing I am always looking for is healthy snacks. I am not a sweets person but more of a savoury person. In other words I prefer chips to chocolate. I found a great snack from Zak Organics (https://www.zakorganics.com/) and they make a yummy nutritious snack called Crunchy Peas. These are roasted chick peas and come in 4 flavours, Sweet Cocoa, Garden Herb, Smokey Bar BQ and Seas Salt and Lime.

zak-organic

zak-organic-labelThey had a special of 4 bags for $20 so we bought one of each. I also bought a few small snack size bags. I have to tell you, they are delicious! They have the crunch and saltiness of chips, but these are chick peas which are high in protein. In fact acording to the label, there is 5 grams of protein per serving (1/3 cup). There is also 140 calories per serving.

I have to admit I had 2 servings at once (2/3 cup) and mixed 2 different flavours. You take your time and eat them one or two at a time and have a long lasting healthy snack. A serving has 120 mg of sodium which is 5% of your RDA so some of you that have to watch your sodium may have to watch your intake. Trust me, they yummy and very addictive!

maple-walnut-copyI am a big peanut butter fan but a lot of friends have been getting me pecan-butter-copyto look at other nut butters. not for any allergenic reasons, but for some healthier options.

We found a company called Better Butters(http://www.better-butters.com)  from Sechelt BC. They had an amazing assortment of nut butters and after samples quite a few, we settled on Maple Walnut and Pecan Butter. I had the Maple Walnut this morning on my toast and it was soooooo tasty.

mwo-classic-mac
mwo-shells-white-cheddar-1We managed to pick up some free boxes of Annie’s Organic Mac and
Cheese (www.annies.com). Annie’s makes a lot of really great organic products. Our granddaughter is a big fan of mac and cheese so we want her to have a healthier brand and she loves it! We like it because Annie’s uses real cheese with no artificial flavours, synthetic colours or preservatives.

snacks_cookies_snickerdoodle_cr___They also make a great product similar to  Teddy Grahams called Annies Snickerdoodle Cinnamon Sugar GLUTEN FREE Bunny Cookies. Warning – these are highly addictive!

The show isn’t just about food though. You get to talk to a lot of people about healthy living and healthy things to add to your life. There are health talks for women, families and general health.

I attended a really interesting lecture by Dr. Jason Marr on the difference between Diet and Nutrition. He is a naturopathic doctor at  Evoke Integrative Medicine in Vancouver. He spoke of the difference between simply the food we put in our mouth (diet) and the effect of that food on the body (nutrition).

I have never really listened to a naturopath before, and found it really interesting. It is an approach to medicine that puts the patient first – treats them as an individual, not just as a patient.

I had hoped to stay long enough to see the Chair Yoga workout, but my wife and I pooped out before that.

We brought our little granny cart with us, and it came home fully loaded with giveaways and products we bought. If you live in the Vancouver area, circle it on the calendar for next year!

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

 

balls-1786430_1280Today I want to talk about celebration moments. Not the ones where we stuff our faces with food. Not the ones where we over indulge in drinking. I am talking about enjoying or celebrating our successes along the way. This is a weight loss journey. You can not just celebrate when you get to your goal. You have to celebrate along the way.

I have said this to you before but the scale is not and can not be the only measurement of success on you weight loss journey. It is just one tool in the toolbox to utilize on the journey.

There are other benchmarks like how do your clothes fit, are your measurements going down, do you have more energy etc. You have to learn to look at the bigger picture.

I just had one of those celebration moments and I wanted to share it with you to show you how you have to celebrate all the successful moments.

I was getting dressed one morning recently, and I pulled a pair of jeans out of my dresser. I had bought these recently as a lot of my pants had been getting too big. Well, I put them on and after I did up the belt, I noticed they were baggy and the top looked like a sack of spuds bunched up.

“Great,” I thought “I must have put on a pair of my old ones.” I checked but no – this was a different pair I bought recently. These were what I called my next step jeans. These would be the next level down. These were size 40. My 42’s were now way too big.

You have to understand that the significance here is that I haven’t worn a size 40 since high school. I realized I have come down from a size 56 waist at my highest to a 40. I was so happy I almost cried, but didn’t want to lose my man card. (Just kidding. There were a few tears shed)horizontal-162952_1280

I am not sharing to brag (ok maybe a little) but it is to let you know it is not all about the  scale. We get too hung up on THAT ONE TOOL like it is the only measure of success.

Besides looking back at changes in how my body looks or what it’s numbers are, I look back at how far I have come in terms of what I can do now that I couldn’t do then. I look at the energy level I have and the excitement I have when I hit a new milestone.

I am also thrilled that so many people I have met online tell me that I encourage them. That’s why I took the Weight Management Specialist course – to be able to help people better.

I try to encourage clients to look at ALL their successes along the way.

What are your benchmarks? How do you gauge for success? When was the last time you gave yourself an attaboy? I am not saying to go around bragging. I am just saying you have to take the time to acknowledge your successes.

I like to walk, but I am not one who can walk on a track. I have to have a destination. When my wife and I go for a walk, we will often go to a local 7-11 about 3 or 4 blocks away.(Don’t judge me) It used to be a struggle to do that and required several rest stops along the way.

Now we enjoy the walk and it is not a problem. That’s a measure of success.

Every once in a rare while we will order pizza. There was a time when I could eat a large pizza by myself. Now I eat 2 or on occasion 3 slices. That’s a measure of success.

You go into a clothing store and the sizes you used to buy are now way too big for you. That’s a measure of success.

Do you bypass the big buffets when you eat out, or order more carefully from the menu? That’s a measure of success.

It is important to have a network of people who support and encourage you but don’t forget to encourage yourself.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.

 

 

 

Need A New Year’s Boost?

energy-boostersIt’s a new year, and sometimes we need a New Year’s Boost. We have made it through the holidays and now life is returning to our regular routine. The problem is it is sometimes hard to get back to that routine.

We have indulged (maybe OVER indulged) in a lot of holiday goodies, and we are trying to get back on track with our eating and fitness, especially those of us still on the weight loss journey.

The problem is it’s still winter, and this year’s winter has been a bear, even here in Canada’s banana belt. It’s still dark in the morning, and dark in the afternoon, though I am noticing it is a bit lighter later now.

So what do we need to do? Refocus these our eating and our fitness and get back on track so this time I want to share with you some energy boosters.

I will also have some very big news at the end.

So…what are some good energy boosters we can implement to our eating plans?

day-2Let’s start with blueberries. Blueberries are one of the best foods you can snack on if you feel tired or exhausted. These juicy bombs are packed with flavonoids and have amazing anti-oxidative and anti- inflammatory properties. Blueberries have a high water content to help keep your body hydrated resulting in more energy. Add some to a salad or to your cereal or just as a snack. Have you had your handful of blueberries today?

day-3One of my favourite nuts are almonds. Almonds are fantastic when you feel your energy level dropping or have low concentration levels. Within minutes of eating a handful of almonds, you will feel energized and able to concentrate again. Almonds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that will boost your brain power. YAY. You could just grab a handful as an afternoon snack, sprinkle some crushed almonds on top of your porridge or add to your plate at lunch.

day-4Green tea has long been known to have many healthy properties. It´s no secret that green tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can add to your daily diet, but did you know that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine in green tea gives you an energy boost without the jitters? On top of that, you’ll be hydrated and have a feeling of fullness after one cup. Grab a delicious cup of green tea instead of coffee when you feel an afternoon low. Green tea also boosts brainpower which helps when you feel tired at work. Do you enjoy a cup of Green Tea?day-5

One of my favourite go-to snacks are bananas, almost to a fault. I was eating so many bananas a while back that my doctor had to tell me to cut back as my potassium levels were too high. In moderation though, bananas are great. When you are running low on fuel and need something quick and easy, grab a banana! Bananas are amazing energy boosters and keep you fueled longer than most fruits and foods. This potassium packed fruit includes a bunch of other nutrients like vitamin B6, magnesium and full of fiber making it the absolute ideal snack. The sugar in bananas will provide you instant energy without a low in your blood sugar due to the fiber content. Have you had your banana today?

day-6This is a new one for me, but hey, I’m willing to try new stuff. Our final energy booster is raw cacao.Raw cacao is full of minerals and vitamins and especially high in magnesium which makes it the perfect energy booster. Instead of eating milk chocolate or highly processed cacao; choose raw cacao powder and sprinkle it on apple slices with almond butter, put it into your smoothie or make chocolate energy balls for your afternoon snack. If you want a satisfying and energizing afternoon snack, make your own hot chocolate using almond milk, a tablespoon of cacao powder and a teaspoon of honey.

Special thanks to Kylie Malcolm at the Health Coach Group for these booster tips.

I also want to share a quick recipe with you that I found on Facebook. This is quick and easy. They are called breakfast cookies. They only have 3 ingredients and bake up in 20 minutes.

Mash 2 bananas, add 1 3/4 cups of quick cook oats and 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries. The original recipe called for chocolate chips. We have also made them with peanut butter chips.

After mixing, use a table spoon to make small balls. Put on a greased baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Trust me, these are really yummy. Have one of two with a cup of tea or coffee and a piece of fruit for a great quick breakfast.

big-news-imageHere comes the big news folks…remember in my last post I said I was taking the Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist course? Well, I have completed the course and have got my certification. I am very proud of this and excited to be relaunching my weight loss coaching and public speaking again.

I have decided to focus on clients who have 50 or more pounds to lose and feel they have tried everything.

Starting in February, the domain of http://www.gethealthywithbacon.com will be the home of Neale Bacon Weight Loss Coach and Speaker. This blog is not going anywhere. I will continue to write it. There will be a link on the website right back here, or if you want to come here directly, you can enter wordpress.com/lowfatbaconbits.

I will let you all know when the site is going up but I am aiming for February 1st.

I hope you will all stay on as readers, and will continue to share my blog with others. I will continue to share my story of the weight loss journey and what I have learned along the way. There will still be tips, ideas and a laugh or two.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

 

noresultionsI have never been successful with New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe because of the precedent of them being so easy to break. Instead, for 2017 I have decided to have new goals and plans and have taken the first step already, and am getting ready for part 2 of the plan.

I have had a certain amount of success with goals and plans but there’s just something about that word resolution. It is too easy to say “Well everyone breaks them so it’s no biggie. Yes it is a biggie!! Is that a word?

The first thing is that I have taken is that I have decided to relaunch my speaking career.  fb-nestacertified-member-4u-900x540

I realized that part of my problem in getting going as a speaker was a lack of credibility and/or expertise so I have joined the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association.

lifestyle-weight-management-certificationI will also be taking the Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist course to help me better address the issues around weight loss and a healthy lifestyle to my audiences and possible coaching clients.

I am very excited about these new goals and will keep you all informed. Why this refocus you may ask? Here is a piece of a press release I am planning on sending out once I finish my course.

Neale Bacon Becomes Professional Member of 

National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association

Association offers gold standard training for fitness professionals across the globe

Burnaby BC – Joining more than 55,000 others across the world who are passionate about the best in health and fitness, Neale Bacon recently became a professional member of the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA). NESTA is a leader in innovative solutions for fitness, wellness professionals and business owners. The membership includes educational news, new programs, career-enhancing products, live webinars and more valuable information designed to help individuals advance their fitness and coaching careers.

Bacon comes from a background of the entertainment world as a ventriloquist and comedian. He has also lost 195+ pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. He is now combining those two worlds using his comedy and ventriloquism as he discussed his journey and speaks on the subject of living a healthy lifestyle both at work and at home.

“By joining NESTA, Neale made a commitment to a life time of health, wellness and education,” said Dr. John Spencer Ellis, founder of NESTA. “As NESTA has continued to grow over the decades, we have helped world-class personal trainers and other top-notch fitness professionals grow their careers, and we look forward to joining Neale on this amazing journey as well.”

Others interested in becoming a professional member of NESTA and enjoying the benefits that come along with it can visit http://www.nestacertified.com/ for further details. NESTA offers a variety of certification courses, in the health, fitness, wellness, nutrition and coaching fields.

“I am thrilled to join the ranks of NESTA’s professional members and to take the next step in my professional development,” said Bacon. “I look forward to sharing in this growing community of personal trainers, fitness pros, and others who are passionate about good health and good living.”

I am very excited at my new plans. So let me ask you what are you planning for the new year? What are YOUR goals and plans? What will you do to make them happen? Well I was reading an interesting article from the London Mirror. Here is part of it.

So here are some tips that could help you come January 1.

1. Start out with just one resolution. If you try and focus your energy on changing just one aspect of your life, your chances of success will be even greater.

2. Forward planning can help too, so take some time out a few days before New Year’s Eve and reflect on what you really want to achieve.

3. Try for a new resolution. Revisiting previous resolutions you didn’t achieve could lead to frustration and disappointment.

4. Think about what’s really important to you. You don’t have to follow the crowd and go with the usual resolutions.

5. Break down your objective into smaller steps that are concrete, measurable and timely.

6. You’ll definitely get more support and have less chance to fail if you tell your friends and family about your goals.

7. Create a checklist about how your life will change once you’ve reached each step and regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals.

8. To maintain motivation, reward yourself whenever you achieve a new step. This will also give you a sense of progress.

9. Keep a journal of your plans and the progress that you make, either in a handwritten journal or you could even create a spreadsheet. This will help you visualise what you’ve already achieved.

10. Falling back into your old habits from time to time is perfectly acceptable. Treat it as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up your resolution completely.

If you want to read the whole article it is located at http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/10-tips-keeping-your-new-7079954

This will probably be my last post until the new year so let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New year!

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

 

 

As my readers know, I have been on this journey for a long time. I am now approximately 35 pounds away from my goal. The problem right now is I have been 35 pounds away from my goal for a while now, and frankly it is discouraging.oncoming_train

I can see the light at the end of this long tunnel but right now, it feels like that light is an
oncoming train because of not reaching of my goal. This is going to be an honest blog post and probably one of the most difficult to write. After all I am supposed to be the one to motivate you, but if I am going to be honest, we all hit this point in our journeys.

Now I know all the scientific and medical reasons why this happens. As your body or metabolism gets used to your new diet and exercise, it adjusts or resets the thermostat. It becomes harder and takes more work to lose the weight like you did before.

I have told people only half-jokingly that the first 100 pounds is the easiest but it feels true. So what has been the result of my feelings in the last little while?

I kind of gave up lately. I didn’t fall off the deep end and land face first in a bucket of ice cream, but I just haven’t been as diligent with my diet, and have been finding excuses to avoid the exercise.

I have been telling myself that all the walking I do  and all the trips up and down stairs I make at my part time job is enough, I know full well it isn’t.

b-bunnyI have shared in the past that I also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder which basically means my energy drop dramatically at this time of year. Some days it is an effort to drag my behind out of bed. It can’t be morning. It’s still dark out!

I know others suffer from this too, some more than I do. I have also learned I just have to force myself to get out of bed and get on with the day!

I have to make that appointment with myself to get in that exercise time. This is something I learned a long time ago. Make an appointment with yourself for your exercise time whatever form it takes. If you made an appointment with a friend or for business, you wouldn’t just not show up. You go. I have also discovered that as much as there is grumbling that goes along with it, but after the exercise I always feel better.

As I said in my last post, we are also at the “Most Fattening Time of the Year.” There are so many extra goodies around, but I just have to gear up the discipline to say no, or to allow a small treat. You know I am not one to ban foods. Repeat after me – there are no bad foods.

I have to get my butt in gear (to be blunt) and one way I am going to do that is I am attending the CanFitPro Expo this weekend to get some motivation and information. The CanFitPro event is a weekend event of classes, lectures and workshops for those in the fitness industry. Part of the event though is a Fitness Expo which is free to attend. Free fits my budget. At the expo you can see the latest in fitness equipment, see demonstrations and get to talk to those in the fitness industry.

I went last year, bought some gear for home workouts and got lots of good information. Just as an aside, if you go to an event like this, a good way to know if you are speaking to the right people is the attitude they project to you. I obviously don’t look like an athlete and I have been talked down to at similar events, but at this one people asked me what my goals were, what my limitations are and what I wanted to learn. These are the same times of questions you get from a good trainer.

Anyway, back to my point. I needed to be honest with my readers. I have been struggling. I always do at this time of year, but I also felt I should have reached my goal by now and was down on myself for not doing it.

Where do I go from here? Onward and upward! I am getting back on track with the diet and will be getting back on track with exercise.

I am a person of faith and I have been praying and trusting in God that I will get there. I have a wonderful supportive family and supportive friends. I am especially blessed to have a wonderful wife who gently and sometimes not so gently gives me those nudges I need.

You need to find that support network. If you don’t have it in your friends or family, maybe try a support group like TOPS, or even some online groups. I have made some wonderful friends on Facebook and have joined some wonderfully supportive groups.

I am also making some adjustments to my mental state. I am trying harder every day to be more positive.

We all know there has just been a hugely divisive election in the States and that divisiveness has spilled over the border into Canada. I have decided to start eliminating the negative people on social media. The harder one is that I am not trying to live by these in my posts:

  1. Is it kind?
  2. Is it true?
  3. Is it necessary?

I found a little graphic that I have shared in a few groups. Some people have liked it so much they have printed it out and look at every day. I have even made it the wallpaper on my computer so I see it every day, and I want to leave it with you today.

2017

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

turkey-trotAs I write this, it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. First let me say I am sorry I have not posted in a while. I have had some health issues and with some other stuff going on, time got away on me, but I am back.

Back to Thanksgiving, I have 2 things I want to talk about today. The first is to ask you a question. What are you thankful for? I have a very long list of things I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for my wife, my kids and their spouses, my grand kids, as well as my friends around the world.fat

I am thankful I found TOPS and the friends I have made through TOPS. I am thankful I am not “that guy” anymore, and I am especially thankful how good I feel now and the progress I have made.

I am thankful that there are folks out there who read this blog (hey – that’s you!) and that I am able to help people on their own weight loss journey.

Wearing my other hat, I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to make people laugh for a living.

Some of you may be uncomfortable with this, but I am thankful for my church, my relationship with Jesus Christ and the freedom I have to worship Him where I want and how I want, because people in many parts of the world don’t have that.

What are you thankful for? It is so easy to find things to find fault with (Sadly I still struggle with that on a daily basis) but not so easy to be thankful. There is an old hymn that says Count Your Blessings. Here is the chorus

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Whatever your thoughts (or lack of) regarding God, just count your blessing and you will see they far outweigh the bad stuff.

If we get into that habit, it becomes easier to see the good things going on in our lives.

stuffedOn to my second topic today. Read the title of this post again.

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Not only is it Thanksgiving here in Canada, but this also signifies the start of stuff your face season.

There is Thanksgiving (here now and November for my American friends), then Halloween and all that candy, then comes Christmas with all it’s goodies, banquets and parties. We finish up the year (and start it) with New Year’s celebration.

It’s the time of year for excess. Does anyone really need a deep fried turkey? For Thanksgiving dinner, do you need mashed potatoes AND yams AND sweet potatoes AND dinner rolls?

Do you need to try every single baked goody that is brought to the party?

Am I saying not to partake? No I am saying use some restraint. Some people at this time of year seem to be trying to set a record of how much they eat, right down to the tablecloth.

At this time of year, I will even go back to my portion plate if I think I am getting off track. The big secret I have learned is to have a little of most things. Prioritize! What goodies do you really like? Which ones are you kind of “meh” about? Have a little of the things you really like, and leave the “meh” items. Allow yourself SMALL indulgences.portion-control-plate

Remember I mentioned the portion plate I mentioned? These are great. They visually reinforce the idea  that your plate should be 50% vegetables, 25% starch like bread OR potatoes, and 25% protein (meat or meat substitutes).

These plates are available online from a number of sources. I use one because it really helps me. If you can do this mentally, keeping the 50/25/25 idea, good on ya (As my Australian friends would say)

Seasonal parties are a minefield of temptation. You go to the office party or a party at a friends house and it is really easy to throw self-control right out the window.

Here’s a tip for you. Look over the whole buffet before you eat ANYTHING. Pick some carefully chosen items. Load up on your veggies. Skip the dip or at least use a minimum of dips.

Don’t hang out near the buffet table. It is too easy to graze standing there, and what animals are knowing for grazing? Here’s a hint…Moooooooo.

food-pusherI have another tips for you. Watch out for the food pushers. You know, the people who say “Oh it’s a holiday. Go ahead. Go ahead. Have some more.” They will try to convince you Aunt Martha will be crushed if you don’t eat her fudge, or that you personally will be responsible for tons of food wastage. And don’t fall for the starving children in “wherever” line. That was my mom’s favourite.

There is a small phrase that could save your waist line and possible your life. That phrase is “No thank you”. You don’t have to make a big deal about it but when the potatoes come around for the third time, or that big plate of Aunt Martha’s fudge, just say No Thank You and pass it along.

I assume you are all grown ups. That means you are no longer obliged to clean your plate, and please don’t pass that obligation down to the children.

Let children take small amounts. They can always go back for more if they are still hungry.

So those are my two topics for today – take the time to learn to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day, and two, you can survive the coming food season.

I want to leave you will a little something to make you smile. Click on this link for a really cute song by a DJ named Bob Rivers and another guy you might recognize. In the meantime, have a healthy and happy holiday season!

 

First let me apologize to you my readers. It has been a while since I posted to my blog. There has been a lot of craziness happening in the last while. I was sick for a couple of weeks, we have a new grand daughter, my daughter and husband (and kids) announced they are moving, and some of it was a lack of motivation.

Well I’m back and recharged after my recent holiday to the ventriloquists convention (wearing my other hat for a second) and now I want to finish the series I started by talking about fitness at home.

Fitness at home is in some ways the easiest because of convenience, but also the most difficult for the same reason – “Oh I can exercise any time” yet we don’t.

Here is my first suggestion. Take a walk around your neighbourhood for two reasons. The first is the obvious exercise you get from the walking but the second is a bit of homework. Take note of all the parks and green spaces and possible exercise places right near your home.

Are there playgrounds where you can get exercise while playing with the kids or grandkids? How about free tennis courts or basketball courts? Some parks even have horse shoe pits.

Rotating Carousel - Fitness CircuitSome parks have fitness circuits in them. Here in Burnaby, we have a large park named Central Park (I know how original) and in the park is a complete outdoor fitness circuit, almost like a gym in the woods.

It covers all the areas like strength, cardio, balance and more. Here is a bit more information on it https://www.burnaby.ca/Things-To-Do/Explore-Outdoors/Parks/Central-Park/Outdoor-Fitness-Circuit.html Maybe you have something like it in your area.

 

The best part of all these parks and outdoor areas is that they are free! Just get up and out the door. However, what about when the weather is really yucky and you don’t want to go out?

Here you have a lot of options. You could just put on some music you like and have yourself a dance party. That was how Richard Simmons developed the Sweating to the Oldies series, He was uncomfortable going to the gym, so went home and just danced and soon realized you could exercise and have fun!

Speaking of Richard, there are almost limitless exercise DVDs out there, from beginner to advanced. There are cardio workouts, yoga, tai chi, pilates and many more topics covered. If you don’t want to invest a lot of money into DVDs, check with your local library. Many have DVD libraries and a lot of exercise DVDs that you can watch before you decide to buy.tubing

The next area is home exercise equipment. I mentioned exercise bands when I talked about exercising on the road. You can use them at home too. By combining the bands with a door anchor so you can do more of a variety of exercises, and some cardio DVDs you can get quite a workout.

When it comes to home gym equipment, there are also a lot of options. You can buy weights and a weight bench, treadmills, cardio equipment and more. My suggestion would be buy from a fitness store and not the local Stuff Mart store.

The staff can advise you on the right equipment based on your goals. In the long run they can save you money but steering you away from equipment you don’t need, or that will not help you reach you goals.

Here is a bit of a warning. Good exercise equipment is not cheap. Don’t be shocked. You also have to know if you buy cheap equipment, it will not last long and will soon become a very expensive clothes hanger. The good news is that there are ways to save money on some of the equipment.

total flexA lot of people buy equipment and after a few months the enthusiasm wears off and it for sale on Craigslist. My favourite piece of home equipment I bought was something that came into the Thrift Store in my neighbourhood. It is one called the Total Flex which is kind of like a portable Bowflex if you are familiar with that kind of equipment. These sell for around $200 and I got mine for $25!

The resistance bands are adjustable for stronger and stronger resistance. The whole unit adjusts to different configurations that allows me to do exercises that work every muscle group. I really like it and use it regularly. Check out their website http://www.thane.com/default/total-flexr-multi-pay-1.html By the way, I got nothing from them to post this as I bought mine second hand but just love it.

The other consideration if you are considering home equipment is “How much space do I have?” Do you have a space you can dedicate to working out? I don’t like it when commercials brag “you can just fold it up and put it under the bed.” because eventually that will be it’s permanent home. What if you don’t have a lot of space?

Maybe you live in an apartment. Does it have a pool or gym? Make use of it. I told a friend once that I envied him because his building had a beautiful pool and a pretty good gym with weights, cardio equipment and a Universal station. His reply? “Yeah. One of these days I will have to use it.” So sad.

In my TOPS group I have one lady who uses her building AS a gym. She takes an elevator up to the top floor and walks down a certain number of flights, or walks up the stairs, or even walks up a floor then walks all around that floor then up to the next one and repeat.

So what should you do first? I would take a look at what your goals are – weight loss, getting toned, gaining strength or what have you. Consult a trainer even for one or two sessions to get some guidance. Sometimes you local community centre has trainers available for a free or inexpensive one-time session.

When you know what you want to do, look at what equipment you might want to invest in or what other options are available like free fitness circuits or stair walking or getting out to find free tennis or basketball courts.

To paraphrase a certain Disney movie, “Just keep moving, just keep moving”

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!