Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One 9798640039429

Do you enjoy working out in the privacy of your own home? Have you ever thought of getting a personal trainer? Do you wa

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Table of contents :
Front Matter
Table of Contents
Day 1
Warm Up Exercises
Warm Up Cheat Sheet
Cool Down Exercises
Cool Down Cheat Sheet
Day 2
Week 1 Exercises
Week 1 Cheat Sheet
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Week 2 Exercises
Week 2 Cheat Sheet
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Week 3 Exercises
Week 3 Cheat Sheet
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20
Day 21
Day 22
Day 23
Week 4 Exercises
Week 4 Cheat Sheet
Day 24
Day 25
Day 26
Day 27
Day 28
Day 29
Day 30
About the Author
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Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

Cassandra Wyzik, CPT

ISBN: 9798640039429 Independently published Copyright © 2020 by Cassandra Wyzik and Cassandra Wyzik, LLC All rights reserved. Except for use in a review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying, and recording, and in any information storage and retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher. This publication is written and published to provide accurate and authoritative information relevant to the subject matter presented. It is published and sold with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering legal, medical, or other professional services by reason of their authorship or publication of this work. If medical or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. The reader is advised to consult with his/her doctor before beginning this or any diet or exercise regimen. The author disclaims any liability for loss, personal or otherwise, resulting from the procedures in this book. Cover design by Derek Gores – www.DerekGores.com Cover photography by Michael Giragosian – www.MichaelGiragosian.com Interior photography by Cassandra Wyzik and Derek Gores

DEDICATION This book is dedicated to James Michael Regan November 11, 1950 – August 11, 2015 and Thomas James Gayley, II April 14, 1959 – August 1, 2019

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To my son, Roman, for making me a mother which has been a life's path that has taught me more than anything else. To say that I have grown and known real joy and love since you were born is a massive understatement. Thank you to my amazing husband and partner in life, Derek, for saving me from the brink of giving up on so many occasions and for providing endlessly helpful feedback, advice, support, and true, unconditional love. To my Papafasch for always indulging my every hare-brained scheme and telling me to go for it, no matter how half-baked or unlikely to succeed. You have always given me the confidence to be my own person and I'm endlessly grateful you're my father. To my Gram, for being my two-generations removed Cancerian role model and one of the most badass women I've ever known. Thank you for teaching me your feminist, hippie ways which helped to lay the foundation for my self-full life. To my mother for teaching me the value of hard work, perseverance, and that it's never too late to reinvent yourself. It takes courage and strength to do what you know you must, especially when all you want to do is give up. To my siblings: Annie, Katie, and John, and friend-made-sister, Cathy. You have each taught me innumerable lessons over the years. Thank you for knowing what I was like growing up and still being willing to hang out with me (haha). To all my clients, past, present, and future: for being the guinea pigs with which I have honed my craft, for laughing at my corny jokes and puns, and for trusting me with your wellness. All jokes aside, you guys rock my socks and I'm grateful to have known each and every one of you. To all my incredibly generous donors: Papafasch (Jack Carlin), Gram Cracker (Joan Gayley), Sissy Nose Butt Extraordinaire (Andrea Reid), My You (Derek Gores), Elizabeth Lane, Hugh & June Mackrell, Audrey Smith, Tina & Kenny Cunningham, Cathy Merchant, the Martin family, Joan and Jim Wiggenhorn, Elizabeth and Ed Brooks, Richard Pardy, Asdis Hreinsdottir, Stuart Purkey, Carina San Augustin, the Szabo family, Christine and Frank Filiberto, the Ottaminelli family, Joan and Pete Taddie, Joslyn and Ray Costello, Julie and George Ball, Kari Cooksey, Jane and Wallace Reid, Jacie and Jimmy Stivers, and Brittany Butler for donating your resources, allowing me to make this book a reality and use it to help others live well.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page 1: Introduction When to Start Day 1

Page 115: Day 12 Cassandra’s Grocery Guidelines

Page 7: Day 1 Welcome, Warm Up, Cool Down

Page 121: Day 13 The Importance of Consistency

Page 37: Day 2 Your First Workout

Page 127: Day 14 How Ready Are You?

Page 51: Day 3 D.O.M.S., Cardio

Page 133: Day 15 Lapse, Relapse, Collapse

Page 57: Day 4 The Importance of Good Form

Page 137: Day 16 Your Week 3 Workout

Page 63: Day 5 Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Page 151: Day 17 Exercise vs. Physical Activity

Page 69: Day 6 The Benefits of Strength Training

Page 157: Day 18 Making Bodyweight Exercises Harder

Page 75: Day 7 The Importance of Rest Page 79: Day 8 Calories and Body Composition Page 87: Day 9 Your Week 2 Workout Page 101: Day 10 Nutrition 101 Page 109: Day 11 The Benefits of Bodyweight Training

Page 163: Day 19 Water, Water, Everywhere Page 167: Day 20 Think to Plan, Feel to Act Page 173: Day 21 Your Brain is Like a Grassy Field Page 177: Day 22 Cassandra’s Self-Full Talk Page 181: Day 23 Your Week 4 Workout

Page 195: Day 24 The Results Are In!

Page 221: Day 28 Fitness Myths: Busted

Page 201: Day 25 Mind Over Matter

Page 227: Day 29 Commit to Be Fit

Page 207: Day 26 Let’s Get Hard-Core

Page 235: Day 30 You Made It!

Page 215: Day 27 Exercise is Full of Principle

Page 241: Appendix

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One



WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR AND WHAT CAN I EXPECT? In terms of fitness, I think of everyday people as the kind of people who are my clients. That's not to say they're not special or extraordinary. What I mean is: most have jobs, some have kids, they have hobbies, and in general, they're busy! They're focused on the things that enrich their lives and at some point arrive at the conclusion that being healthier would enrich their lives even more. Most aren't training for a certain event or even for a very particular goal. Most of my clients want to lose some weight, gain some muscle, feel better, and are looking for help making this process easier. They're not looking for extremes; they're looking for balanced, sustainable, and realistic. Does this sound like you? Then welcome aboard, client reader! I'm so excited you have decided to take steps toward living a healthier life and have sought out my personal training services through my Every Day Fitness for Everyday People book series. As a personal trainer, I'm a health educator on ground zero with you, helping you to lead a more healthful, self-full life by providing you with knowledge, inspiration, and direction. During my years as a personal trainer, I have amassed a collection of tips, thoughts, exercises, workout formats, and information that I am very excited to share with you throughout this book and other books to follow. As a fitness professional, I've read plenty of exercise, nutrition, and wellness related books and eventually started to form ideas of what I would do differently. I feel that a lot of fitness related books regurgitate everything they know on you all at once leaving you with the task of sorting it all out so you can implement it. This adds barriers between you and success and we want to remove those! I've written this book into daily, digestible portions so your success is more assured. The daily format of this book helps you make a daily connection with health, gradually adopt new habits, and gather the knowledge you need to create a sustainable level of wellness. Since health is a journey, not an event, doesn't it make more sense to have a book that leads you on a journey instead of another all or nothing stint? My clients come to me anywhere between one to five days a week and have a great workout as well as receive a few nuggets of information. As one of my client readers, you will touch base with me day by day as I help guide you along the pathway to success. Some days we will be working out, some days we will just be covering some useful and timely information. By the end of this book, you will have accumulated a sizeable portion of information in easy to adopt segments and completed some safe and effective workouts, just like the clients right here in my studio! 2

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One The first 30 days of an exercise program are a crucial and exciting time. You're likely to face some demons, celebrate some ups, have some downs, and discover new things about yourself. One thing's for sure, you’ll be healthier and stronger (both physically and mentally) than when you started! Take a moment to complete the pre-book biometrics on page 243 before you get started. We will cover BMI (Body Mass Index) and WHR (Waist to Hip Ratio) on pages 83 & 84, so you can wait until you get to that part before recording those or skip ahead now, if you prefer. When we’re done, we’ll jot down our biometrics again and see how we improved! You can repeat this process of recording your information as often as you like, but I recommend no more often than once every week or two or else you will drive yourself crazy! In this volume, we will focus on using only bodyweight and on establishing a safe baseline of fitness and knowledge to jumpstart your journey to better health. In other books in this series you will be able to gradually increase difficulty and creativity in your workouts as well as read about different and more advanced topics. Future books may even include different types of equipment and exercise locations to ensure that no matter what you have on hand or where you are, you've got a workout you can do. After all, the best workout is the one you actually do! On page 242 you’ll find a checklist for the next 30 days. Mark the page with a bookmark or make a copy and post it somewhere you’ll see every day. Check off your daily reading and workout assignments as you go. You’ll also be able to access all of the charts, logs, lists, and other materials on my website or contact me and ask for a PDF of anything you need and I’ll do my best to get it to you right away! My contact information can be found on page 236. I'll be doing my best throughout this series to keep it simple and direct and to talk to you like you're standing right here in my studio. Fight the urge to steam forward full power. Enjoy the process. Be patient. Take it one day at a time, because how do you finish a marathon? One foot in front of the other!

WHEN TO START DAY 1 Strength training days are going to be days 2, 4, and 6 of each week, so if you would like your workout days to be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then Day 1 should be a Sunday. If you're more of a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday person, then start on Monday. If Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday sound good, start Day 1 on a Tuesday. You can find calendars to keep track of your progress on pages 245-247. Make a copy from the book or get the PDF from my website to print out and post somewhere you’ll see it every day. 3

Introduction Do your best to complete all the workouts in this book. It's possible that there's a day when it just can't or won't get done. While this happens sometimes, it shouldn't happen often. If it does, your time management and priorities likely need re-assessing. If you do miss a workout, you can make it up on another day as long as you leave 48 hours between strength training sessions. I usually do strength training on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sometimes it doesn't happen for my Tuesday so I make it up on Wednesday and do my Thursday workout on Friday and so on. No problem! Every person reading this book is going to have a different schedule to work with, so use common sense for how to make this book work for your schedule. On another note: if you must, feel free to finish the reading parts of this book whenever you have the time if you’re concerned about running out of time for the workouts. All the material in this book is important (obviously I think so), but isn’t quite as time sensitive as doing the workouts on any given day. Maybe some days you read ahead so all you need to do is your workout when the next one rolls around. Again, use your common sense in how to make this book work best for you. In addition to our strength training days, I will include cardio homework for added health and weight loss benefits. It is totally fine to substitute your own preferred methods of cardio, just as long as you're doing some! If you're starting from scratch or are looking for something more structured then just follow along! My recommendations assume we are starting at ground zero, but if you have already been active, then absolutely feel free to do more cardio than what I’ve listed. Are you ready to get started? I'll see you at our first session! Your trainer,


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

MY DECLARATION OF INTENT I hope you are as excited as I am that you’ve decided to take this important step toward a healthier life. I will accompany you on your journey leading you through workouts and teaching you how to live a healthier lifestyle. That being said, while I will do my best to provide you with the tools you need to succeed, at the end of the day the one who will accomplish your goals is you! You will need to be committed to making appropriate changes in your life and putting forth the effort required to get the results you want. Some people find it helpful to make an official declaration of intent. If signing such a thing for yourself is helpful to you then here you are! Number 7 is left blank for you to fill in, if desired: 1. I will make my training sessions a priority in my life. While life can hold many demands, I can handle them all better when I have taken care of myself first. 2. I will be honest with myself about my level of effort so I get the best workout I can each and every time. 3. I will be honest with myself about the real reasons behind my excuses so I can proactively move forward and not let myself get trapped in them. 4. I understand that if I want change to happen then I have to change. I am willing and able to put forth the effort needed. 5. I understand I am the only one who can obtain my goals and I am willing and ready to do so. 6. I understand and agree that I am worth the effort it will require to lead a happy, healthy lifestyle  7.____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________





Day 1

WELCOME ABOARD, CLIENT READER! Welcome to your first session! Let's take advantage of your Day 1 motivation and go over some basics and other good things to know before we go any further. I divided up all that I want to cover with you in the next 30 days into smaller, daily chunks for easier assimilation. I will detail our workouts, must know information, thoughts, tips, facts, and more during each daily session and you simply follow along, gradually incorporating all that we discuss into your life as you see fit. Whenever we have a workout, there will be spaces for you to write down your repetitions and other notes so you can keep track of your progress. If you do not want to write in this book, feel free to copy the page and keep track there instead. As you will see, making your efforts and progress more concrete by writing it down can go a long way to keep you accountable and motivated.

EXERCISE TERMINOLOGY Reps - Short for repetitions. A repetition is counted each time you move through the entire range of motion of the exercise. So each time you squat down and up, that is 1 rep. We're going to shoot for 8-15 reps on all our exercises in this book. If you can't do at least 8 reps with good form, the exercise is too hard. If you can do more than 15 reps, it may be too easy. So don't cheat yourself, keep it challenging! Sets - Sets are groups of repetitions. In this book, we're going to do 3 sets, so you will do 8-15 reps not once, not twice, but thrice! Volume - Volume is reps multiplied by sets, so if we're aiming for 3 sets of 8-15 reps each, our training volume is going to be 24-45 total reps for each workout. For strength you'll want to make sure exercises are hard enough to stay within the 24-36 rep range (3 sets of 8-12). For more endurance (toning), go for the higher, 36-45 rep range (3 sets of 12-15). Cardio/aerobic exercise - Refers to activities that get your heart rate up, burn calories, and benefit the cardiovascular system. Things like walking, running, bicycling, and so on. It's good to do some cardio exercises every day if you can. I've included some cardio homework in this book in the 8

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One form of a walking program, but feel free to switch it up and do other activities as well. Flexibility - This is the measurement of the pain free range of motion at a particular joint. If your muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments are tight, weak, or a combination thereof, your range of motion is going to be limited. Increasing range of motion requires moving through full ranges of motion during exercises and stretching. Ligament - Connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. Tendon - Connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. Hopefully that gets you up to speed for starters. We will definitely cover other terminology as it pops up in future sessions, no worries!

SOME THOUGHTS GOING FORWARD I have a few other thoughts I would like you to keep in mind as we move forward: -Something that comes up from time to time with clients is when we should consider eating before and after a workout. This is pretty unique to each person, so I would recommend you experiment and see what works for you. Some people may need to eat something an hour before a workout so they don’t get low blood sugar and get light headed. I wouldn’t recommend eating too much closer than that to your workout because it can cause you to feel nauseous as your blood flow is shunted away from digestion and over to your muscles. I definitely recommend eating a combination of protein and carbohydrates after a workout to replenish your body and give it the nutrients it needs to build a stronger you. -Never do anything that hurts. This may seem obvious, but if you're just getting started, sometimes it's hard to tell good pain from bad pain. Good pain is usually a burn in the muscles that comes from fatigue (totally normal and desirable). Bad pain is usually sharp and feels like something is going terribly wrong. If you feel bad pain, stop what you're doing and reassess whether you're doing the exercise correctly or if an injury is preventing you from doing it at all. Pick something else or skip it. We want to work smarter, not harder! 9

Day 1 -Should you undertake an exercise program? If you have any doubts, consult your doctor. Chances are they will encourage you to get moving, as it is helpful to nearly everyone; however some medical conditions come with certain considerations. Always stop if you ever feel dizzy, nauseous, are having chest pains, are so short of breath you cannot say three words together, or feel any of that bad pain we discussed. -Don't forget, this is a lifelong journey. It's so easy in the beginning when you're full of vim and vigor to go too hard, burn out, and drop out. If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up! Be patient. Progress will be gradual, but it will be progress. Consistency is the most important thing in any program. You could do the best workout in the world, but it won't help if you only do it once. -If you look at the photos for any exercise in this book and are still not sure how to do it properly, check my website’s GIF library of exercises (under the book tab), which will have all the exercises in this book and more for your reference. I am also going to make suggestions about alternative exercises you can do and if an exercise should be avoided by anyone in particular. I couldn’t address everything in this book alone, so I’m going to use my website as a place to expand on things I couldn’t include in this book. This is my way of trying to further provide you with a personalized experience. If you can think of any other ways I can help with that please let me know! -Also on my website will be PDFs of full-sized charts, logs, and other information from this book so you can print them instead of making copies, if that works better for you. I’m going to have a PDF available of a complete set of workout logs for the entire book that could be printed and put straight into a binder. I keep a binder of all my workouts so I can keep it all in one place, so this is for people like me who find that helpful. So, please make sure to visit www.FitWithCassandra.com to access all of this and more so we can make sure you’re as successful as possible!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

RATINGS OF PERCEIVED EXERTION Something important to keep in mind while you're doing these workouts (both strength and cardio) is your intensity level. A simple way of knowing if you're at the right intensity is to use this Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) chart:

This RPE chart uses a standard 1 through 10 scale. At the bottom, 1 is the easiest thing ever and 10 makes you closer to your maker than you might prefer. A 2 or 3 is low intensity and a 4, 5, or 6 is moderate intensity. For our purposes, it's safest to shoot for a 5 and that way you're right in the middle with a little cushion up and down. If you're not at least at a 3 or 4, then pick up the pace! If you can't say 3 words together then you may be working too hard. I've included a column in your workout logs for keeping track of your RPE for each exercise. If you notice any 1 to 3 rated exercises hanging out, follow guidelines for making them harder. Remember, if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you, so don't cheat yourself! Conversely, if some 7 to 10s are popping up, you may want to tone it down there, tiger.


Day 1

MEET YOUR MUSCLES It's helpful to know what muscles you're working on when you're exercising. If you know you're supposed to feel an exercise in a certain muscle, you can focus on the feeling in that muscle and make the exercise more effective. This is pretty important in general, but I think especially when you're working with bodyweight only. When lifting your own bodyweight, I think you have to be more intentional than if you're lifting a dumbbell. Also, knowing where you're supposed to feel an exercise means you won't panic when the right muscle groups start to burn (because yes, your thighs may burn during a squat)! While it's fine to call the triceps ‚the back of the arm‛ or your adductors ‚the inner thigh‛, it never hurts to become more aware of your body! I will refer to muscles by both their colloquial and scientific names and sometimes by their location throughout the book. So we're on the same page (literally), here are your major muscle groups:


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

WARMING UP Before each workout you will need to warm up. Warming up prepares your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which means they will be lubricated and enjoy a smoother and greater range of motion (preventing injury and enhancing flexibility). Warming up ensures that oxygen and other essential nutrients will be nearby for use during and after your workout. You have to provide your guns with ammunition after all! It also primes your nervous system by getting the nerveto-muscle connections ready to be used which improves your coordination, reaction time, and balance. Warming up also mentally prepares you for the task ahead, giving you a few minutes to get stoked before the fun begins. Basically, warming up enhances the quality of your workout, prevents injury, and aids with your recovery. A lot of people ask if stretching should be part of their warm up. The latest findings show that static stretching (when you're just holding a stretch) is not beneficial before a workout. In fact, it might reduce your ability to generate a proper muscle contraction. It makes sense when you think about it. The purpose of stretching is to lengthen your muscles. The point of working out is the shorten them. If your muscles are long before you go to shorten them, they may not really want to do that. It's best to do dynamic (moving around) stretches and activities before you work out and save your static stretches for your cool down. Before we get started with our workouts, I want to make you familiar with our warm up so when you get to your workout, you can jump right in! Because this is a full body warm up, it's an effective warm up for before any activity. We will use the same warm up for all the workouts in this book so you are able to get comfortable with it and will need to refer to your cheat sheet less and less. If you can, copy the cheat sheet page and have it handy for when you work out or bookmark the cheat sheet page for easy reference in the future. Do each of these moves for about 30 seconds, one after another. You can use an interval timer app on your smart phone, on your computer, or use any other kind of timer available (microwave, egg timer, etc) to make sure you do each move long enough. If you have no access to any kind of timer or would rather not use one, complete at least 15 repetitions of each move (each side). Going through the sequence once will only take about 4 minutes so we’re going to repeat it twice. Hopefully by then you feel a light sweat and are ready to begin your workout! Feel free to do the warm up a couple of times today as a light cardio workout or just to get the hang of it. 13

Day 1

HIGH MARCH What it warms up: Entire lower body, especially the front of the hips (hip flexors), and abs Cassandra's Note: I love how therapeutic this can feel for your hips, the range of motion it gives, and the benefit of alternating balancing on one leg. For these reasons, I especially love this warm up exercise for seniors, though everyone benefits. Instructions: Stand nice and tall with your hands on your hips. Shift your weight side to side and march in place, lifting your knees as high as you can. Try to move briskly but with control. You may also swing your bent arms by your sides if that helps with your balance. Do it quicker for a bigger heart rate boost or slower and more controlled to benefit your balance more.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

TWIST SIDE TO SIDE What it warms up: Arms, hips, and entire midsection (abs, back, etc) Cassandra's Note: Lots of people get injured while doing twisting motions (usually by doing so improperly), so I always like to throw this warm up exercise in the mix so that these muscles are awakened and ready for anything we might do. Besides feeling good, I love activities (like this one) that get the whole body involved because so many of our life’s activities involve this type of coordination. Instructions: Standing tall, reach your arm across your body towards the side wall while twisting your body in a straight line all the way down to your toes. Return to center and repeat to the other side. Move smoothly, twisting from side to side. Pivot on your foot so that you are not twisting your knee, but moving the entire leg from the hip.


Day 1

BUTT KICKS What it warms up: Hamstrings, general lower body Cassandra's Note: Warming up the hamstrings allows us to not only wake up the hamstrings but we also get a light, active stretch in the quads at the same time. Keeping our thigh muscles healthy helps us keep all the areas above and below them healthy as well. Remember that everything is connected! Instructions: Standing nice and tall, start shifting your weight side to side and alternate lifting your heels up towards your butt. Keep your abs pulled in, head up, shoulders back, and try to pull your heels as close to your bottom as possible. Try keeping your knees from moving forward. If you want more of a challenge, you can do this like you’re jogging (but while kicking your heels up to your butt).


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

SIDE TO SIDE LEG SWEEPS What it warms up: Inner thighs, general lower body Cassandra's Note: When warming up, I like to think about moving the body along all the planes and in all directions. We don’t move side to side often, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t! I love the pleasing stretch to the outside of the hips while doing this warm up and it wakes up muscles that get ignored quite a bit at the same time. Instructions: Standing up tall (of course), alternate lifting one leg in front of the other leg across your midline. Lift from the inner thigh and think about sweeping your instep up toward the walls to your sides. Try not to twist your whole body, but move from your hips down while keeping your body facing forward. Gently lift as high as you can while moving from side to side with control.


Day 1

UP AND OVER ARM SWINGS What it warms up: Shoulders and biceps Cassandra's Note: Yet another case of waking up the muscles on one side of the bone and giving a pleasing stretch to the muscles on the other side. In this case, we’re waking up the biceps and stretching our triceps with each bend of the elbow. The shoulders get a great range of motion out of it as well. Instructions: Stand tall and lift arms straight up over your head, bend the elbows to touch your back then reverse the movement back to the beginning. You can swing your arms a bit, but don’t whip them overhead. As always, move with control and care.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

ARM PUSH AND PULLS What it warms up: Chest, back, and shoulders Cassandra's Note: This warm up is great for most of the upper body and particularly for preparing your body for push up exercises. I also like this as a chest and shoulder stretch if you’ve been sitting at the computer (or similar) for awhile. It’s a great way to encourage the health of your shoulders and work out a little tension in the upper back. Instructions: Standing up straight with good posture, extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Pull your hands back until they are aside your shoulders and then push your hands back to start, as though doing a push-up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together when you pull and extend the shoulders forward slightly when you push. Move with steady control.


Day 1

HIPS SIDE TO SIDE What it warms up: Obliques and hips Cassandra's Note: This one feels so good to me. The hips are under a constant onslaught of pressure, potential misalignment, tension, and repetitive movement, so working all that out feels really nice. Like the Side to Side Leg Sweeps, these are a bit more novel for our body since it’s a side to side movement as opposed to a front to back movement. Instructions: Standing tall with your feet more than hip width apart and hands on your hips. Alternate shifting your hips from side to side while your torso leans in the opposite direction. Move with control as you steadily shift from side to side.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

ARM CIRCLES FORWARD AND BACKWARD What it warms up: Shoulders, chest, and back Cassandra's Note: While this is a great warm up for the entire shoulder area, it can also make a good endurance exercise if you do it long enough. It’s definitely in the category of things that don’t seem that hard until you do it for awhile. That being said, enjoy the warm up, but don’t overdo it! Instructions: Stand up tall and lift your arms out to the sides, keep them straight (but not locking the elbows). Move from your shoulders imagining you’re drawing circles in the air with your hands. Make your circles about the size of a beach ball. Do forward circles for the recommended amount of time or repetitions then switch to backward circles for the recommended time or repetitions. Move with control at a steady pace.


Day 1


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

COOLING DOWN Cooling down is a bit like warming up in reverse. Instead of getting your body ready for activity, you are scaling down your activity to return to your normal (but slightly improved) state. If you're finishing up a cardio workout, cooling down should include a few minutes of lower intensity activity (like walking if you were just running) and stretching. When you're finished with your strength training workouts you're already on the floor and ready to jump right into the stretches! Stretching primarily increases your range of motion, or the pain-free movement around a specific joint. It also decreases muscle stiffness, reduces your risk of injury during activities, improves posture, reduces stress, promotes relaxation, improves muscular performance and efficiency, and promotes circulation to the muscles and joints. Note: In the modern times we live in, we are all spending greater amounts of our time sitting. As we are doing this, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in our lower extremities are becoming less flexible, causing them to pull on our hips and cause a lot of the lower back problems we see nowadays. Several of these stretches are an important part of our day for this reason and I would encourage you to do them as often as you can.


Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. While stretching can be a little uncomfortable, it should never be painful. Move into each stretch slowly. Do not force your stretches, but stretch to a point of mild tension. Don't bounce or make any sudden movements while stretching. Doing so can result in going too far and injuring yourself. To make greater improvements in flexibility, repeating stretches for multiple sets of 30 seconds is generally considered more advantageous than stretching once for a longer period of time. Breathe normally or deeply while you're stretching (don’t hyperventilate). Try stretching just a tiny bit further every time you breathe out.


Day 1 As with the warm up, I recommend you copy the cool down cheat sheet page or bookmark it so you can refer quickly to the stretches after each workout you do. You'll get maximum benefits by doing these stretches after each strength training and cardio workout as well as throughout the day (especially if you need a little pick-me-up). Doing the warm up a few times and following with these stretches would make a great, quick way to touch base with your fitness, bump up your metabolism, and feel really good!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

STRETCHED CORPSE POSE What it stretches: Most of the body Cassandra's Note: This stretch is a reward for getting through each workout because it feels so good! Generally, I try to plan workouts so you end up lying on your back so you can transition smoothly into a relaxing cool down and this is a great place to start. It’s very similar to Shavasana, or Corpse Pose, in yoga only with the arms extended overhead to add a stretch to your shoulders, chest, and back. Besides being a great stretch, benefits of this pose include releasing stress and tension, improving concentration and blood circulation, calming the mind, reducing blood pressure, and promoting a state of restful rejuvenation. Instructions: Lie on your back and simultaneously reach your arms as high as you can and reach your feet as low as you can for a full body stretch. You can choose to be more active with the stretch by reaching with your limbs away from your torso or you can simply relax in this posture. Try allowing your arms to relax towards the floor as much as possible. If reaching your arms overhead is a problem, stick with regular Corpse Pose where you rest your arms by your sides.


Day 1

RECLINING SPINAL TWISTS What it stretches: Chest, biceps, lower back, and glutes Cassandra's Note: This stretch is one of my favorites! Besides being an amazing stretch, this pose helps to hydrate the spinal disks, lengthen, relax, and realign the spine, massage the abdominal organs, tone the waistline, help remove toxins, and increase blood flow to the digestive organs. This is generally gentle and therapeutic for everyone, but if you have back problems that feel exacerbated by this stretch then don’t do it. Remember that stretches are never supposed to hurt (though some mild discomfort is expected). Instructions: Lying on the floor, keep one leg straight and bring your other knee up toward the ceiling. Reach over with the opposite hand to hold your knee as you twist your lower body towards the floor. Reach out in the opposite direction with your other arm with the palm facing up. Repeat on both sides.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

SEATED TOE TOUCH What it stretches: Entire backside from neck to heels (calves, hamstrings, back) Cassandra's Note: This stretch helps calm your nervous system and emotions and stimulates the reproductive and urinary systems. It particularly stretches the hamstrings, keeping them from pulling your back out of alignment. Instructions: Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you (heels about hip width apart). Support yourself with your hands on your thighs and slide your hands down your legs towards your toes. You will feel a stretch along your entire backside between your heels and neck. Don't worry if you can't get all the way to your toes. Just do what you can and it will improve slowly over time. If keeping your legs straight is too challenging, you may bend your knees slightly. Keep your back as flat as you can throughout the stretch.


Day 1

STRADDLE STRETCH What it stretches: Inner thighs, hamstrings, and lower back Cassandra's Note: Another stretch for combating the ever-present danger of sitting! Lengthening our inner thigh and hamstring muscles are essential to prevent the inevitable pulling on our hip girdle and lower back that would happen if we didn’t. You use these muscles a lot more than you think and keeping them happy will prevent injury, ease stress and tension, improve posture and alignment, and ward off pain. Instructions: Sit up with a straight back and legs spread wide out to the sides. Using your hands to support you, hinge forward at the hips down the middle until you feel some resistance and hold. Breathe deeply and sink a little further with each exhale. After doing this for 30 seconds, reach to one side, using the opposite hand to grab across to the opposite foot. If you can't reach your foot, support yourself with your hands on your leg and slowly slide down your leg towards your feet. You'll get there one day! Hold for 30 seconds on one side and repeat on the other side.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

BUTTERFLY STRETCH What it stretches: Inner thighs, groin, and lower back Cassandra's Note: This stretch helps open the hips which become tight from long periods of sitting and can protect your hips from overuse injuries caused by too much walking, running, or cycling. This is a stretch I never go without! Instructions: While seated, pull your feet in towards you, pressing the bottoms of feet together in front of you with your knees opened up out to the sides, and lean over with a straight back (do not slouch). You may apply some gentle downward pressure to your knees by using your elbows. You can have your feet closer to you (harder) or further away (easier). Try a few distances and see what feels best for you!


Day 1

SIDE LYING QUADRICEPS STRETCH What it stretches: Quads and hip flexors (front of the hip) Cassandra's Note: This stretch is so important that I never, ever go a day without doing it. Our quads get tight when we sit, walk, run, or basically do anything, so if we didn’t undo that from time to time, our quads would just get tighter and tighter. Keeping your quads limber will stave off knee and hip pain and keep you better aligned. You can also do this standing, but I prefer the lying down version so you don’t have to fight your balance while doing it. Instructions: Lie on your side either propped up on your elbow or resting your head on your arm. Bend your bottom leg underneath you with the knee forward for support. Reach down and grab the ankle or foot of your top leg, pulling your heel in close to your butt. Keeping your knee at hip height (mine ended up being a little high in the photo), work on bringing your knee back behind your hip to stretch your quads. Tuck your hip forward and squeeze your butt to help increase the stretch.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

ARM ACROSS STRETCH What it stretches: Back of shoulders, upper back Cassandra's Note: Do you tend to hold stress in your upper back/neck area? I do! This stretch helps relieve that as well as promote healthy range of motion in the shoulders. I love to do these and their opposite (reaching back) whenever I’ve been at the computer for awhile. Instructions: Either sitting or standing, bring one arm straight across at shoulder height (do not bend this arm). Bring your other hand underneath and support the elbow of the stretching arm. You can even use that arm to cradle the arm you’re stretching, if you prefer. Hug the inside of your elbow to your shoulder. Don't forget to do both arms!


Day 1

TRICEPS STRETCH What it stretches: Triceps and shoulders Cassandra's Note: These are always a bit of a challenge for me, so I work on this and its variations quite often. Our arms are down most of the time, so it’s important we work on the opposite range of motion and open up the shoulders from underneath. Increasing your shoulders’ ranges of motion will increase their performance any time you use them. Instructions: Either sitting or standing, reach one arm up overhead and bend behind you, as though to pat yourself on the back. Reach your other arm overhead and pull your elbow back behind you. If you cannot reach your arm overhead, bring it across in front of your face and push your arm back. Repeat these steps on the other arm.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

DOORWAY CHEST STRETCH What it stretches: Chest (pectorals) and front of shoulder Cassandra's Note: So, here’s the deal: our lifestyles are full of cases where we’re rounding our shoulders forward into a hunched posture. All that driving, sitting at the computer, eating, and on and on contribute to chronically tight chest muscles. This stretch is one of the best you can do to undo this damage. Do it several times a day and your posture will thank you! Instructions: Stand in front of a door frame and put your forearms flat against both sides with elbows at shoulder height. Step forward with one foot, leaving your arms behind until you feel tension across your chest and armpits. Hold for a wonderful, posture-correcting stretch. If your arms can’t reach both sides of a door frame at once or you’re using something other than a door frame, you can do one side at a time instead.


Day 1

OBLIQUE STRETCH What it stretches: Obliques, lats, shoulder, hips Cassandra's Note: First of all, I got a little carried away in this photo and you shouldn’t at all feel like you need to fold over in half, just do what you can! That being said, this full side stretch will have you breathing easier, sitting up straighter, and keep your core more toned. Instructions: Standing with feet wider than hips, extend one arm overhead and support yourself with your other hand on your hip (or leg or on a chair) as you lean as far as you are comfortable to the side. Hold, breathing deeply, then slowly return to an upright position and repeat on the other side. At no time should you be leaning forward or backward, only directly sideways, as though you’re squashed between two panes of glass.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

CALF STRETCH What it stretches: Calves Cassandra's Note: We use our calves all the time. Their job is to point your toes down, which you do every time you take a step. If you wear high heels, this places the calf muscle in a shortened position and if you wear them enough, your calves will shorten to that length. When calves get tight it can lead to Achilles tendon injuries, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, and Charlie horses. Instructions: Assume a long lunge position, keeping the heel of your back foot on the ground the entire time with toes facing forward. Concentrate on making the angle between the top of your foot and your shin bone smaller. Feel free to hold onto something for support. Bend your front knee to increase the lunge position until you feel a deep stretch in the calf of your back leg. Hold then repeat on the other side.


Day 1


Day 2

YOUR FIRST WORKOUT Welcome back! Today is an exciting day! We are going to be building on the information we covered yesterday and will be getting started with our first workout of the book! The first workout is always a bit of an exploratory mission, especially if it's been awhile since you've been active or it's your first time exercising. After today, you will be more familiar with your body, its current condition, areas of tightness or weakness, and much more. For a lot of people, the first workout is the hardest, but never fear, it will get better from here on out!

BEFORE WE GET STARTED -Gather your materials before your workout so you're able to go through it without interruptions. Keep your warm up and cool down cheat sheet handy (or book mark those pages for easy reference) and have a towel and water ready as well as a mat (if you prefer one). Get your workout space organized and ready to go, and try to keep possible distractions to a minimum. -Perform each exercise slowly and carefully until you feel comfortable with it. Do your best to mimic the form in the pictures. Using a mirror can be very helpful! -Make sure you're working at around a 5 on the RPE scale. Follow individual exercise suggestions about making it harder or easier in the description for each exercise. -Make sure you're breathing as you do each exercise. Air should be flowing in and out at all times. Ideally, you are breathing in when you are not straining and breathing out when you are straining. Using the push-up as an example, you would breathe in while lowering down and breathe out when you come back up. Holding your breath against pressure causes spikes in your blood pressure and we don't want that! -A lot of people ask me how long/how many times they should do a certain workout. In this book, we will be doing each workout for 1 week, which hopefully means we will do each one 3 times. You want to avoid what I call "Exercise ADD", especially as a beginner. What I mean is, you don't want to be switching around what you're doing every time you exercise. The reason is, if 38

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One something starts hurting it will be much easier to identify the exercise that did it and to make necessary changes. Repeating the same workout also allows you to see your results better as you improve your form and the number of repetitions you can perform. You'll also gain a higher comfort level and knowledge of each of the exercises by repeating them. If you find you would like to stay with a workout longer than one week then that is totally fine too! Really, I think this whole book could be stretched to anywhere between one and four months. Most of my clients stick with one workout for 2 to 3 weeks before we switch to a new workout. -Once you’re familiar with these exercises, complete your warm up and let's get to work! Mark down your repetitions and RPE on the exercise log provided or on a separate sheet of paper so you can refer back to them in the future. It'll be fun (and helpful) to look back and see how you’re improving! -If you’re not sure where to start, start with 3 sets of 8 repetitions of each exercise and see how you feel. If you feel fine afterwards, move up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for your next workout and see how that goes. Each time you exercise, increase the number or difficulty of your repetitions as long as you feel okay during and after. When you switch to a new workout, drop your repetitions back down to 8 or 10 again and build back up. This is a very safe way to ensure you’re going to get results without injuring yourself. -If you come to an exercise that isn’t going to work for you, then please check the GIF library on my website for a substitute. Look up the exercise you want to substitute and there should be some other options linked there for you. If not, contact me! I’m going to be adding to it on an ongoing basis to make it a comprehensive resource for you 


Day 2

WEEK 1 EXERCISES BODYWEIGHT SQUAT What it strengthens: Quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back, glutes, abs Cassandra's Note: We squat to some extent every day. For example, getting up and down off the toilet, so these are definitely a functional, everyday movement worth practicing! Instructions: Stand with your feet about hip width apart (or a little wider) and toes pointed slightly to the outside. Place your hands behind your head to help keep your chest and head up (don’t slouch). Bend your knees reaching your hips back as though reaching your butt towards a chair. Keep your stomach pulled in (abs engaged) the entire time. Bend your knees as far as you can while keeping your knees behind and in line with your toes. A great goal would be to reach a depth where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Squeeze your butt to reverse the movement to return all the way to standing. I like to call the back position at the bottom of the squat ‘cat in heat back’ because your lower back should have a slight arch in it (which I’ve exaggerated a bit so you can see what I mean). Do not tuck your butt under! To make it easier: Hold onto the back of a chair or countertop for support and/or do not bend your knees quite as far. To make it harder: Bend your knees more to go lower and/or do the squat slower to give your muscle fibers a chance to get tired (and stronger).


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

WIDE GRIP PUSH-UP What it strengthens: Chest, triceps, front of the shoulder, abs Cassandra's Note: Push-ups are another one of the basic human movements, so they have a lot of functional applications (pushing yourself up off the floor, for example). They use a lot of muscles, so they burn lots of calories too! Instructions: Using an elevated surface like a counter, couch, or table, place your hands about twice shoulder width apart and walk your feet away so your body is at about 45 degrees. Pull your stomach in, keep your body straight, bend your elbows out to the sides, and lower your chest to between your hands. Push back up to the starting position. Go lower as you feel stronger. To make easier: Use a wall or use a taller counter/table/railing. To make harder: Use a surface that is lower to the ground, like a coffee table or do them from a kneeling position on the floor (bottom left photograph). For a greater challenge, do them in a full plank position (bottom right photograph).


Day 2

SIDE LEG LIFTS What it strengthens: Gluteus medius and minimus, obliques (a little) Cassandra's Note: The gluteus medius and minimus aren't as well known as the gluteus maximus but they are very important for pelvic (hip area) stabilization, are mainly responsible for your ability to balance on one leg (as you do when you walk, go up stairs, etc), and help keep your butt perky! Instructions: Standing tall (and optionally holding on to a chair/counter for balance), stabilize your body by keeping your stomach pulled in and your standing leg strong and in place. Lift your other leg straight out to the side (using your butt) as high as you can without pain and while keeping your toes pointing forward. Squeeze at the top and lower your leg with control back to start. Complete all repetitions on one side and then repeat on the other leg. When you feel a burn in your hip socket, you know it's working! Make sure you aren't just leaning over to the side to make your leg go higher. To make easier: Don't lift your leg as high and/or don't hold it at the top. To make harder: Do not hold onto anything for balance, but use your core instead and/or hold for longer at the top of the movement and/or lift and lower more slowly.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

WALNUT CRUSHERS What it strengthens: Back of shoulders, upper and middle back Cassandra's Note: This little gem is great for correcting and preventing poor posture. This move helps to reverse all the rolling forward of our shoulders that we do while driving, eating, and working at a computer. Instructions: Extend your arms out to your sides with palms up to about shoulder height. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull your elbows down and back as though you're going to touch them behind your back (like crushing walnuts between your shoulder blades). Squeeze tightly for a moment then reverse the movement back to start. To make easier: Do fewer repetitions and/or do not squeeze as tightly or as long. To make harder: Hold each squeeze longer and/or add light weights, like bottles of water.


Day 2

CAT/COW What it strengthens: Abs and back Cassandra's Note: This one feels amazing if you have any back stiffness. I love that it works the back and front of our torsos to encourage balance between the two. This is what I like to call a strengthening stretch since it does both: stretches and strengthens! Instructions: Kneeling in a quadrupedal position (wrists under shoulders, knees under hips), breathe in and curl your tailbone up to the ceiling while lowering your spine to the floor and looking up (this is the cow portion - top two pictures). Still support your spine with your abs even though they are extended downwards. When you breathe out, do the opposite and tuck your tailbone under, extend your spine up towards the ceiling, and look down (that's the cat part - bottom two pictures). I usually describe this as holding a flexible rod by the ends and bending the middle upwards and downwards. Move by following your natural breathing rhythm. Going all the way up and all the way down is one repetition, so lather, rinse, and repeat!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

SWIMMING (BEGINNER) What it strengthens: Your whole backside Cassandra's Note: Most of our daily activities encourage our bodies to curl up and as a result our backs tend to get weaker and abs tighter. This exercise is a beginner-friendly way to fix this problem. Instructions: Lie on your stomach with arms extended forward about shoulder width apart and legs stretched back about hip width apart. Squeeze along your backside to lift one arm and the opposite leg at least a few inches off the mat. Squeeze and hold for a moment then relax back down. Lift the other arm and leg. That's one rep! Breathe normally throughout. Keep your neck in natural alignment by keeping your forehead resting on the mat or resting on a rolled up towel, if you prefer. To make easier: Don’t lift as high and/or lift each limb independently (just the right arm, just the left arm, just the right leg, just the left leg, and repeat). To make harder: Lift higher (if you have no pain) and/or keep your head lifted a few inches off the mat (with neck in alignment) throughout your repetitions.


Day 2

PELVIC TILTS What it strengthens: Abs and lower back Cassandra's Note: This one is great for those deep core muscles and you get a little back massage while you're doing it! I think maybe the biggest contribution of this exercise is in training us how to turn our abs ‚on‛. I find that most people keep their abdominals relaxed most of the time when they should be engaged (think sucking it in). Your spine doesn't support itself! Also, it moves the pelvis through a wider range of motion than most people get to on a daily basis which helps loosen up your lower back and surrounding structures. This is a very therapeutic exercise for those with back issues. Instructions: Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, pull with your abs to make your hips rotate towards your face, flattening your back to the floor (left set of photos). Think about creating a bowl in your lower tummy. Hold for a moment then reverse the movement, rotating your hips downwards as the lower back lifts off the floor (right set of photos). Hold for a moment and return to start. I like to imagine I'm holding a bowl of water on my lower abdomen and I'm sloshing it forward and backward. Move slowly and with control throughout the movement. To make easier: Move through a smaller range of motion and/or place a small pillow or mat under your tailbone if you have discomfort there. To make harder: Go as far as you can in each direction, working up to greater ranges of motion and/or do more repetitions.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

BASIC CRUNCH What it strengthens: Abs Cassandra's Note: Whereas the Pelvic Tilt zeroes in on the low and deep parts of the abdominals, this will focus more on the upper part, making them a very effective pairing. The Basic Crunch is a fundamental exercise for the abs and one that will pave the way for many other exercises down the road. Instructions: Still lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, support your head in your hands with your elbows out to the sides. Contract your abs, pulling your ribs closer to your hips and lifting your upper back and shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for a moment at the top before lowering yourself back down. Do not yank your head forward or tuck your chin into your chest. Keep your elbows back, your head and neck in the same position throughout the movement, and make sure you are pulling yourself up with your abdominals...no cheating!


Day 2


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 2 Did you stretch when you finished? Great job! I'm so proud of you for getting through your first workout! Hopefully you feel great about it too. Now is a great time to eat something high in protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, etc) to give your body the building blocks it needs for your new and improved muscles. I'll see you again tomorrow!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Some people like to tell the people closest to them about their fitness and diet goals. Certainly, the more support you have the more successful you will be and the less likely others are to unintentionally sabotage your efforts. When other people know what you’re trying to accomplish, they’ll hold you more accountable and hopefully provide what I like to call "positive peer pressure". However, your journey is absolutely a personal one, so if you don’t feel right telling others and you want to keep this to yourself, that’s totally fine too!


Day 3

DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS (DOMS) If it's at least 6-8 hours since you worked out yesterday, you may be experiencing some post-exercise soreness. This is totally normal and peaks around 48 hours after strength training (though the exact timeline varies). While it's vindicating on some levels if you are a little sore after a workout, hopefully you aren't crippled and unable to walk. If you're truly that sore, you may have overdone it and should take it a little easier next time! If you aren't sore at all, don't worry about it. You do not have to be sore to have gotten a good workout. The most important thing is that you were challenged by the exercises at the time you were doing them. If you weren't challenged by the workout, follow the directions for making the exercises harder for tomorrow's workout. If you find that you have the masochistic tendency to push really hard and end up crippled after every workout, let me ask you to reconsider. Reaching that level of soreness has a point of diminishing returns. Being so sore you can't properly work out again 48 hours later can lead to you doing less workouts overall and will affect the quality of your workouts. It's more beneficial to do a moderate level workout every other day than one super hard workout per week and spend the rest of your time too sore to move. If you are sore and feeling badly about it, please don't. Even Olympic athletes are challenged by their workouts and are certainly sore from time to time as well. It doesn't mean that you're in bad shape, just that you presented your body with a worthy challenge! What causes DOMS is not exactly understood, but it's thought to be a result of microtrauma and associated inflammation in the muscle fibers. When exercising, your muscle fibers are slightly damaged. It's believed that when they repair, they repair stronger and that this is one of the factors in hypertrophy (muscle growth). While nothing can dramatically hurry the repair process, there are some steps you can take to get relief if you are suffering from DOMS. Massage, stretching, light activity, staying hydrated, and getting adequate nutrition are all ways you can find some relief and help the repair process along. There is some evidence that taking anti-inflammatory medications can inhibit the muscle regeneration process, so I personally recommend not taking any medications unless you really have to, just in case! My personal favorite recovery method is to go for a walk. I know it may seem counterintuitive like, "But Cassandra, it hurts to move, I think I should just sit around and relax." The thing is, if you get your blood and muscles 52

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One moving, you will deliver lots of essential nutrients to where they are needed and get loosened up in the process. It always works for me! Which brings us to our next topic...

CARDIO WORKOUTS In order to achieve a well rounded workout program, we're going to need some cardio. Building muscle mass increases your metabolism over time, helping you burn more calories throughout the day, but getting the heart pumping will burn lots of calories right now. We all love right now, right? Not to mention the impressive list of health benefits associated with doing cardiovascular exercise: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Burns calories, assisting in reducing body fat. Promotes healthy blood pressure levels. Increases stamina for carrying out everyday activities. Reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol and raises good (HDL) cholesterol. Improves the body's ability to take in and utilize oxygen. Prevents heart disease, which kills more people than all forms of cancer combined. Helps relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Promotes release of hormones that decrease appetite. Stimulates your brain, increasing productivity and aiding memory. Improves the condition of the heart and lungs. Speeds exercise recovery. Increases insulin sensitivity, helping to prevent and manage diabetes. Helps you sleep better and so much more!

How much cardio do you need? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree that adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity (that's around that 5 on our RPE scale) 5 days a week. They say accumulate because 2 bouts of 15 minutes or 3 bouts of 10 minutes have been shown to be as effective as 30 minutes of continuous activity. For greater improvements in cardiovascular endurance, they recommend 20 to 60 minutes of cardio three to five days per week. What counts as a cardio workout? Cardio is any activity that gets your heart rate up and gets you breathing harder for a sustained period of time. This could be walking, swimming, biking, rollerblading, or playing a sport. 53

Day 3 Aerobics classes are another popular option and can be a fun way to add variety and a social aspect to your fitness regimen. Even our warm up can be built up to a higher intensity (by moving faster and/or longer) and turned into a safe, effective, and quick cardio workout. In this book, I will be including simple walking workout suggestions for you to follow. If you would like to substitute your own cardiovascular activity then you are welcome to do so! In the appendix you will find a calendar of all the workouts in this book that you can copy and post on your fridge or somewhere you will see it often. It will help you maintain your daily connection with health to keep it in view so it's not out of sight, out of mind. I also encourage you to do your stretches from this book after your walks/cardio workouts. Flexibility, like all things, is greatly benefitted by consistency. Most of my clients find that stretching is their favorite part of every workout because it feels great and it means that the workout is over! My first recommendation is to accomplish your walks outside so you can enjoy the fresh air and connect with the outside world. This is, of course, provided you have a safe place to do your walks and the weather is cooperating. Locate your nearest park with walking paths and areas nearby with continuous sidewalks to have a few options available. If walking outside isn't possible or preferred, using a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or a stair climber can make for a good substitute. They each allow you to get a great cardio workout and have the bonus of being able to multitask while you do it, by watching television or reading a book (just please don't fall off). A few thoughts I have about each of these cardio machine options:

TREADMILL These are everywhere in commercial, hotel, and apartment gyms, and even in people's homes (perhaps you are using one as a hat rack at the moment), so they are typically the most accessible option as far as cardio machines go. One complaint about the treadmill is that it moves underneath you while you lift up your feet and put them back down at a speed that keeps you from sliding off the end (which can happen, so be careful), so it does do a little of the work for you. To get the same level of workout as you would get walking outside, you need to compensate by elevating the incline by 1-4%. Treadmills give you an option of maintaining a steady pace, which is important if you're training for a race or want to push yourself to keep up. Also, treadmills do not limit your range of motion, so you can move more naturally. However, because your feet are not fixed, there is a bit more impact. 54

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

ELLIPTICAL Elliptical machines are low impact and joint friendly, offer variable resistance and elevation options so you can easily adjust the difficulty level, you have the option of going in reverse, you control the pace by going either faster or slower, and it can include the whole body if the machine has upper body levers. Mounting and dismounting can be tricky, so be careful! Also your feet are fixed where the platforms are which may or may not be a preferred range of motion for you. The trade-off is that you won't be pounding on your joints (though some impact is actually healthy for our bones).

STATIONARY BICYCLE There are two basic types of stationary bikes: recumbent and upright. On a recumbent bike you have a broader, more comfortable seat and a backrest and are lying back slightly with your feet in front of you. These are great options if you suffer from back pain, as your back is supported. Upright stationary bicycles are like riding a regular bike, but indoors. These can be less comfortable as you contend with sitting on a bicycle seat and leaning over the handlebars. Both have the downside of sitting which isolates the legs and can cause a lot of local fatigue, making it more difficult to get to a desired heart rate level and stay there. Like the elliptical, these are low impact and you can vary the resistance. In addition, they are pretty easy and safe to mount and dismount.

STAIR CLIMBER The two types of stair climbers are stair steppers, where your feet are fixed and you pump the steps up and down, and step mills, which are like climbing a flight of stairs that never ends. They are both another low impact, joint friendly option. While on a stair climber, you do have to avoid the tendency to support yourself with your arms as this can cause very poor posture, joint issues, and reduces the overall effectiveness of your workout. If you opt to use a step mill, just be careful not to fall off!


Day 3 You have your first walk (or cardio workout of your choice) today, so let's get to it! I included a log for it below. When you're done, pat yourself on the back and I'll see you tomorrow!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Grab a friend to exercise with! You can hold each other accountable, cheer each other on, keep each other company, and have more fun! Just choose carefully, because sometimes other people aren't as motivated as we are. An exercise partner who isn’t as into it as you are can end up talking you out of it and becoming a barrier. I’ve had running partners who really motivated me and kept me on track, but I’ve had others who I had to move on from. They just weren’t a good fit. Never be afraid to follow your own true north!


Day 4

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD FORM Good form is doing each exercise with beneficial body mechanics. Proper form is important because it allows us to prevent injury and enables us to lift our bodyweight more effectively, which gives us better results in less time. We want to avoid placing our joints and soft tissues at awkward angles which could potentially cause injuries. I highly recommend practicing each exercise in front of a mirror. Sometimes it takes a little practice to connect the brain, muscles, and joints so you know that what you're doing is correct. As a beginner, you want to start off on the right foot with good form so you create good habits. If you get injured, you will not be able to exercise for days or even weeks, which really puts a damper on your progress. So do your due diligence and it will save you loads of pain and re-learning down the line! Here are some general form guidelines to follow when working out: • Only do the number of repetitions you can do with good form. You would be much better off doing 8 amazing reps with perfect form than 15 sloppy reps. • Breathe in when lowering and breathe out when lifting. This helps you create a better quality repetition without spiking your blood pressure. • Start off by doing each exercise slowly and smoothly and only increase your speed when you can do it without losing any part of your form. • You always want to perform exercises to the fullest range of motion available to you. If you lose any part of your form, that's the end-range of that movement for now. Besides engaging muscles better, performing exercises through a full range of movement greatly encourages flexibility and mobility. • At all times, keep your abs "engaged" by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Bracing your core muscles will support your spine and help you maintain proper spinal alignment during exercise. You might think of this as "sucking it in", which all of us should try to do all the time, even when not exercising. Doing so activates your body's natural corset! • Try never to straighten your joints, like elbows and knees, until they are "locked". This hyper-extending can put a lot of strain on joints, so keep a "soft" bend in them at all times.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! A pound of fat has about 3500 calories and can fill a coffee cup. It may not sound like a big deal to lose a pound, but just think of scooping a pound of fat off your body with a coffee cup and throwing it away and I think you'll be very pleased with yourself!

Are you ready for workout number two? I think you'll find that this workout will go much quicker and more smoothly now that you know what you're in for! Let’s go!


Day 4


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 4 How did you do? Probably a lot better than your first workout already, right? If you were sore after the first workout, you shouldn't feel nearly as sore after this workout. Congratulate yourself! You have every reason to feel proud! If you didn't get to it today, make up for it tomorrow, yes? Speaking of tomorrow, I will see you then!


Day 5

SETTING S.M.A.R.T. GOALS One of the first steps to a successful journey is to figure out where you’re going! You may also need to figure out some benchmarks for along the way. Ideally, you want all this planned in advance when you’re strong and motivated so that the rest of the time, you can just let autopilot take over and get right to it. With that in mind, let’s set some S.M.A.R.T. goals! Specific - Measureable - Attainable - Relevant/Realistic - Time anchored

SPECIFIC A goal that is specific will answer the questions who, what, where, why, when, and which. Who will you exercise with? What will you do? Where will you exercise? Why are you doing this? When will you exercise? Thinking that you'd like to lose weight or get stronger is great, but without answering the above questions, you're just wishing. The more specific your goal is the more clear it is to follow and the more successful you will be.

MEASUREABLE Your goal should include concrete criteria for measuring your progress. This is how you know how close you are to your goal or if you've already reached it. Data could include how many workouts you've completed, how many pounds you’ve lost, or the number of reps you can do. Measureable criteria will answer: How many? How much? How will I know this has been accomplished? Measurements are also important for verifying whether what you're doing is yielding the results you'd like or if you need to change something. Establishing measureable landmarks and achieving them at regular intervals can be a huge boost to your motivation. Think of them as mini goals that contribute to the goal at large. Maybe it's as simple as making sure you drink 8 glasses of water today or that you went for that walk we had planned.

ATTAINABLE Your goal should be, well, possible! It would be a bit far-fetched if you decided that your goal would be to lose 100 pounds in a month. Since reasonable fat loss is somewhere around 1-2 pounds per week, a more attainable goal would be to lose 4-8 pounds of fat in a month. You don't want to set yourself up for failure right from the start! Make sure your mini goals 64

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One and landmarks are attainable as well. Allow yourself a buffer for the unexpected and have a plan in place for getting over barriers that may arise.

RELEVANT/REALISTIC Does your goal matter to what you're trying to accomplish (relevant)? Goals must also be something you are both willing and able to work toward (realistic). Don’t be afraid to shoot for the stars and have a big goal that's also realistic. Only you can decide how big your goal should be. However, it might not be realistic to say you will exercise for hours every day or not eat any sweets for months on end. As everyday people, we want to create sustainable health and be realistic about our limitations. The benefit of setting the bar higher is that it is often accompanied by higher motivation. If you set the bar too low, you know you don't have to try too hard to achieve it, so your motivation is proportionally low. A helpful way to make your goal more realistic is to break it up into smaller, more manageable goals. Staring at a seemingly monumental goal can feel really overwhelming and defeating, which saps motivation. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! So for example, if your goal is to stick to this book every day for 30 days, just take it day by day and you will reach your goal! If you fall off the horse, just get back on! Your confidence about whether or not you can achieve this goal may depend on your previous experience. If you've tried losing weight or sticking to a workout routine in the past and failed, you may not truly believe you can do it this time. I'm here to tell you that you can do this and to guide you through the process. Don't just believe this time is different though, make it different! You've got a solid plan this time and support to boot!

TIME ANCHORED When do you want to accomplish your goal? ‚Someday‛ doesn't cut it here. If you have no sense of urgency, you will also have no motivation to get going. Again, keep it realistic. A date that has meaning is always a good bet (your birthday, an anniversary, or a date when you'll be leaving for vacation). Put it on your calendar. Don't let your goal slip out of sight, out of mind. Again, we could go back to setting smaller daily and weekly goals that contribute to your bigger goal. Maybe your weekly goals include stretching daily and strength training three times. Perhaps your daily goals include drinking at least 8 glasses of water, reaching 10,000 steps on your pedometer, or eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. All these things could contribute to you overall goals. 65

Day 5 I have a Google calendar widget on my phone's home screen where every single thing goes. I keep track of my client's sessions, my son's activities, things I don't want to forget, what I need to pick up at the store, and so on. I even schedule when I'm going to work out! I look at my calendar frequently throughout the day so it really helps me stay on track. Some people prefer an analog approach, like a diary or a paper calendar. Do whatever works for you! Use the below framework to help form your goals. It's totally fine to have separate goals for diet and exercise. You can make as many goals as you would like! Remember, splitting things up into bite sized pieces is a good way to ensure success! “I will (what) on (when -days)

with for

(who) at (duration)

(where) at in order to

(when - time) (why) ”

Examples: "I will eat five servings of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors every day in order to make sure I am getting a variety of nutrients to keep my body healthy." "I will walk with Cathy at the park at 5:45pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 45 minutes to improve my cardiovascular endurance and to help me with my larger goal of losing 1-2 pounds of fat per week." Grab a piece of paper and write down your goals and remind yourself of them often. If they change, that's ok. If you were a little ambitious and realize your goal is not realistic, you can modify it. A great, simple goal while you're working through this book would be to complete each day's reading and workouts. I'd like to take this moment to say that I think where you are now is the hardest place to be because you are furthest from where you would like to be. Every inch closer is progress worth celebrating. Progress is not a straight line. Sometimes it's two steps forward and one back. Keep reminding yourself of your goals and that you can do it! One day, you will be maintaining what you've earned and life will become much, much easier. This initial struggle is temporary, trust me! Now, enjoy your walk!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! There are many reasons to increase fitness and lose weight, but are any of yours financial? Maybe they should be. Over the last 35 years, the number of obese Americans jumped from 15% to 34% and is projected to reach 50% by 2030. Obesity-related illness, disability, and death are estimated to cost almost $200 billion per year. Obese people have medical costs that are over 40% higher than normal weight people (about $1,400 annually). The estimated annual cost of being obese is over $4,500 for women and over $2,500 for men. Putting your money and time towards losing weight and increasing your fitness level may save you thousands of dollars a year, not to mention all the other benefits that come with it!


Day 5


Day 6

THE BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING Strength training is a very important part of a healthy, active lifestyle. It provides the stimulus with which your muscles get stronger, last longer, and get bigger. I'm list-obsessed, so here's a list of some of the benefits of strength training to keep in mind when we get down to it during today's session: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Improved muscular strength and tone. Protects joints from injury by strengthening ligaments and tendons. Improves flexibility, allowing you more range of motion. Increases your metabolism for easier weight management. Greater stamina - you won't get tired as quickly. Increased endorphins (which reduce pain). Prevention and control of chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, back pain, depression, obesity, and heart disease. Improves balance and mobility - increasingly important as you age. Improves posture - saving you from a lifetime of pain. Improves mood, confidence, and your sense of well-being. Increases bone density, which reduces your risk of bone loss. You sleep better, I know I do! Gain and maintain physical independence. Improves cholesterol by raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. Lowers high blood pressure. Lowers risk of breast cancer by reducing high estrogen levels. Reduces symptoms of PMS. Reduces stress and anxiety. Lowers your risk of getting sick. Better sex - both physically and enjoying it more as we feel more confident. More energy - expending energy creates energy? Absolutely! Improves digestion and elimination. Improves intellectual capacity and productivity. Empowerment - strength training, and exercise in general, is literally taking complete control over your situation and owning it. Perspective - we're very lucky to live in situations where (in some cases) our workout is one of the biggest struggles of our day. I find that working out makes me feel like some of my other problems are much smaller and easier to manage.

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Keeping in mind why you're doing all this and what you're getting out of it can do wonders for your motivation. I remind myself of all these things constantly. It helps! Now for our third and final time doing this particular workout! Starting next week we will work on new ways to keep our body challenged. Hopefully you're starting to feel more comfortable with your warm up and the exercises. If you feel ready, try following some of the suggestions for making the exercises more challenging today.


Day 6


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 6 Did you improve your repetitions at all? Feel more confident? Do the workout faster? Try a harder variation? Good for you! These little incremental improvements are how we make progress!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Once we reach adulthood, we have a fixed number of fat cells in our bodies. When you gain or lose weight, the fat cells get bigger or smaller, but they don't change in number. That is to say, they do get destroyed and replaced, but they remain at a set number overall. Where your fat cells are located is genetically determined and is part of why you are shaped the way you are.


Day 7 Welcome to a guilt-free rest day! You have no homework from me today. That's right. Breathe in the freedom!

THE IMPORTANCE OF REST A lot of people seem to think if you want to get in shape you need to work out all the time. What most people don't realize is that exercise is just a stimulus. All your improvements happen after you stop and your body refuels, heals, and adapts. The mantra "everything in moderation" applies here too! There are 168 hours in a week and between the three strength training workouts and the three walking/cardio workouts we're aiming for each week, we're exercising for about 4 hours altogether (give or take). That means we're exercising approximately 2% of the time. Not bad, right? That 2% makes the other 98% a lot better and the 98% makes that 2% a whole lot better too! Now, I'm not referring to daily activities when I say exercising. There's a big difference between exercise (which is focused, planned, and structured) and physical activity (which includes general moving around and the like). Hopefully you move around often at work, running errands, and/or playing with your kids or grandkids. So, when I say rest, I don't mean that you should spread out on the couch and not move all day! What I mean is: you shouldn't try to spend endless hours exercising every day. How much rest do we need between workouts? It is recommended that you rest for 48 hours between strength training for the same muscle groups. That's why we do our strength training on Days 2, 4, and 6. That way, every 48 hours we're getting a great stimulus for our muscles while also allowing them time to recover in between. When we're talking about cardio workouts, how much rest you need mostly depends on the intensity of workout you're doing. Low impact activities like walking can be done every day without fear of overdoing it. If you're working at a much higher intensity (by doing something like high intensity internal training), you should give yourself a day off in between to recover. What are the benefits of rest? The first one that comes to mind is injury prevention. Exercise is a stressful event for the body. It's positive stress, but stress nonetheless. Too much exercise can lead to overuse injuries, muscle tears, and other debilitating injuries. The irony is that in an effort to get more results, people who ‚over-train‛ ultimately end up unable to exercise for days or even weeks after an injury or illness, resulting in an overall reduction in exercise. I believe very strongly that life requires balance. If you're at one extreme,


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One something will happen to return you to the other extreme in an effort to restore balance. Rest is physically necessary for muscles to repair, flush out cellular waste, and replenish energy stores. Remember that exercise causes microdamages to your muscles and like any other kind of damage, it needs time to heal. If you don't give your muscles adequate rest then you reach a point of diminishing returns and your gains plateau or even decline. Your performance will be much better quality when you come into a workout well-rested. Better quality workouts equal better quality results. It isn't just physically that we need rest though, it's mentally too. I've seen this scenario play out too many times: a new client comes in practically on fire to start working out and ready to make some big changes, but in a week or two they are burned out and exhausted and give up. As an aside, this is why a lot of diets don't work. They are too restrictive and extreme so we tend to yo-yo back and forth between being all in or all out. Wouldn't it be better to be 80% all the time and keep your sanity? We want to create balance between our health and fitness goals and the rest of our life. Personally, I follow the 80/20 rule for diet and exercise. I aim to make the best diet choices possible and get all my workouts done about 80% of the time. I leave room for life to happen in that other 20% when I ended up with a busier day than expected and didn't work out or I went to a party and that cake was too good to miss. Following this rule gives my life balance and helps me maintain my motivation to stick to my goals without burning out. In the end, I want to encourage you to monitor your needs and assess for yourself how much rest you need to be at your best.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Have you ever thought about the fact that you can live without food longer than you can without sleep? There’s a reason sleepdeprivation is a form of torture! Being sleep deprived hurts your cognitive functions, memory, increases accidents, leads to serious health problems, kills your sex drive, ages you, makes you gain weight, and hurts your judgment. So as important as it is to rest, make sure you also get your sleep!


Day 7 While I hope you made it through all our workouts this week and are feeling amazing and ready to start week 2, don't give yourself over to guilt if you didn't. If you feel the need to, repeat this week again before you move forward. This first week especially had a lot of information to take in and it would be totally understandable if you needed more time to absorb and assimilate it. Whenever you are ready to move to Day 8, I will be there!


Day 8 Now that we're making good progress incorporating exercise into our daily lives, let's focus a little more on nutrition this week. It is impossible to become healthier versions of ourselves without addressing how we fuel our bodies. Exercise alone will not get us where we want to go! As I mentioned on Day 7, I'm a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. Following this rule allows me to maintain my ideal body fat percentage without taking anything off the table (literally). Personally, I just don't want to live in a world without Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It's my thing, we all have one. Because I make all the right choices at least 80% of the time, I get to enjoy my Reese’s once in awhile without much detriment. Speaking of 80%, you may hear people say that diet is 80% of weight loss. I just don't agree. I think diet and exercise are a 50/50 proposition. If you only diet and don't exercise, you miss out on all the benefits of exercise and end up smaller, but not necessarily healthier. If you only focus on exercise but eat like crap, you're not fueling your body the way it needs and you'll sabotage all your efforts. Great health includes an equal focus on both diet and exercise. I've said it once and I'll say it again, it's all about balance!

WHAT ARE CALORIES? HOW MANY DO WE NEED? We have all heard of calories and know that food has them and that generally we should eat less of them and burn more of them, but what does all that mean? A calorie is the unit of measurement of the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. The key word here is energy. Too many calories make us gain weight because when we have extra energy, we store it for later (most notably as fat). A pound of fat contains approximately 3500 calories, so for every extra 3500 calories you take in you've stored approximately a pound of fat. This doesn't mean calories are bad. We need calories for our brain, lungs, heart, and other organs to work. Most adults need at least 1000 to 1400 calories per day to have enough energy just to stay alive. This number is your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and it varies from person to person. However, your RMR (also called the basal metabolic rate, or BMR) is assuming you are lying in bed doing nothing all day, so if that's not the case, you will need more calories than that to get through your day. If we need all these calories how do we still gain weight? Well, we call it ‚insidious weight gain‛ because it happens so slowly; maybe only a pound or


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One two over a whole year. Right? Then we reach a tipping point when we're like, "Woah, how did I get to be X pounds? I need to do something!" At the end of the day, it basically comes down to math. We need to create a deficit of 3500 calories in order to lose a pound of fat. This too happens over time, but the good news is that it usually happens at a much faster rate than it took to gain it. People don't like to hear this, but it's actually harder to gain weight than to lose it. It could take 10 years to gain 20 pounds, but that can be lost realistically in 10-20 weeks. See what I mean? Let's say you need 2000 calories per day to maintain your current weight at your current activity level. To create a calorie deficit to lose weight, you would reduce your food intake and increase your activity level. If you were able to burn 200 calories per day through exercise and take in 300 calories less per day then you would have a 500 calorie deficit which would result in a fat loss of about 1 pound at the end of the week (500 x 7 days = 3500 calories). Many people are tempted to eat fewer calories than their resting metabolic rate to try to hurry the fat loss process. This doesn't work for very long and it's a bad idea health-wise for many reasons. Please do not get radical on me; we're aiming for sustainable balance, right? Sustainable balance works, will keep you healthy, and you will keep the weight off forever instead of bouncing between extremes. How do we calculate our RMR? There are many formulas we could use but I'm going to stick with the Harris-Benedict Formula: Women: RMR = 655 + (4.25 x ___________) + ( 4.7 x ________) - (4.7 x ________) weight in pounds

height in inches

age in years

Men: RMR = 66 + (6.23 x ___________) + ( 12.7 x ________) - (6.8 x ________) weight in pounds

height in inches

age in years

What did you come up with? Write your RMR here:_____________. Remember, this is the minimum number of calories per day that you need to stay alive. To determine your total daily calorie needs, you'll need to do one more step: If you do little or no exercise: RMR x 1.2 If you do light exercise 1-3 days per week: RMR x 1.375 If you do moderate exercise 3-5 days per week: RMR x 1.55 If you do hard exercise 6-7 days a week: RMR x 1.725 If you do very hard exercise or have a very physical job: RMR x 1.9


Day 8 Enter your final number here: _____________. Now you know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight! If you'd rather not average out your activity level by doing that last step, you can just multiply your RMR by 1.2 for little or no exercise and then add in exercise calories as you do it. It's important you never net less than your RMR calorie level or your body will basically start shutting down and your progress will suffer. What do I mean by net calories? Years ago, when I was doing jujutsu up to 5 days a week, I was eating about 2000 calories per day but then burning up to 1800 calories in one jujutsu class. So 2000 - 1800 = a net of only 200 or so calories every day. That's way below the 1300 calories that my body needs to survive! As a result, I was feeling like total crap and couldn't get rid of those 5 extra pounds I wanted to lose. I upped my calorie intake to about 3000 calories a day and I felt amazing and lost those 5 pounds. True story.

COUNTING CALORIES Now that you know how many calories you need in a day to reach your goals, how will you know you are getting the right amount? A lot of people don't enjoy the thought of counting their calories, but honestly it's the only way you really know for sure. I'd like to point out that your body counts every calorie in or out whether you do or not. If you want to make your body work for you then you need to get on the same page! With technology being what it is these days, it's not hard to do just that. My favorite method so far is to use a free app and website called My Fitness Pal. It is a very user friendly platform, has a huge food database, shows you your calories in, calories out, and net calories, automatically calculates how many calories you burned doing exercise or an activity, and is very customizable. It even has a barcode scanner so you can scan a label, enter in the servings you ate, and boom, calories counted. There are other methods out there, but as I said, this one is my favorite so far. Knowing how many calories are going in and out is massive. The accountability of keeping track does wonders as well. I recommend entering your foods and drinks before you consume them so you know what you're signing on for. I've seen appetizers that have more calories in them than you're supposed to eat all day! I can't tell you how many times I didn't order or eat something after seeing what was in it. Just think, before you started to keep track you had no idea! The horror! While some may say that ignorance is bliss remember that we also say knowledge is power. Do you want bliss or empowerment? 82

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One As you lose weight, your caloric needs will decrease, so you will have to recalculate your RMR and total calorie needs from time to time. Also, over time your body will adapt to a lower caloric level, so periodically (like once a week or so) it seems to help if you eat a high calorie meal (a.k.a. cheat meal). You're not supposed to go crazy with this, like eating a whole pie or something, but something higher than what you have been eating to give your metabolism something to gnaw on. I do this from time to time and really feel that it helps a lot, not just for my goals but for my sanity! Another thought I'd like to add: the less weight you have to lose, the harder it is to lose it. After my son was born I had gained upwards of 50-60 pounds (I wouldn't get on a scale for a month, so I'm not positive how much I gained). I lost most of it in 6 months. The last 5 pounds took me another year. I'm not saying this will be you, but I want to manage your expectations if you lose a bunch of weight in the beginning and then gradually lose less and less. This is normal. One last thing: when you're on a calorie restricted diet, your body will try to eat up some of your muscle to survive. Muscle mass is hugely beneficial to metabolism, so we don't want this to happen. We prevent this by doing our strength training and ensuring we eat enough protein (our bodies' building blocks). We will get more into protein soon, don't worry, but in the meantime, make sure you're doing your strength training!

BODY COMPOSITION Ok, so we're getting the hang of calorie balance and we're eating the amount we need to maintain our weight or to lose some. How much weight do we have to lose? What weight should we shoot for? One of the simplest ways to get an idea of how much of you is body fat and how much of you is lean mass (everything else) is your BMI, or body mass index. This is a number used by insurance companies and doctor's offices because it is so easy to calculate. Admittedly, this is only a ballpark estimate of your body composition, but it's a decent start. You can calculate yours by using the formula below or by consulting the chart I made for you on the following page. You can also reference the chart to see what weight you would need to achieve to be a healthier weight, which will help you create realistic and measureable goals. Your BMI = __________ ÷ (__________)² x 703 = _________ weight in lbs

height in in


Day 8 Another quick and easy method for determining where you stand is your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Grab a measuring tape, if you have one, and measure the smallest part of your waist (or the horizontal line about an inch above your belly button) and write that number below. Then measure the widest area around your hips/buttocks and write that down. Your WHR = ___________ ÷ __________ = _________ waist (in)

hips (in)

This is another measurement that's good to work on and is a very important measurement of your risk for developing diseases. People who are ‚apple shaped‛ (round in the middle) and therefore have a higher WHR face more health risks than people with a lower WHR.

If you wish to simplify any further, just go by your waist circumference. That measurement alone will give you a good indication of your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The larger your waist circumference is, the higher your risk. Risk is lowest when the waist circumference is less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women. Record your results for both in the pre-book biometrics on page 243 and then take them again at the end of the book and compare your results.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! It would only take a calorie deficit of 100 calories per day to lose over 10 pounds of fat in a year! However, it works both ways: it would only take eating an extra 100 calories a day to gain over 10 pounds. Either way, the little things really add up!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 8 I know that all this is a lot to take in, but just absorb what you can and you can always come back later to soak up the rest when you're ready. Hopefully you are not feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. If you are, I like to think of that feeling you may be having right now as growing pains. Perhaps you are coming to terms with some harsh realities or perhaps you're disappointed to see you're higher on the chart than you would have guessed. I really want to encourage you to reframe this positively. Now that you know these things you can do something about it. Knowledge is power. Right, so put on your boss clothes and take your empowered self out for a walk! I'll see you tomorrow for our first week 2 workout!


Day 9

MAKE IT CONCRETE Before we jump into the workout I wanted to talk a little more about why we write down our workouts and why we track our diet. It's because of the quote you just saw on the Day 9 page. If you measure it, if you see it, if you make it concrete, you'll do it. This goes right along with the measureable part of our goal setting. If we have data then we can see when it changes. If you have no idea how many repetitions you did of a certain exercise last time, how will you know you did better this time? If you have no idea how many calories you're eating, how will you know if you're eating the right amount? There's something about writing things down that holds you accountable like nothing else. If you’re tracking your diet on something like My Fitness Pal and you want to eat a muffin, you will get immediate feedback about your decision once you plug it in. You’re not able to delude yourself about your choice because the information is staring you right in the face. In my experience, once I know how bad something is for me, it becomes a lot less worth it. I call it the "I-know-too-much" syndrome. You start to realize that the short term satisfaction isn’t worth the long term price. If I’m thinking of a muffin, I know how long it would take me to burn it off or if I’m tracking my diet and know that muffin is half my calories for the day, it loses some of its appeal. This is why I suggest adding items to your food log before you eat it. I once sat at a restaurant plugging in every appetizer and ended up not ordering a single one because they were all so appalling I just couldn't do it. One of the many reasons we gain weight over time is because we bury our heads in the sand about how bad things are for us. We can tell ourselves whatever we want, until we write it down and are confronted with reality. So again, do you want bliss or power? When you're tracking your food, your water intake, your exercise, or all of the above, you are touching base many times a day in order to track your healthy habits. This keeps them always on the forefront of your mind. You will not eat mindlessly anymore because you know that you will need to write down how much of something you ate, so you become more mindful. You will know how far you walked and how fast and will know what to do to get stronger next time, because you were aware of it and wrote it down. You will become aware that you don't drink nearly enough water, even though you thought you did, because you wrote it down. So...write it down!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

YOUR WEEK 2 WORKOUT Hopefully you are feeling confident with the exercises from week 1 and are ready to move forward. If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of moving forward, do last week's workouts this week and save these workouts for next week. It's fine to progress at your own pace and bump things back a week if you need to. The world will not fall apart if you turn this 30 day book into a longer book, as long as you're consistently making progress. If you’re sticking with the workout from week 1, continue to increase your repetitions a couple at a time for each exercise (if you can) until you reach 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each one. At that time, you are definitely ready to move on. When you start your week 2 workouts, the variations will be harder, so go back to a lower amount of repetitions (say 8-10) before gradually increasing those repetitions up to 3 sets of 15 before moving on. Do this throughout the book. If you are ready to try out some new exercises and build your personal exercise library, then welcome to a new workout! We have eight new exercise variations to cover before we get to work, so let's get started!


Day 9

WEEK 2 EXERCISES BODYWEIGHT SQUAT TO HOLD What it strengthens: Quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back, glutes, abs Cassandra's Note: We're continuing with our bodyweight squat from week 1 but now we're adding a hold at the bottom. This will help you build strength faster and bring up the challenge for your squats. I love this one for people with knee trouble because the hold at the bottom will help increase the stability of your knee joints and keep them healthy. Instructions: Standing with feet about hip width apart or a little wider, place your hands behind your head. Bend your knees and reach your hips back as though reaching your butt towards a chair. Go as far as you can while keeping your chest and face up and your knees behind and in line with your toes. Keep your stomach pulled in. Hold for at least 3 seconds before returning to standing. To make it easier: Hold onto the back of a chair or countertop for support and/or do not bend your knees quite as far and/or don't hold for as long. To make it harder: Bend your knees more to go lower and/or do the squat slower and/or hold the position at the bottom for longer. See how long you can hold it!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

TRICEPS PUSH-UP What it strengthens: Triceps, front of shoulders, chest, abs Cassandra's Note: These are going to be more challenging than the wide grip push-up, but you're ready! Like most push-ups, these can be modified lots of different ways so they are able to provide a great challenge for your upper body for-ev-er. Instructions: Use an elevated surface, such as a counter top, sturdy table, or a high backed chair (that won't move) as I'm doing in the photos. Place your hands shoulder width apart and walk your feet away so your body is at about a 45 degree angle. Pull in your stomach and bend your elbows straight back so they brush against your ribs. Lower your shoulders down to your hands as far as you can before pressing yourself back up to straight arms. A common mistake is letting your elbows wing out to the sides. If that's happening you may need to try an easier variation (like using a wall). Your hands should be in front of your armpits at the bottom, not by your neck or waist. To make easier: Do not bend as far down and/or use a higher surface or a wall. To make harder: Use a lower surface or do them from a kneeling position on the floor.


Day 9

FRONT LEG LIFTS What it strengthens: Hip flexors (front of hips), quads, glutes, abs Cassandra's Note: Your hip flexor muscles (made up of the iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius, tensor fasciae latae, adductor longus and brevis, pectineus, and gracilis, if you care to know) help stabilize the hips and lower body, keep your pelvis and lumbar spine strong (your lower back), and connects movements between your legs and torso. Keeping these strong (and flexible) goes a long way to keep away back/hip pain and helping you maintain balance and proper posture. Instructions: Stand tall and to the side of something you can hold on to for balance, like the back of a chair or counter top. Keeping one leg straight and rooted to the ground, lift the other leg straight in front of you as high as you can without bending your standing leg or back and without leaning back. Do not swing the leg! Lift, hold a moment if you can, and return to start with control. Repeat all reps on one leg before switching to the other side. To make easier: Don't lift your leg as high. To make harder: Lift your leg higher and/or pause at the top for longer.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

MODIFIED WINDMILL What it strengthens: Obliques, abs, lower back Cassandra's Note: This is a great way to work the abs and lower back while standing, which is really nice if doing floor exercises are not comfortable or possible for you. Instructions: Stand with feet wider than hip width apart. Lift one arm above your head with your fingers pointed to the ceiling. The hand above your head will point at the ceiling throughout the movement. Take your other hand and place it on the side of your leg. Without leaning forward or backward (pretend you are squeezed between two panes of glass), keep your abs tight and slide your hand down your leg as far as you can, squeeze a moment, then slowly return to start. Do both sides. To make easier: Keep both hands at your sides and/or alternate from left to right instead of doing all one side and then the other and/or do not bend as far. To make harder: Bend further and/or hold the bend for a few breaths before straightening and/or add a weight in either upper or lower hand or in both.


Day 9

PLANK UPS What it strengthens: Abs, back, shoulders Cassandra's Note: You can count on me to like just about any plank variation, but I really like this one because it's a good entry-level plank. Planks are amazing for your core and do wonders for your posture, so they are worth your while! Instructions: Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched out and prop yourself up on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders. Make sure you keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Curl your toes under and contract every muscle you can to lift your hips off the floor so that your body becomes a straight line from head to heels (the plank position). Concentrate on pulling your belly button in the entire time. Squeeze all the muscles you can then slowly lower back down to start. Repeat for your goal number of repetitions. Be careful not to disengage your abs and let your hips sag more than necessary as it can aggravate the back. When in doubt, stick your butt up in the air a tiny bit. To make easier: Keep your knees on the ground to make it a modified plank up (like the set of pictures on the right). If this exercise bothers your back at all, first make sure you’re pulling your abs in, but if you want to substitute this exercise, swap it out for Hovering Knees, which is detailed on my website in the GIF exercise library. To make harder: Hold the plank position for longer before lowering.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

THUMBS UP What it strengthens: Mid-back, back of shoulders Cassandra's Note: This is one of my favorite posture exercises. Any time you’re strengthening your back muscles, you’re simultaneously stretching your chest, which are two things we really need to do to build great posture. Because we do these lying on the floor, they’re a very risk free option and safe for just about everyone. Instructions: Lie face down on your mat with your forehead resting on a towel, small pillow, or the rolled up end of your mat. This will keep your neck aligned and allow you to breathe easier. Extend your arms out to the side like the letter ‚T‛ and turn your thumbs up toward the ceiling. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to lift your thumbs up as high as you can, hold for a moment at the top, then lower down with control. Repeat! To make easier: Don’t lift higher than you feel comfortable and/or do fewer repetitions and/or start with bent arms that are closer to your body and work your way up to extending them to fully straight. To make harder: You could hold light weights, like water bottles, in your hands and/or hold for longer at the top and/or do more repetitions.


Day 9

GLUTE BRIDGE What it strengthens: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back (the ‚posterior chain‛) Cassandra's Note: This is another one of those exercises that you can modify endlessly to accommodate everyone's needs. I love this exercise for anyone, but especially those with lower back or knee problems. I do a glute bridge variation in every one of my workouts. Instructions: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Place your hands on the floor by your sides and away from your body a bit to give some side to side support. Press into your heels and squeeze your butt to lift your hips off the floor and into a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Your head stays down and relaxed as the weight of your torso moves to your upper back, not your neck. Squeeze what your mama gave you (your butt) then slowly lower back down to start. To make harder: Hold at the top of the movement for longer and/or do more repetitions and/or try to get your hips as high as you can each time.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

ABDOMINAL TOE TAPS What it strengthens: Abs, hip flexors Cassandra's Note: This is a gentle, effective exercise that targets your deep core muscles. Exercises like this help to activate your core and train you to use it more effectively. Instructions: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides. Tighten your abs to pull your hips back towards you and flatten your lower back against the floor (like the Pelvic Tilt). Lift one leg at a time so your knees are above your hips and your ankles are level with your knees (90 degree angle in knees). Keep your abs pulled in like this the entire time so your back does not lift up. Maintain the angle in your knee and lower one foot toward the ground without moving anything else and return. Lower the other leg in the same manner to complete one repetition (top photos). To make harder: If you want more of a challenge, try lifting your head and shoulders off the ground with your head supported by your hands (without tucking your chin to your chest or bringing your elbows forward) to engage your abs from top to bottom (bottom set of photos).


Day 9 Are you ready to begin? Let's do it!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 9 Were you able to hold your squat for as long as you thought? I bet you're even stronger than you think! Keep track in your notes of how long you were able to hold the squat and the RPE of each exercise so you can improve on it next time. What did you think of the new exercises? They should feel a little more challenging, but manageable. You might feel a new muscle or two in the next couple of days, but hopefully nothing too bad. You did a great job, I'm really proud of you! Keep up the great work!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! We store energy in the form of glycogen in our muscles which is comprised of 3 parts water to 1 part glucose. Because of the need to store more of it in our muscles when we're strength training, it can manifest as water weight. Don't be alarmed! Fluctuations in weight between 2-4 pounds are normal during any given day.


Day 10 Welcome to Day 10! Today I want to continue our discussion about calories from Day 8 and discuss where we get the calories from and how not all calories are equal. To be safe, I'm going to assume you don't know the first thing about nutrition and start from the ground up. Time to get back to school!

NUTRITION 101 What is food made of? We are what we eat, so the right foods are going to be made of the same things that we are. You can boil those things down to protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Protein, carbohydrates (carbs), and fat are called macronutrients and vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. For now, we'll focus on the macronutrients.

MACRONUTRIENTS These are the nutrients that provide calories for energy and are needed in large quantities (macro = large) and include protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Sometimes people include water, which is a nutrient and we do need it in large quantities, but it is doesn't have any calories, so I'm going to leave that for another day. Alcohol is another nutrient that provides calories but isn't a macronutrient because we do not need it (despite how some people may feel about it). Each nutrient provides a different number of calories per gram: • Carbohydrates - 4 calories per gram • Protein - 4 calories per gram • Alcohol - 7 calories per gram (worth mentioning) • Fat - 9 calories per gram It's handy to remember how many calories each nutrient delivers when you're looking at nutrition labels. If something says it contains 20 grams of protein, you know that 80 of the calories in that product are protein calories (20g x 4 calories each).

CARBOHYDRATES Despite the bad reputation carbohydrates have, we do need carbs! Depending on your goals, approximately 20% to 60% of your calories should come from carbohydrates (or for most people, about 50-200 grams per day).


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Why do we need carbohydrates? • They are the main source of fuel for our body, down to the cellular level. • Important for intestinal health and function (fiber). • Stored in the liver and muscles to use for quick energy when needed. • Needed for proper functioning of the nervous system, kidneys, brain, and muscles. Carbohydrates include simple carbs, complex carbs, and fiber. They are readily found in grains (bread, pasta, etc), fruits, vegetables, beans, and nearly everything you've ever craved. Some, like fruits and vegetables, are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Others, like candy, soda, and packaged cereals are mostly simple sugars with few other nutrients (hence the term ‚empty calories‛ you often hear associated with them). The bad reputation carbs have is because of their association with weight gain. Well, you read above that carbs are the main energy source for the body. If we eat just enough, our body uses them for what it needs and our body remains functioning normally at its current size. If we eat too many, our body will store the excess for later, namely as fat. The trick to eating carbohydrates is choosing high quality food sources instead of low quality food sources. You might think of these as "good carbs" and "bad carbs", but really, a carb's a carb, it's what they are in and accompanied by that determine the overall effect they will have. If you're trying to reduce the amount of body fat you have, you do not need extra energy, you need to expend more energy and eat less energy. This is where the logic comes from for low-carb diets. Don't get me wrong, reducing your carb intake is a great idea, but even more important is being pickier about where your carbs come from. If you don't eat any or enough carbs, your body won't just turn to your body fat for energy, it'll use your muscles too and that’s not good. So, again, we're looking at balance and not extremes. More about simple carbs: Foods high in simple carbs contain a lot of calories but virtually no fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, or anything else truly useful to the body. The foods we're talking about here things like ice cream, donuts, pastries, cookies, cakes, sodas, chips, pizza, and candies, to name a few. While we’re often told we should never eat these things, I wouldn’t say ‚never‛. However, it's important that you eat them as sparingly as possible. They take up room in your stomach that should be had by foods with more beneficial nutritional value and do not help you reach any health or wellness goal. 103

Day 10 If you must eat something with empty calories in it, then the least damaging time would be after you exercise. At that time, your body needs to replace the energy it just used anyway (stored as a compound called glycogen in your liver and muscle cells) and your body is in a more tolerant place. More about complex carbs: Foods high in complex carbs are far more beneficial to your body. Here's where we have our fruits, vegetables, brown rice, beans, lentils, whole grains, and so on. These carbs digest more slowly and contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You want to eat foods from this category to fill your carb quota as often as possible. Where simple carbohydrates digest quickly and leave you feeling hungry, complex carbs leave you feeling satisfied for much longer, helping you eat less overall. More about fiber: Fiber, aka roughage, is the indigestible portion of plant foods that help push everything through your digestive system, absorbing water along the way and easing bowel movements. Foods high in fiber include apples, pears, brans, beans, seeds, nuts, berries, and whole grains (basically all your high quality complex carb sources). Fiber recommendations for women are at least 25 grams a day and at least 38 grams for men. As we age, our digestive systems get a bit slower, so after age 50 it's recommended that women get about 21 grams of fiber per day and men get 30 grams. We accomplish this by aiming to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day as well as some other complex carb sources. Fiber is one of the main things that help us feel full. Also in that category is water, protein, and healthy fats. Speaking of which, let's move on to our other macronutrients.

PROTEIN Protein should make up anywhere from 15-50% of your total calorie intake. You'll find protein in meats, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, nuts, eggs, and even in small amounts in some vegetables and other plant sources. If you'd rather calculate a more specific amount, it is recommended you eat a minimum 0.4 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. If you are a growing child or teen, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are exercising regularly, you would need more like 0.55 grams per pound of bodyweight. If you're really active or an athlete, you might need as much as 0.9 grams per pound.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One I need at least __________ x 0.4 = ________ grams of protein every day. (your weight in pounds)

But more like __________ x 0.55 = ________ grams of protein every day. (your weight in pounds)

And as much as __________ x 0.9 = ________ grams of protein every day. (your weight in pounds)

What do proteins do? • Provides building blocks for tissue repair and growth. • Used for making hormones, enzymes, organs, bones, and hair. • Used as an energy source when carbohydrates aren't available. • Are crucial for the immune system as antibodies are made from protein. • Contributes to and preserves lean muscle mass. In order to meet our protein needs, it's recommended that you eat protein with every meal. I try to get about 100 grams of protein a day which is a lot of food! I couldn't eat all that at once if I wanted to and your body can only utilize a certain amount of protein in one sitting anyway, so spreading it out throughout the day is key. Our bodies don't store protein, so it's good to have a consistent supply so we always have the building blocks we need in our bloodstreams ready to go when we need them.

FATS Poor fats. They have a bad reputation because they're so calorie dense, but they play hugely important roles in our bodies and about 15-40% of our calories should come from fat. You'll find fat in oils, butter, meat, poultry, nuts, milk, cheese, fish, and salad dressings. What are fats for? • Excess energy is stored as fat in case of famine or illness to aid in our survival. • Essential for absorbing vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids. • Important for hormone regulation and normal growth and development. • Provides cushioning for the organs to prevent injury. • Insulate nerves to make bioelectric impulses possible. • Helps food both taste good and keep us full (satiety).


Day 10 There are three main types of fats: saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Saturated and trans fats are linked to heart disease and we should try to avoid these whenever possible. Unsaturated fats are the "healthy fats" you hear about, so emphasize these whenever possible. More about saturated fats: Saturated fats are found mostly in meat (less so in poultry and fish than red meat), butter, cream, and cheeses. These are easy to spot because they're solid at room temperature. Saturated fats can raise your cholesterol levels, so try to stick with the leaner meats (poultry and fish) and minimize your intake of butter, cheese, and the like. More about trans fats: Yuck, frankenfats. These are lab-made nasties that have been consistently shown to cause heart disease, so avoid these at all costs. They are the food industry's solution for increasing shelf life and are found in processed foods, chips, cookies, crackers, margarine, and anything that uses the word "hydrogenated", partial or otherwise, on the label. More about unsaturated fats: There are two types of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. These fats are liquid at room temperature and are primarily derived from plant sources. You might think of these as "healthy" fats because they improve your cholesterol levels by lowering you "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels and raising your "good" (HDL) cholesterol levels. They also calm inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and prevent heart disease. Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive, peanut, and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fats are made up of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and are found in flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, anchovies, herring, Pacific oysters, trout, and in safflower, sunflower, canola, and sesame oils. Omega-3 fats are especially important, so it is recommended you eat fish 2-3 times a week to ensure you get enough of them. Phew, ok! Let's digest all that information during our cardio workout for today, shall we?


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! When you're working on eating healthier, it can be helpful to think of what you're adding, not what you're taking away. Focusing on adding more fruits and vegetables is a great place to start. By simply doing that, you will automatically eat less unhealthy foods as you're fuller, feeling better, and focused on healthy changes. Healthy habits beget other healthy habits! Too often, we look at eating healthfully as leading a life of deprivation, but it doesn't have to feel that way. Look at this time as a chance to be adventurous and try new foods. You will find things you enjoy, I promise. Our palates adjust to what we’re used to, so if you become used to eating healthy, foods will taste better and your preferences will adjust accordingly.


Day 10 How was your walk? How far did you make it? Was it further than before? Have you found some places you enjoy going to? Did you walk for longer than you had to? My husband and I love to find new routes through our neighborhood when we go on walks together. I also have specific places I head to when I want to get in a certain length run or walk. For example, if I’m aiming for a 5k (3.1 miles), there’s a route I travel from my front door to a nearby park and back that’s exactly that length. There’s another park by my house that has a sidewalk loop that’s exactly 2/3 of a mile, so I can pick and choose how long I walk or run by counting my laps around it.


Day 11

THE BENEFITS OF BODYWEIGHT TRAINING When it comes to strength training, I feel that starting with bodyweight is best. It's a good thing to gain basic mastery of your own body before you attach appendages to it. If this sounds logical, then we're on the same page! Exercising with bodyweight has some definite advantages: • • •

• •

• • • •

• •


It's free! You already own all the equipment you need. You can do it just about anywhere. With workouts this convenient, you'll be sure to stay on track! Since you can do bodyweight workouts almost anywhere, you can do them outside! Connecting with nature is very important for your mental well-being and exercising outside can be extra inspiring and fun. Since you're not fiddling with any equipment you can transition quickly from one move to the next for quicker, more efficient workouts. You can easily combine cardio and strength training. By moving quickly from one move to the next, you increase heart rate and burn more calories. It's like getting two workouts in one! Because you're moving your own bodyweight, each move is already customized to your body, helping you work at your current level safely. Bodyweight exercises are easily modified to continue challenging you at any fitness level. You and the movements evolve together! Bodyweight exercises tend to be more functional, meaning they help you successfully and safely do your day to day activities. Because you're using your own available range of motion to do each exercise, bodyweight exercises are very beneficial for increasing flexibility safely. Bodyweight exercises provide limitless variety, so you won't get bored! For example, there are over 100 different plank variations. I've counted. Better, faster results can be gained through bodyweight training since most of the exercises are compound moves (using multiple joints and muscle groups). More muscles means more calories are burned which means more results! Working with your body connects you to your physical self like nothing else. You and your body are a team and every movement you do leads to a deeper awareness of your body and, I hope, a deeper appreciation.

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Personally, for most of my exercising life, I have trained almost exclusively with my own bodyweight. Some people like to brag they can bench press so-and-so pounds and to them I would ask, "but can you do a handstand push-up?" The possibilities for working with your body are really limitless. Skim over the cheat sheet to remind yourself what we're doing today. If you have any doubt about any of the exercises just refer back to their descriptions. Soon you'll be a pro!


Day 11


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 11 Are you already feeling more at home with these exercises too? Great! With repetition comes comfort and confidence, so keep up the great work!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Remember: there are 168 hours in every week and it only takes a few of them to change your life. Even if you're exercising for 30 minutes every single day, that's still only 2% of your whole week! That 2% makes the other 98% more productive, enjoyable, and worthwhile. You can do it!


Day 12

CASSANDRA'S GROCERY GUIDELINES There’s an art to shopping at the grocery store. Here are some guidelines to help you streamline your process. Plan your meals in advance. Sit down with your family once a week and figure out your meals for the week. When you go to the store, you’ll already know what to get and how much. After awhile you should settle into a rhythm. Decide on an array of meats/protein sources and vegetables so you can crock pot, stir fry, omelet, and sear your way to a healthy week. Planning reduces spoilage since you buy only what you are actually going to eat and reduces stress during the week because you've already thought your meals through. Shop the perimeter of the store. Where are all the healthy foods kept? Mostly in the refrigerators right? Why? Because real food spoils. Where are the refrigerators and produce section, typically speaking? Around the perimeter of the store! If it's in an aisle, it’s likely been chemically tampered with so it doesn't spoil. Exceptions may include canned tuna, beans, nuts, and so on, but, in general, the stuff in the aisles is not what you want to fill your cart with. Stick to the perimeter! Expect to go to the grocery store at least once a week. You'll probably need to do one big trip to get most of your food and at least one other supplemental trip a few days later to refresh a few things (like fresh fruits and vegetables). Since you've already thought your meals through and don't shop in the aisles anymore, your trips will be much faster and more efficient than before. Get fruits and veggies frozen as well as fresh. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great, if they really are fresh (like if you got them from a local farmer's market the day after picking). Often though, they were picked, then transported, then stored, then stocked before you picked them out of the grocery store. Produce starts to lose its nutritional value as soon as it's picked, so you want to eat it as close to the time of picking as possible. Frozen options are generally picked then frozen soon after, preserving nutrients. You can also stockpile them, which is a beautiful thing if you hate shopping. I love vegetable steamer bags because even I (laziest cook ever) can do that and have several servings of veggies in minutes. 116

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Choose organic when you can. I delayed getting on the organic bandwagon for a long time figuring it was a gimmick to charge more money. After I did the research though, I was converted. It is pricier, but I feel it's worth the cost if you can manage it. Personally, I want to vote with my dollars for better farming practices, less chemicals in food, and for food that has more nutrients. Plus, you can get out and support local farmers by shopping at your local produce markets which is stimulating to your local economy (bonus!). If you can't, make sure you're getting a variety of fruits and vegetables and try to stick to what's in season. We truly are what we eat so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake! Eat the rainbow. The different colors in fruits and vegetables are because of their different nutritional makeup. Ideally, every day you would eat at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable from each of the five color categories (red, orange/yellow, green, blue/purple, white/brown). One day might look like: a tomato, an orange, a cup of spinach, some blueberries, and cauliflower. Getting a variety of colors means you're getting a variety of nutrients. Bring a list with you. Don't impulse buy. If you can keep your willpower strong at the store, then you won't have to spend every minute of every day keeping it strong at home. The biggest reason I don't eat much junk food is because I put the barrier of access between me and it. It's just not there, therefore I can't eat it! Avoid foods with ingredients you can't pronounce. Also, avoid foods with artificial anything in them as much as possible. Generally, be suspicious of anything with more than five ingredients, unless you actually know what they are. Eat. Real. Food. Avoid foods that you see on television. Have you ever noticed which foods are in TV commercials? Think about it. When was the last time you saw a commercial for apples? Exactly. Most, if not all, foods that are advertised on TV are incredibly bad for you. Those companies aren't looking out for your health; they just want your business. Don't fall for it!


Day 12 Here is what your trip to the grocery store should look like now: • Produce: Load up on a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Remember that each person in your home should be eating 5+ servings of fruits and veggies a day. • Meat: Get a variety including sausage, turkey, chicken, pork, ground beef, and fish. Stick to the leaner meats whenever possible (avoid beef). • Aisles: If you're a vegetarian (or not), it's time to brave the aisles and stock up on good plant-based sources of protein like lentils, hemp and chia seeds, quinoa, and beans. • Grains (optional): Quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, etc. Watch out for hidden high fructose corn syrup in breads. Remember the guidelines! • Frozen foods: Frozen fruits (great for smoothies) and vegetables. You can't go wrong with a good stir fry mix! • Dairy section: Get your eggs and dairy products. Greek yogurt, grassfed butter, nut milks, and cottage cheese are good options. This is probably a big change for you, but nothing changes unless you do! Don't try to build Rome in a day, just work on one thing at a time. There’s a grocery list on page 244 to help make your life a little easier. Phew! All these dietary habits we're trying to build are starting to make the workouts look easy! Speaking of, isn't it time for some cardio?

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Marketing works. For example, did you know that the primary reason most people feel that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is because of a 1944 marketing campaign led by General Foods to sell more cereal? When and what you eat is highly personal to you. I believe it's more important to eat when you're hungry than to eat on a schedule. Personally, I usually eat small meals throughout the day as I become hungry. Unless I'm going out to eat, it's rare for me to eat what you might consider a full meal. My father rarely eats before noon and eats one or two full meals before he's done for the day. Everyone is different. I think as long as you're eating good quality foods and not getting too many or too few calories, you're better off listening to your body and doing what works for you.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

How are your walks feeling? Is it getting easier? We’re going to keep making our walks a teensy bit longer every time so we build up our endurance. Adding a little bit more work every time you exercise is a great way to make sure you keep progressing.


Day 12


Day 13

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSISTENCY The best workout in the world won't do you any good if you're not doing it often enough to stimulate change. Following this book day by day is definitely your best bet for ensuring consistency, but even then, the struggle can be real. It's really common to start off super pumped and go all in on a new diet or a new workout routine and find yourself starting to fizzle out (like, say, 13 days into your newfound mission). So how do we remain consistent if we feel our enthusiasm flagging? Choosing a realistic amount of exercise is definitely key. We're starting off with only eight exercises in these workouts to help make it easier for us to build the habit. When we're ready, we can always sprinkle in a few extra exercises. Choosing a doable number of days to exercise is also key. I'll admit, for some of you we're starting off a little on the ambitious side by aiming for three strength training days and three cardio days per week. However, we are making up for this in length as hopefully you are able to complete your strength training workouts in about 45 minutes or less and your walks/cardio workouts in around 30 minutes. Some days are busier than other days and if you wanted to do your cardio and strength on the same day to make up for a missed workout, you certainly could. Avoid all or nothing thinking. Don't feel that if you can't do the whole thing you may as well not do it at all. If you only have time for a 10 minute walk, it's better than no walk at all. If you have to do a quickie workout, it's better than no workout at all. Look forward to how good you'll feel for sticking with your workouts. Not only are you getting feel-good endorphins from working out, but your sense of accomplishment and belief that you can do it grows with every session. Review your S.M.A.R.T. goals. How are you doing on those? Were they too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? Would you like to change them? As I've said, this is a journey, so you can reevaluate at any time to make sure you're still heading in the direction you want to be heading in. Do you have reasons or do you have excuses? We can always rationalize not exercising if we really want to, but is it valid (a reason) or rubbish (an excuse)? Make the decision to do the right thing in advance and limit how much you debate with yourself about doing it. If you're thinking, you're not doing!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Just keep moving forward. Fell off the horse? Get back on! Too tired? Just do something, anything, and see if you don't perk up a bit (you may be surprised). Are you on vacation? These exercises could all be done just about anywhere. Remind yourself what you want and why. Your actions are your choice. Let yourself feel empowered by the fact that this is all your decision. Why did you pick up this book and start reading? Imagine your life when you've achieved your goals. In other words, keep your eye on the prize! We'll chat more about that tomorrow, but for now put on those big-kid panties and get going!


Day 13


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 13 I love that you're still going strong! Remember this feeling for the next time you're feeling a little under-motivated. I'll see you tomorrow for another well-earned rest day!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! If you know how many repetitions you're aiming for, try counting backward during your sets. Studies have shown that focusing on the dwindling number of how many you have left is more motivating than focusing on an increasing number of how many you've done.


Day 14 We've added movement into our lives and we've begun tweaking our food intake. Now, we must add the mind. It seems so obvious to me and yet I'm always amused and surprised by how much is in our heads. Of course, right? Your body only goes where you mind leads. All of your decisions, beliefs, habits, and everything else that goes into whether or not you exercise or eat this or that all starts up there. So, where do we begin? At your decision to start, of course!

HOW READY ARE YOU? There's this nifty model that describes the stages we go through when we are modifying behavior: the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) or the Stages of Change. It's like a roadmap to success and each stage is a signpost telling you where you are in the process. People often try to force themselves to be ready to change when they simply aren't. Subsequently, they fail. I don't want this to happen to you! We're going to become aware of this process we're going through and some coping strategies for each stage to give ourselves the best possible shot at success. Change is not linear, it's a cycle. In order to successfully change, you might go through this cycle several times. In the TTM, there are 6 stages and each has its own coping strategies and tools. You can move forward or backward from one stage to another or spend years in just one, it's up to you. Let's take a look:


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

STAGE 1: PRE-CONTEMPLATION These are the folks with no intention of changing anything at all about their behavior in about the next six months or so. They may not even think they have a behavior to change. Because of this, they resist change and if they are forced to change, they will quickly revert and go back to their old ways at their first opportunity. A common feeling in this stage is hopelessness. Sometimes there have been previous unsuccessful attempts to change and they end up demoralized and frustrated at the prospect of change. Sometimes they are simply uninformed about the risks of their behavior or don't know change is possible. Often, they underestimate the pros of change and overestimate the cons. If someone gave you this book as a gift, you could be in this stage. You may not have even gotten this far. If you have, please keep reading! Strategies for this stage: • Education about the risks of a behavior and the benefits of changing it. • Explore the cons and brainstorm ways to minimize or eliminate them. • Believe that change is possible and find support. Questions to ask: • What do you like about the way things are now? • Is there anything not so good about this current behavior? • How would you compare your behavior to that of others?

STAGE 2: CONTEMPLATION People in this stage are aware they have a problem and have some sort of an intention to do something about it in the next six months. However, people in this stage are mostly on the fence about change. They are equally aware of the pros and cons and are stuck in the middle, commonly feeling ambivalent. This stage can drag on for years as people waffle back and forth between whether to take action or stay the same. Strategies for this stage: • Reinforce the pros/weaken the cons to shake ambivalence in favor of change. • Use affirmations to increase self-efficacy (the confidence in the ability to exert control over one's own motivation and behavior) and to motivate internally. • Consider a trial period of change to see if it can inspire commitment. 129

Day 14 Questions to ask: • Do you want to be the kind of person who has this healthy behavior? • Imagine if you made this change, how would you feel about yourself? • What good things would happen if you did make the change? • How does your behavior now affect your loved ones?

STAGE 3: PREPARATION Now we're getting somewhere! These folks intend to take action within the next month. Small steps toward change are underway such as talking to their doctor about what they intend to do, making plans for meeting with a trainer, or scheduling a trip to the store to get a book to help (wink, wink). A common feeling here is determination. Before now, temptation to give in to old behaviors would have out-weighed the person's belief they could resist. Now, the gap between temptation and adherence closes. Lapses may happen when temptation wins. Strategies for this stage: • Make the intention to change public to garner positive reinforcement and social support, strengthening commitment and self-efficacy. • Develop a specific plan of action so action is possible; include a timeline. • Identify future barriers (birthday parties, holidays, possible lack of funds, increased family/job demands, etc) and have plans in place to overcome them. Questions to ask: • What strategies have worked for you or people you know in the past? • What would have to be different for you to be successful?

STAGE 4: ACTION It is clear to everyone around them when people enter this stage. In the previous six months they have visibly modified their behaviors, surroundings, and circumstances. However, because this stage requires the greatest commitment of time and energy, lapses are a real danger. The common feeling here is focused. If you've been following along with this book so far and managing to do most of what it says: you are in the action stage! You will remain in the action stage for about six months before you move to the next stage. Lapses don’t start the clock over. As long as you’re working at it, you are completing the requirements of this stage. 130

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Strategies for this stage: • Seek out as much internal and external positive reinforcement as possible; use social support to help sustain changes. • Recognizes lapses and work toward gaining insights and knowledge that increase the time between lapses; prevent relapse or collapse. • Focus on progress and not perfection. • Remove cues of old behaviors (i.e. get rid of junk food in the house) and use cues to engage in the new behavior (i.e. walking shoes by the door). Questions to ask: • How confident do you feel that you can continue to make positive changes? • What’s been a common trigger and how will you overcome it next time?

STAGE 5: MAINTENANCE STAGE Once you've held onto the action stage for about six months, you've reached the maintenance stage. In this stage, which lasts up to about five years, relapse prevention is the name of the game. After about one year, your risk of relapse becomes substantially less. After two years, you can't imagine going back. After about five years, the change is considered permanent, the cycle ends, and you can move to other areas of growth. The feeling common in this stage is confidence. Don't get too cocky though! Maintenance requires active alertness so as to not backslide. However, you'll find your old temptations are nearly gone by now and your confidence is high that these changes are now permanent. The pros vastly outweigh the cons. Strategies for this stage: • Affirm your resolve and ability to keep these new changes. • Maintain contact with your supporters, spend time with people who share your new lifestyle, and limit contact with people who are less than helpful. • Take on new challenges to avoid boredom. Questions to ask: • What attitudes, beliefs, and actions have you undertaken to make you successful? • What do you see will be your challenges in making this permanent? • How will you maintain all that you've worked for if a major life event happens? 131

Day 14

STAGE 6: TERMINATION As I've said, you've reached the termination stage after about two to five years of maintenance. The new behavior is completely integrated and you no longer have to think of the behavior as something you do; it's who are you. At this point, many people often continue to grow and add new challenges to achieve higher levels of success. The common feeling here is fulfillment. Even if you are bored, stressed, or depressed, you will not return to your previous behaviors to help you cope. You are beyond all that now and self-efficacy is at an all time high. To be fair, 100% termination in diet or exercise is pretty unrealistic, so I'd like to return to our 80/20 rule. I think if you've been right on more than 80% of the time through the maintenance phase, you've arrived! It's one thing to say you quit smoking and never had another cigarette (true termination), but we have to eat and exercise our entire lives! So, termination here is more about achieving a more effortless level of maintenance. Strategies for this stage: • Enjoy the new life you have created for yourself and keep growing! Questions to ask: • What are some ways you can use your new skills? I’d recommend sitting down with a pen and paper or computer (or whatever works for you) and answer the questions for the stage of readiness that you’re in. Jot down ideas and notes about your journey so far and where you want it to take you. Do you recognize the stages you’ve been through? Does the cycle make sense? Does it give you a sense of hope that this is a totally normal process that everyone goes through? Can you recognize how this cycle applies to others? Great job again and enjoy the rest of your day off!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Every pound of muscle you have burns an extra 6-7 calories per day while at rest. It may not sound like much, but it would only take an additional 1.5 pounds of muscle to burn the equivalent of a pound of fat every year. Not bad for just hanging out!


Day 15

LAPSE, RELAPSE, COLLAPSE There is another way we can leave the cycle. It's not pretty, but it happens to all of us in some measure, so don't be too hard on yourself! These times can be very temporary, lasting only moments, or can become a more long-lasting abandonment of change. Whatever the case may be, re-entry back into the stages of change is completely possible at any time, regardless of how badly you may have fallen.

LAPSE A lapse is a little slip. You ate something you told yourself you wouldn't or missed your workout. Whoops. This happens to everyone, so don't make the mistake of thinking, "Crap, I missed my workout! Oh well, all is lost, straight back to my old ways." This is like saying, "Well, I scratched my car, so I may as well just push it off a cliff!" Right? That's just silly! Catastrophizing will only make matters worse, so cut the drama and get back on that horse! Recognize it for what it is; a temporary and passing problem. You do not change what stage you are in because of a lapse. Remind yourself of the coping strategies at the stage of change you are in and keep on keeping on.

RELAPSE Relapses happen when you start stringing lapses together. You missed your workout the other day and again yesterday and again today. When this happens, you can sometimes slip into a different stage of change. For example, you may have been exercising in the action phase, suffered an illness, and lost your momentum to go back, leaving you in the preparation stage instead. Getting back into the action phase will likely require some of the same things it took to get you there the first time. It takes a little more effort than recovering from just one lapse, but at least you know what to do now!

COLLAPSE When your relapses spiral out of control to the point where there is little hope of getting back on track, collapse is the result. Getting up after a collapse can be painful. You're a little bruised and you get up limping. After you lick your wounds and heal though, you will be all the stronger for round two (or three or four). You never go back to square one because you can never go back to being the person you used to be again. You get to have "I-know-too-muchto-go-back" syndrome just like me! 134

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One All of this is a natural part of the change process. None of this means failure; only quitting means failure. You are never irredeemable or out of control. Let me finish up with a few strategies for you to aid you on your journey then let's meditate on it on a heart-pumping walk! Warning signs that you may be about to relapse and what to do about it: • Your favorite junk food is in the pantry and you can't stop thinking about it.  Distract yourself from your temptation long enough to break the cycle of obsessive thoughts. Head out for a walk, leave the house, or start cleaning, but get your mind off of it. •

You feel you have no outlet for stress or anxiety.  Remind yourself of your coping strategies. You do have positive outlets and options available to you. Don't fall back into old patterns, but use new ones! Reach out for help if you need it.

You find yourself engaging in negative self-talk or encouraging yourself to quit.  First, become aware that you’re doing this. Second, catch yourself doing it and stop yourself the moment it happens. Third, turn your thought into a positive one. For example, "This is too hard and I can't do it" could become, "I'm working very hard on this."

You're starting to blame external forces for your difficulties in maintaining or growing.  Of all the disempowering thoughts you can have, this one is the beast. To slay it, you must accept the fact that you and only you have absolute power over your life. External forces only govern what happens to you if you let them. If you give your power over to someone or something, then of course you will lapse/relapse/or collapse because you have given your ability to change away. Take and keep control over your own life. No one else is living your life, just you, so don't let anyone or anything stand in the way of your growth.

During any of these scenarios it's important to ask yourself: • What situation led me to having a lapse/relapse/collapse? • What did I learn from this setback? • How can I prevent the lapse/relapse/collapse next time? • What did I do in the past that helped me make positive changes? • What's the first step I can take to getting back on target? 135

Day 15

We’re really making progress on our mileage! Great work, once again! I hope you’re continuing to do your stretches after your walks. If you’ve been consistent about your stretching, you’re probably really noticing some improvements by now! Have you been having less pain? Sleeping better? What else have you noticed?

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Longer, moderately-paced walks (i.e. 40 minutes at 60-65% of your maximum heart rate) are best for losing weight. Shorter, faster walks (i.e. 20-25 minutes at 75-85% of your maximum heart rate) are best for conditioning your heart and lungs. Doing intervals of fast and slow while you’re walking helps both!


Day 16

YOUR WEEK 3 WORKOUT Here we are! A new set of exercises for you to sink your teeth into! As we must, we're moving towards progressively more challenging variations so we can keep our improvements coming. Don't be discouraged if you find them to be challenging, because that is the whole point! Do what you can do, not what you can't do! Before we meet the new exercises, I wanted to squeeze in a quick topic that I think it's good to keep in mind: the difference between hunger and appetite. Becoming aware of the difference can keep you from overeating and eating things that don't support your goals. Hunger: The need to eat. It's the empty, rumbling feeling in your stomach that, if you ignore for too long, may leave you shaky, weak, or with a headache. It's physiological, not psychological, and essential for survival. Appetite: The desire to eat. It includes cravings and eating habits and is often emotional in nature. It can be ignored and is a learned behavior that can be controlled. Tips to identify true hunger and prevent over-eating: • Ask yourself if you're really just thirsty. Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Drink some water, wait a bit, and see how you feel. • Are you tired? Hormone levels shift around if you've been awake for too long and we'll often start craving carbohydrate filled foods. I can feel the exact moment when this happens! If so, go to bed! • Are you bored? Don't look to food to keep you occupied. Go for a walk, read a book, or engage in some other positive activity instead. • Are you craving only unhealthy foods? When you're hungry, any food sounds good, but when it's appetite, you feel like you need pizza, but you don't. • Have you eaten in the last few hours? If you're truly hungry again, focus on eating meals filled with healthy fat, fiber, and protein to help you feel satisfied for longer. • Give your hunger a rating from 1 to 10 (1 being not hungry at all and 10 being extremely hungry) and only eat when you get above a 7 or 8. • Don't starve yourself. If you do, you're more likely to snap and eat up anything and everything in sight. Focus on making healthier food choices and there will be no need to ever go hungry! 138

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One •

Eat more slowly and wait at least 20 minutes to give your body a chance to feel full then stop eating! If you're unbuttoning the top button on your jeans after a meal then you've gone too far. Eat more mindfully. If you're watching TV or are otherwise not paying attention to what you're eating, you will very likely overeat. Pay attention to and appreciate your food as you're eating it and you will feel fuller and more satisfied. A related tip I have here is if you’re going to mindlessly eat, it may as well be something like baby carrots or grapes. You’re really not paying attention anyway right?


Day 16

WEEK 3 EXERCISES STATIONARY LUNGE What it strengthens: Primarily quads and glutes with help from hamstrings, calves, and core Cassandra's Note: We made it to our first lunge! Lunges have many functional benefits (balance, strength) as well as aesthetic ones (more muscle tone and size as well as a higher and tighter butt). Even though I know they can be tough, the benefits are proportional to the work! Instructions: While standing, take a big step forward so your legs are about two feet apart front-to-back and about hip width apart. Your back heel will lift off the ground and most of your weight will be in your front leg. Bend your back knee down to the floor right beneath your hip. If your knee is right under your hip at the bottom, your feet are the correct distance apart. If not, make adjustments now. Both knees will bend to as much as 90 degrees, with your front knee behind your front toe and both knees and toes facing forward. Think up and down, not forward. Press up to start and repeat. Do all reps on one side and then all reps on the other side. To make it easier: Hold onto something, like a chair, rail, or countertop to help with your balance and/or do not bend as far and/or do less repetitions. To make it harder: Go slower and/or do more repetitions.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

PUSH-UP WITH ROTATION What it strengthens: Triceps, shoulders, chest, abs, back Cassandra's Note: Because of the twisting and balancing on one arm involved, this push-up really engages your core, increases your coordination, and adds a beneficial stability challenge to your shoulders. Instructions: This is done just like the Wide Grip Push-up, but with a twist (literally). Perform your push-up and on the way up, shift your weight to one arm as you lift the other arm out to the side (making your body a T-shape). Pull your shoulder blades together and reach your arm out and back as far as comfortable following your hand with your eyes, then rotate back to start. On your next rep, rotate to the other side. Each push-up is one repetition (don’t count each rotation). Move with control. To make easier: Do not bend elbows as far and/or use a higher surface or wall. To make harder: Use a lower surface or do them on the floor.


Day 16

PLIE SQUAT What it strengthens: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, inner thighs, lower back, abs Cassandra's Note: Time to feel like a ballerina! Plies incorporate your inner thighs, an important but generally disregarded area. This exercise helps you with healthy hips, knees, and perky glutes. Instructions: From standing, step your feet about double hip width apart with your toes out at about 45 degree angles. Keep your abs pulled in, chest up, and back straight as you bend your knees out at the same angle as your toes. Drop your butt down as low as you can then "zip" your inner thighs back together as you press back up to standing. Do not lean forward or backward. To make easier: Don't bend as low and/or hold on to something for balance. To make harder: Bend lower and/or slower and/or hold at the bottom.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

BENT OVER I RAISE What it strengthens: Legs, abs, entire back, back of shoulders Cassandra's Note: I'd put this exercise in the category of "my favorite posture fixers". I also like that it works nearly your entire body. Instructions: With your feet under your hips, sit back into a static (not moving) squat with your hips back, back flat (so important), abs tight, and knees behind toes. Keep this position the entire time. If you get tired at any time, stand back up and relax for a few moments before resuming your repetitions. Lift your straight arms up in front of you and over your head coming up next to your ears. Contract your upper back and shoulders to reach as high up and back as you can. Squeeze everything then lower your arms to start. Lather, rinse, repeat! Notice how my entire body's position is almost identical from picture to picture below. Make it so! To make easier: Do not bend over as far and/or lift your arms as high and/or use one arm to support yourself on your knee as the other lifts then switch places to do the other side. To make harder: Try to make your torso as parallel to the ground as you can without any pain in your lower back and/or hold the position at the top for longer before returning and/or add light weights (like water bottles).


Day 16

STATIC PLANK What it strengthens: Primarily the core (abs, back, torso) and shoulders Cassandra's Note: Planks are one of my favorite things. They're simple, they have lots of variations, you can do them anywhere, and they are hugely beneficial to do. Doing the plank is better for your core than most exercises because you do it in a "good posture" position, which is very translatable to real life. Most of the time when we're using our core, it's in a position like this, not bending in half as when doing crunches, for example. Instructions: Start in a push-up position with your weight on your hands and the balls of your feet. Your body will be in a straight line from head to heels and shoulders will be down and away from your ears. Don't let your hips sink towards the floor. Squeeze your entire body, breathe normally, and hold for as long as you can. Time to see if those Plank Ups paid off! To make easier: You can start on an elevated surface like with push-ups and/or from a modified position on the knees and/or hold in bouts of 5-10 seconds. To make harder: Do it on your forearms (bottom photo) and/or hold longer.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

BIRD DOG What it strengthens: Nearly the entire body but primarily your back, abs, shoulders, hamstrings, and glutes. Cassandra's Note: This is one of my favorite core exercises! Anything that's challenging for your balance is great for your core. This exercise is a classic for good reason. It’s also one of the top exercises for fixing back problems. Instructions: Start by kneeling on the floor with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Keep your head, neck, and back straight. Pull your abs in and lift one arm and the opposite leg straight out and away from your body to about torso level. Press through the heel of the foot and extend away with your hand to engage the entire backside before lowering back to start and repeating on the other side. The main trick to keeping your balance is to keep your shoulders and hips facing the floor at all times. To make easier: You can separate the movements as follows: lift only one arm, then the other arm, then one leg, then the other leg. To make harder: Hold at the top for several seconds before lowering and/or do all repetitions on one side before you do the other (instead of alternating).


Day 16

GLUTE BRIDGE MARCH What it strengthens: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back, hip flexors, abs Cassandra's Note: I love to combine exercises whenever it makes sense to do so and here is a good example. We get to work the back and front of our legs at the same time, core, and get a better challenge from the Glute Bridge. Instructions: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Place your hands on the floor at an angle away from your sides for support. Press into your heels and squeeze your butt to lift your hips off the floor and into a straight line from shoulders to knees. Your head stays down and relaxed as the weight of your torso moves to your upper back, not your neck. Stabilize with your core to stay in this position the entire time as you bring one knee up towards your chest, squeeze, and return. Repeat on the other side to complete the rep. I count this by saying, "1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc". To make easier: Rest by putting your butt down between repetitions and/or do not lift your knee as high. To make harder: Hold your marching leg up for a few seconds before you lower it and/or go slower and/or do more repetitions.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

OBLIQUE CRUNCHES What it strengthens: Abs, obliques, hip flexors Cassandra's Note: Abs with a twist! A lot of movements we do on a daily basis require twisting. Twisting when your core isn't strong enough is a common way people hurt their backs, so it's a good preventative measure to keep this movement pattern strong. Not to mention it has a waist-whittling effect! Instructions: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the sides. Lift your torso off the floor at a diagonal to reach the elbow on one side towards the opposite knee (left set of pictures). Lower with control all the way back down. Repeat on the other side. Do not pull your head or tuck your chin to your chest, but use your abs to curl your body together. Lift as high as you can each time. Lifting once on each side is one rep. To make easier: Rest in between repetitions and/or don’t lift as high. To make harder: Extend your free leg out straight before bringing it all the way in for the crunch. Return leg to straight after the crunch without resting your heel on the floor (do all reps on one side then the other – right set of photos).


Day 16 Got all that? Let's get to it!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 16 How did you do holding the plank? I'm usually pretty happy if a firsttimer gets to 20-30 seconds each set. If you got at least that, it's a good sign that your core is in okay starting shape. If you couldn't, we definitely need to improve that. Having a strong core not only makes daily activities easier but it helps and prevents back problems and other common aches and pains. I hope you have been finding it helpful to keep track of your RPE for each exercise so you can help guide yourself to a better challenge and better results. Try to improve from one workout to the next. If you did 10 repetitions today, do 11 or 12 next time. Great job getting through your most challenging workout yet! I hope you're starting to feel the benefits of adding strength training to your life. If you aren't yet, you will be soon! I'll see you tomorrow!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! You may be concerned that if you stop strength training your muscle will turn to fat, but this is a myth. Muscle and fat are two different kinds of tissues that cannot change into one another.


Day 17

EXERCISE VS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY I think it's helpful to know the distinction between exercise and physical activity. A lot of people do plenty of physical activity, which is great, but think that's enough and never do any actual exercise. Conversely, some people make sure they get at 30 minutes of exercise every day but are totally inactive the rest of the day. Both exercise and physical activity are very beneficial to your health, so we want to strive for a (you guessed it) balance between the two.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure is physical activity. Physical activity includes things like cleaning the house, moving around at your job, playing with your kids, carrying in the groceries, walking to and from your car, and so on. The problem with only doing physical activity and not exercise is that physical activity, while great for your health, isn't enough of a stimulus for your body to get any stronger. This is especially true because we tend to do the same daily activities over and over again. Your body gets used to doing them which reduces the amount of benefits you get over time. Another problem that can occur from doing the same activities every day is it can lead to overuse of certain muscles and joints and underuse of others. This is why a lot of office workers get carpal tunnel syndrome, for example. So, a variety of movements on a daily basis is important, but so is making time to do more focused activity.

EXERCISE Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity. In order to be qualified as exercise, the physical activity needs to be planned, structured, intentional, and repetitive with the objective of improving or maintaining physical fitness. Examples of exercise include strength training, swimming, cycling, running, playing sports, doing our cardio walks, and the like. Physical fitness includes five health-related components: flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and body composition. Ideally, your time spent exercising should include all five of these things. For example, we do our walks and stretching which improves cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition and then round it out with strength training which focuses on muscular strength. The combination of doing both throughout the week means we're creating balanced bodies in all five aspects of physical fitness. 152

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! There's an inversely proportional relationship between how long you need to exercise and how intensely you need to exercise. For example, 60 minutes of slower walking is perhaps equivalent to 30 minutes of slow jogging which is perhaps equivalent to 15 minutes of running. The more intensely you exercise, the less time you need to do it to reap benefits. Since we're just starting out, we're aiming to slowly increase our endurance by lengthening the duration and distance of our walks. Once you find that this is becoming easier, you may decide to add intervals of faster walking or slow jogging. By intervals I mean short periods of going faster followed by short periods of going slower. Maybe you're on your walk and you decide to speed walk or jog up to the next light post before walking again. You could repeat this the entire time which would ramp up the intensity of your walk, making it even more beneficial. Try it next time (if you aren’t already) and see how it feels!

Let's do an exercise together right now. Get a piece of paper and write down how many minutes/hours you spend sleeping, doing physical activity, exercising, and sitting (eating, driving, watching TV) every day. You can average out the results for a few days if your activity varies from day to day. Take your time, I'll wait... Got it? Was it what you were expecting? I think most of us would find that we spend more time sitting and less time being active than we would have guessed. This is why we write things down! Once we are aware of what we're working with, we can work on it. Naturally, we want to see the amount of physical activity and exercise go up, however, we also want to look at the amount of time we spend sitting. In the last few decades, more and more research has been emerging about the detrimental effects of sitting. In fact, some are now saying that "sitting is the new smoking" because the time we spend sitting is being shown to be as bad for our general health as smoking. This is true even if you exercise. In fact, they've coined a term for people who are inactive except for getting their 30 or so minutes of exercise per day: active couch potato (I know, ouch). Turns out it's not just about how much we're moving, it's about how much we're not. 153

Day 17 The American Institute for Cancer Research is on top of how inactivity affects your cancer risk and why getting both physical activity and exercise is so important. They created this incredible infographic and I couldn't have illustrated it better myself:

Image source: "Make Time for Break Time." American Institute for Cancer Research. N.p., 30 Jan. 2015. Web.

Even though the bottom three examples all got the same amount of moderate/vigorous intensity exercise, their respective cancer risks got even lower the more they engaged in other physical activity and spent less time being sedentary by taking frequent breaks. As you can see, the intensity of the activity you engage in matters. Doing 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity is worth more for lowering your cancer risk (and increasing your calorie burn) than doing 30 minutes of something lower intensity (physical activity in the 1-3 RPE range). This is one of the reasons why we track the RPE of our exercises and try to aim for the moderate intensity zone during our workouts (the 4-6 RPE range). Refer back to your RPE chart on page 11 if you need a refresher on this. I'd like to take a moment to point out that without any additional activity, the person who fits the traditional definition of someone who is physically active (someone who exercises 30 minutes every day) still has a pretty high cancer risk overall (see Mike in the chart above). As I’ve said a couple of times already, 30 minutes a day is only 2% of the day. While that’s great, you can see we have a lot of room in that other 98% of the day to get moving and be more like Kim or Joe. 154

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Tips for being more active: • Take a 1-2 minute break from sitting at least every half hour; set a timer to help notify you when it's time to get up. • Create a workspace that requires you to stand and move around more (i.e. don’t put things in arms reach, but across the room). • Park further away from your destination. • Any time you're on the phone, stand up or walk around (I do miles of laps all over the place any time I'm on the phone). • Go for a walk before work, on your lunch break, and/or after work. • Instead of having a sit-down meeting, have a walking meeting. • Hopefully most places you go to get food don't have a drive-thru, but if you're going to a place that has one, don't use it; walk up instead. • Don't just let your dog out in the yard, take them for a walk! • Don't send emails to co-workers, walk over and give them the message in person (if possible). • Add activity to your weekly routine, like going on a family bike ride after school/work and/or going for a daily morning walk. • Don't wait for the weekend; do your gardening/projects during the week as well. • If you commute via bus/train, get off one stop sooner and walk the rest of the way. • Get up and walk to the kitchen/break room for a glass of water every time you need one. You'll get more activity from walking to the restroom too! • Instead of doing all of your chores one day a week, spread it out throughout the week in 10-15 minute segments. • Transform sedentary activities by doing things like reading on the elliptical, doing squats on commercial breaks, bouncing on a stability ball when watching TV, listening to the radio/podcasts while going for a walk, or stretching while playing on your phone or tablet. • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. • Go to a museum, art gallery, historical neighborhood, or flea market for some enlightening, beautiful, and inspiring physical activity. • At home or at work (if you’re able), place your printer far away from your computer so you have to get up and take a sitting break from time to time to get things from the printer. • Don't wait for time, make the time!


Day 17 Inspired for today’s walk? I hope so! Remember to try doing intervals of walking and fast walking or jogging if you haven’t already! Have fun!


Day 18

MAKING BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES HARDER Before we jump into today's workout I'd like to share with you a few ideas for making any bodyweight exercise more challenging (because we're all a little masochistic sometimes). •

Do each exercise through your fullest range of motion. During the Stationary Lunge, for example, you would drop your back knee as far down as you can each repetition. This will give you better results and help you increase and maintain flexibility.

Move more slowly and purposefully. When you're exercising using only bodyweight, you really need to make those muscle contractions happen. Be very intentional and contract all the muscles you can during each movement. Moving slowly gives your muscle fibers time to get involved and stay under tension longer. You also have time to make microadjustments to your form to ensure it is always excellent.

Rest as little as possible between sets. Reducing your recovery time will increase the muscle fatigue that's going to make you stronger.

Another option is to add a ‚pulse‛ at the end of a movement. A pulse is a little down and up movement that you can repeat many times. For example, while doing the Plie Squat you might squat down as far as you can then come up only an inch or so before going back down again (a pulse). You could do just one pulse at the bottom of every Plie Squat or you could do many; it’s totally up to you. You can add pulses to nearly every movement for added difficulty.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Keep these in mind going forward! You've probably got your warm up memorized by now, but since it's only the second time we're seeing these particular exercises, don't be scared to look at your cheat sheet to help you through today!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Have you ever looked at a cat or dog and wondered: ‚Why don’t they have a butt?‛ Maybe it’s just me, but I always thought it was a little strange that humans have a round posterior and most other animals don’t. Turns out it has everything to do with our gluteus maximus; the largest muscle in our bodies. We need a well developed gluteus maximus to help us stand upright and maintain balance doing it. The reason other animals don’t have one (or a developed one) is because they aren’t bipedal like we are. Something to remember when you’re doing your Glute Bridges!


Day 18


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 18 Were you able to hold your plank for any longer than last time? Keep working on it! This is definitely a workout that could keep you challenged for awhile, so no worries if it's still a challenge for you. Well, it should always be a challenge, but you know what I mean! Keep your chin up, buttercup! I'll see you tomorrow!


Day 19

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE More than half of your body weight is water. Every cell, every tissue, and every part of your body needs water to function. It needs to be replenished in great quantities because you lose it from skin evaporation and every time you go to the bathroom, sweat, or breathe. Most of us have heard the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water per day for a total of 64 ounces, right? But if more than half our weight is water, shouldn't it be based on weight? What if you live in a hot climate? The jury is still out on how much water we should drink, but most agree that somewhere between 8 and 16 (8 ounce) glasses or about half your weight in ounces of water should do it. Your amount will depend on factors such as your age, activity level, where you live, and how many water-rich foods you eat. If it's hot outside, if you're active (breathing more), if you have certain medical conditions (like kidney stones or bladder infections), are pregnant or breast-feeding, are vomiting or have diarrhea or a fever, you need more water than normal. The best way to tell if you're hydrated is to take a look in the toilet. If your urine is frequent and colorless or light yellow, you should be good to go (again and again, as it were). What does water do and what are the benefits of getting enough? • Keeps you from dying! You can live weeks without food, but only days without water. • Regulates body temperature. • Helps your body systems work efficiently, saving more energy for you. • Lubricates joints. • Removes waste and toxins from the body. • Helps with weight loss by activating stretch receptors in your stomach, helping to fill you up so you don't over-eat. • Helps muscles perform better by helping to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. • Keeps skin plump, glowing, and clear, and prevents wrinkles. • Encourages normal bowel function. • Keeps airways clearer, helping with allergies and colds. • Improves concentration - your brain is 85% water. • Reduces your risk of heart problems by keeping blood thinner and easier to pump. • Keeps your kidneys healthy and prevents kidney stones. • Helps you be more productive, refreshed, and focused. 164

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One What are the symptoms of dehydration? • Dry mouth/thirst - by the time you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. • Fatigue or sleeplessness. • Little or no urine and/or urine that is darker in color. • Headaches, confusion, dizziness, or feeling lightheaded. • No tears when crying.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than there are cups of water in all the world’s oceans. Since water is never used up, just recycled over and over again, then every glass of water you drink has molecules that have passed through nearly every other living being on this planet, past and present. Therefore, every time you toast up a glass of water after your workout, you’re partaking in molecules that have passed through dinosaurs, Einstein, ferns in the Amazon Rainforest, Galileo, wooly mammoths, the dodo, Cleopatra, Abraham Lincoln, and every other living being that’s ever graced the earth. Personally, I think this is extremely cool and use this information to feel connected to this planet and everyone on it.

The best option for staying hydrated is water, however other foods and drinks can contribute to your water intake. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas all count. You can get water from watermelon, tomatoes, lettuce, and soups as well. Some folks have warned that caffeinated beverages can contribute to dehydration, but it is thought that a moderate amount of caffeine (200-300 milligrams a day, about 2 to 4 cups of coffee) is not harmful, though it may make you pee more often! I drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day and have never felt that it made me dehydrated (and I exercise often and live in Florida). As for sports drinks; you really don't need those or anything like it unless you're exercising for longer than an hour. Most of us get enough electrolytes and calories in our lives without adding those. If you really feel like you need a sports drink, you can make your own. Check online to find a recipe you like and give it a try! My personal favorite is coconut water with lemon juice and a tiny pinch of Himalayan salt. 165

Day 19 Tips for staying hydrated: • Keep water with you at all times with a refillable bottle and fill from the tap as you go. It will help protect the environment and save you money. • Add fresh lemon to your water to make it more appealing and add nutrients, flush toxins, boost your immune system, give you energy, and reduce inflammation. • Keep sipping on water throughout the day and at every meal. • If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, set an alarm for every hour or create and follow a water-drinking schedule that fits your lifestyle. • Eat more fruits and vegetables to benefit from their water content. • Drink at least one glass as soon you as you wake up in the morning to activate your internal organs and flush out toxins. • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity and exercise.


Day 20

THINK TO PLAN, FEEL TO ACT Knowledge is power and you know I’m a huge fan of having a plan, however, it isn’t enough. Turns out, we’re not robots and you can’t just feed us input and expect us to act on it. People have feelings (who knew?) and they’re really, really important. If it’s a competition between our thoughts and feelings, our feelings win every time. What does this mean for motivation? Apparently, Yoda was on to something with ‚searching our feelings‛. You see, the way we feel about ourselves has a lot to do with whether or not we’re successful in any endeavor. If you don’t feel like you can be a motivated person, then you probably won’t be. Do you see yourself as happy? Healthy? If you don’t, it’s harder to become those things. The first step of motivation is to align your feelings and beliefs with the qualities you’re trying to achieve. What would it feel like to achieve your goals and to be exactly who you want to be? I’m personally bought into the power of replacing the self-limiting definitions we have of ourselves with more positive beliefs. For example, a lot of people say, ‚oh, I’m just not a runner‛. What if you are a runner, but you’ve been telling yourself you’re not for so long that you believe it? What if someone else made you feel like you couldn’t be a runner, but you really are? I was like that once. I used to joke that I would only run if I was being chased and act like I was too cool for that nonsense. Then some friends invited me to do Warrior Dash (a 5k run with obstacles). It looked like tons of fun, but I wasn’t confident I could run 3.1 miles and not die in front of my friends, so I started to go for little jogs to see how it felt (positive peer pressure). To my surprise, I liked it! I kicked Warrior Dash’s butt and since then I have completed dozens of 5ks, 10milers, and half marathons. Turns out, I am a runner! Your beliefs about yourself are always in the undercurrent, but your feelings moment to moment are important as well. When we feel good, we make good choices and when we feel bad, we make bad choices. The actions we take when we’re in a pessimistic mindset are usually shortsighted attempts at managing our short-term mood. For example, you might procrastinate doing your workout because you’re tired, so to distract yourself from being tired you tell yourself you’ll do your workout after you watch some TV. However, you know you’re not going to get less tired as time goes on; you’re just distracting yourself long enough for the opportunity to work out to pass. Make your decisions when you’re feeling good and stick to them, even if your mood changes. Return to a positive, proactive frame of mind over and over again and it will become more and more automatic. 168

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One So, we’re going to work on our feelings and beliefs about who we are and who we want to be and we’re going to keep our mindset positive and make decisions when we’re in a good mood. What else? There are dozens of books about just this, but let’s start with a short list. Some tips to get and keep you motivated:  Focus on your progress, not your setbacks. Progress is very motivating since it’s the fruit of our labors growing right before our eyes. It’s meaningful and fulfilling and encourages us to keep going.  Reward yourself. We’re not that different from Pavlov’s dogs. If you want to motivate yourself, then reward yourself when you do something good. Make a list of non-food rewards that would excite you to do your workout or engage in other healthy behaviors. For example, I have a few shows that I like to watch (looking at you, Outlander) and I save them for when I’m on my elliptical or treadmill. When I’m excited to watch an episode, I get on a cardio machine and go to town until it’s over. It creates a positive association between doing cardio and watching a show I enjoy and I’m getting my reward (watching an episode) while I’m doing something good (a cardio workout).  Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Join a walking or running group, participate in an online forum, go out to lunch with your healthiest friend, or hang out with someone who is super motivated (about anything, it will rub off). Take advantage of positive peer pressure. It’s easier to do what you should be doing when you have an audience and to believe that change is possible when you’re surrounded by people who are doing it. Birds of a feather do flock together!  Create an energizing playlist. I have a playlist I use for when I work out filled with music that makes me want to move. If you find yourself in a pessimistic mindset, playing some upbeat and inspirational music can quickly snap you out of it. For me, getting to listen to my playlist on a high volume while I work out is a reward I look forward to.  Just take the first step. Start small and let motivation catch up with you later. Sometimes you just have to rip off the band-aid and get started. After awhile, you’ll get into it and keep going or stop and at least you accomplished something. Here we are at the last workout in week 3! Next week, if you're feeling ready, you can move on to the next workout. For today, try for an extra repetition or two and see if you can hold that plank just a little longer! 169

Day 20


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 20 How did it go? You know, it really is a big deal to take this time for yourself, to not give up, and to keep pressing forward. You are courageous and I am proud of you! It's so easy to give up and you get my applause for not doing that. I'm all smiles! I'll see you tomorrow for your well-earned rest day and we'll chat some more.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Speaking of how difficult it can be; one of the many things I love about exercise is how it can put the rest of our day into perspective. For many of us, this is probably the hardest part of our day, so once you've done a kick-butt workout, the rest of the day feels like a piece of cake (er, bowl of carrots). Exercise is truly an act of self-empowerment, of taking total control of yourself and the moment, and I just love that!


Day 21

YOUR BRAIN IS LIKE A GRASSY FIELD Forming healthy habits (or any habits for that matter) is a lot like walking through a field with tall grass. The first time you make the trip you have to smash down the grass and blaze the trail for the first time. It's slow, hard going, but eventually you make it to the other side. If you turned right around and walked down that same path again, it would be a little bit easier because you can see where you've been before and you could smash the grass down a bit further. If you kept this up, you'd have a well-worn path through the tall grass. Each time you walked through it, you would be faster and more efficient doing so. So it is with habits. The first time you do something, it's foreign and novel. Once you've processed it and do it once, you've formed a neural pathway that helps you to do it again. Every time you repeat that particular behavior, you strengthen the same neural pathway. If you repeat it often enough, it becomes automatic. For most of us, we can remember how scary and difficult it was to learn to drive. After a few years, you can adjust your radio without looking and move your foot from the gas to the brake without even thinking about it. Habit accomplished! Now, what do we do if we have some bad habits we want to get rid of? Well, imagine you're back in your grassy field. You decide you don't want to go down that easy, well-worn path anymore. You decide to strike out on a new path. Well, the process will be the same each time you start a new habit. The path won't be there at all, you'll go down it once (making a rough pathway) and each time you walk down the new pathway it will get more worn and easier to travel on. Eventually, the old path that was so easy for you will grow over with new grass and ultimately disappear entirely. When we want to get rid of a bad habit, we need to give it the time it needs for the grass to grow back over that pathway and disappear. How long this takes will depend on how well-worn it was. If you've been taking that pathway for 20 years, I'd expect it could take awhile for that particular path to vanish. If it's only been a few months since you started on that new path, it won't take very long for it to go away. This is why it may be so hard for you to begin new habits as you get older and you've been doing certain behaviors for a very long time. When we strike out on a new or renewed path of exercising regularly, it can take some time to trample that pathway so it becomes easier for us to follow. It also takes awhile to forget the old pathways we used to take. When we lapse and take an


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One old pathway, it will refresh that pathway a bit and it will take a little bit longer now to make it go away. The main reason I decided on a daily format for this book was to help you be as consistent as possible in creating your new, more healthful habits. Consistency is your best friend. So is patience! Be patient with the process and give yourself the time you need to form new habits and forget old ones. Estimates for how long it takes to make or break a habit vary from 14 to 66 days (for a moderately difficult habit). Of course, this timeline is highly subjective, so maybe here on Day 21 you're breezing right along or you're still struggling a bit. No problem! I figured it was time for another bulleted list anyway. How to form (or break) habits: • Decide on your new habit. Set your S.M.A.R.T. goal. Cast the dye! • Spread the word. Tell others about what you're doing to garner support and hold yourself accountable. Having to explain to people why you're not doing what you said you were going to stinks big time. That's part of why having a personal trainer helps. Look for people who will be loving but firm about keeping you on track (more positive peer pressure). • Use visualizations. Picture yourself doing the new habit. Imagine yourself overcoming a situation that would throw you off. Imagine how you will feel when you stick to your new habit. Just visualizing a habit helps trample that grass down a bit, so the more often you do that, the more you're paving the way for success. • Develop an affirmation. They're basically the verbal form of visualization. Say it to yourself often to clear your path. An example could be, "I exercise every day at 5 PM" or "I'm becoming healthier every day, in every way" or "my workouts make me feel unstoppable". • Persist. Make your habit happen. Sure, it's going to be tough in the beginning, but you already know that, so take it into account and don't make excuses. If you look hard enough, you will always find a rationalization not to do something, so do or do not (there is no try). • Reward yourself! You'd be crazy to take on a new habit that didn't pay off somehow. Sometimes the payout is immediate, like feeling really good after a workout, but sometimes we need a little something to reinforce our efforts. Be extremely cautious and conservative about rewarding with food. Think about getting yourself a new workout outfit, a cool new water bottle, or something else that’s fun and useful.


Day 21 Keep reminding yourself of these steps as needed. Sometimes we lose sight of why we started something and need to reaffirm why we're doing it. It's one more reason why sharing with others can help you stay on track. If you lose sight of your goals, they can remind you. You have completed three whole weeks with me! How about that? You really are doing great, just keep going! Rest up today and move into week 4 tomorrow if you're feeling ready. If not, stay here for a bit and work on getting stronger.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Habits, like health, take time to develop, so avoid all or nothing thinking. Every positive thing you do is also not a negative thing you're doing, so that's like a double positive! Slow and steady wins the race!


Day 22

CASSANDRA'S SELF-FULL TALK Today I'd like to give you what I call my "self-full talk". Hopefully, you're already fully aware of what I'm talking about, but it's one of the most important lessons I've ever learned in my life, so I want to be sure to share it, just in case. It's my talk about the difference between being selfish, selfless, and (the lesser known third option) self-full. Obviously, I hope, we can see that being selfish isn't the way to go. Being selfish means only being concerned for your own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others. Selfish people win while everyone else loses. If we all operated this way, the world would be a miserable place indeed. Unfortunately, a lot of us have been taught that being a selfless martyr is a noble way to live. We're supposed to treat others better than we do ourselves, make sure their needs are met, ignore our own, and, of course, never complain about it. Living in the selfless condition is a lose-win scenario (you lose, they win). It's very disempowering. It's putting the balls in everyone else's courts while you stand there waiting for someone to throw you one. From the outside it seems like we're being "nice", but it's just a socially acceptable form of spiritual suicide. It's like being on a hamster wheel: expending lots of energy but never getting anywhere. Eventually, living this way leaves a person resentful, exhausted, empty, unfulfilled, and depressed. Living like this is very unhealthy (sorry, not sorry). Ironically, you could look at some acts of selflessness as being selfish. The selflessness can come with strings attached, like expecting a parade for every good deed or demanding loyalty because they've "given you everything" and you "owe" them. Some people act selflessly for attention or for the ego boost of feeling high and mighty. It's selflessness done for selfish reasons. You might call this "toxic selflessness". I think this is what happens to some people who thought being selfless was a good thing, realized they had been fooled, and overcompensate for all their unmet needs, but I digress. Do you feel overburdened, resentful, hopeless, frustrated, unfulfilled, overcommitted, or confused about what you want? Are you doing what others want you to do and living the life they wanted for you? Do you say "yes" when you really want to say "no"? If you've created a selfless life and are unhappy about it, don't feel bad. You were likely taught from the beginning of your life that if you put yourself first you were being selfish. You had people in your life that praised, rewarded, and acknowledged your selfless efforts and/or made you feel guilty if you didn't do them. It's so engrained in our minds that most people never question it and some doggedly defend it. 178

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One While selflessness has its defenders (and why wouldn't it when they may be benefitting from it), hopefully self-fullness is starting to look like the obvious choice. So, what does it mean to be self-full? Imagine you're on a plane. An emergency occurs and the oxygen masks drop down from the compartment above. A selfish person would grab someone else's mask, caring only about their own survival. A selfless person would give away their mask and go without (probably dying in the process). The self-full person would put their own mask on so they could help others (as they instruct you to do). Being self-full is a "win-win" scenario. Your needs are met so you are able to share your energy and resources with other people. Self-full people live in a state of joyful "flow", exude power and energy, and have lives that are full and expansive. It's being a thriving person who can be there for yourself and others in the spirit of co-creativity. It means defining and guarding boundaries. It's dwelling in a place of self-respect, self-love, and self-nurturing. You won't find a self-full person on their deathbed listing their regrets, but counting all their blessings. This is my highest hope for you and I hope it's yours too! And now: Tips for living a self-full life: • Take some time every single day to have some "me" time. This would include any activity that leaves you feeling refreshed and energized. • Let go of things you cannot change. You can only control yourself and your reaction to the things outside of yourself. • Stay away from drama, negativity, and toxic behaviors (and people). • Make time for self-care by exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, etc. • Trust your instincts; if it feels wrong, don't do it. Your intuition is your guide; learn to trust it. • Connect with nature as often as you can. Being around the energy of plants, the microbes in soil, the ions at the beach, and all that nature has to offer has significantly positive physical, emotional, and psychological impacts on our well-being. • Be at least as kind to yourself as you are to others. Compassion begins at home. Don’t say or do anything to yourself you wouldn’t say or do to someone you love (since hopefully you fall into that category as well). • Spend time with people who energize you. Avoid the psychic vampires. • Don't be afraid to ask for what you want from others and from life. Having healthy boundaries is one of the best things you can cultivate.


Day 22 Some of you may have people in your life who don't understand or approve of your new self-full lifestyle. Don't let them shame you for it. Know what you're doing is right for you. You may try to educate them about why you're deciding to live this way if you feel you can. You may even try explaining to them how your self-fullness benefits everyone. However, it’s not your job to make other people understand you. Your life is yours alone. In a worst case scenario, distance yourself from anyone who is trying to worsen your situation or put you back under control. Attempts to shame and guilt you into doing what someone else wants is a major red flag. Spend more of your time with people who understand and are going to be positive about what you’re up to. Hopefully that’s given you plenty to think about while you're on your walk today! Enjoy it in nature if you can and make sure you drink your water!


Day 23

MUSCULAR IMBALANCES One of the many things I love about exercise is what it can teach us about ourselves. Often we find that we are stronger than we originally gave ourselves credit for or can do things we didn't think we could. Sometimes we discover things we didn't expect that cause us to be alarmed, like when one leg is stiffer than the other or one exercise was really easy but then another one is really hard. I want to take a moment to assure you these things are very normal! A lot of my clients note that one leg or arm is stronger than the other and this is also very normal. Most people have a dominant arm (the one you write with usually) and/or a dominant leg (typically the one you lean on most). Balance between the right and left side of the body is an important thing to work on though, so that's why we often include at least one exercise that singles out the arms and legs (like Swimming and Front Leg Lifts). Working single-sided exercises goes a long way to help correct these imbalances, but even better is to be mindful of the way you carry yourself through life. For example, try to stand with your weight evenly distributed on both feet instead of propping yourself up on only one leg. Try carrying your groceries with your non-dominant arm. Try not to lean on one arm while you're working at your desk. Perhaps even more important is the balance between our front and back halves. This is where we start to see a lot of problems. For example, a lot of our daily activities encourage our bodies to roll forward into a hunched position. When we spend a lot of time this way, the muscles in the front, like the chest and abs, get tight and pull us over even further. Meanwhile, our back muscles elongate and weaken. We fix this by exercising our back muscles so they can hold us in good posture and by stretching our front side so it no longer pulls us forward. The same principle applies everywhere else in the body. Because we spend a lot of time sitting, our quads and glutes get inhibited and weak and our hamstrings and our hip flexors (front of the hip) get tight. One of the best things you can do is take a break every 30 minutes or so when sitting. At the very least, stand up for a few minutes before sitting back down. It would be even better if you then walked around for a few minutes. Even better still would be if you then did a few minutes of stretching. Better still would be to add a few exercises, like squats down to your chair. During workouts, we try to do as many exercises and stretches for the front as the back (and for the right as for the left), but if you are finding you are 182

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One having a very stubborn time with a particular area (the hamstrings are popular) focus a little extra love on those areas while stretching and always make sure you move through the fullest range of motion you can while exercising. Both of these things improve flexibility.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Did you know? Your body has a failsafe mechanism for keeping your body balanced. Called the contralateral strength training effect, scientists estimate that if you exercise only one side of your body the side of your body not exercising still gains up to 50% of the strength that the training side gains. This is really handy if you have an injury, because you can still train your uninjured side and let the benefits spill over to the injured side. It also explains why your dominant limb isn’t twice the size of your non-dominant limb. Thank goodness for that!

Keeping your muscles balanced will keep your body functioning properly and help you prevent pain and injury. My goal is always to help you live in a pain-free body whenever possible! Speaking of, isn't it time for our workout?

YOUR WEEK 4 WORKOUT I'm a little choked up! This is our last workout in this book and I'm so impressed with you for making it this far! Hopefully you're feeling pretty confident about everything we've talked about so far and are feeling ready for the next phase.


Day 23

YOUR WEEK 4 EXERCISES FRONT LUNGES What it strengthens: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves Cassandra's Note: We're building on our Stationary Lunge and adding a dynamic element. Adding some movement to the lunge helps it become even more functional than before since it more closely mimics real-life movements. Instructions: We're going to keep the same end form for the Stationary Lunge with both knees at 90 degrees, back knee under hip, and front knee over the ankle. The difference is that we will start standing and gently swing one leg forward (the correct distance to get the end form) and then do our lunge before pressing backward through the front foot to return to standing. Again, think about lunging up and down, not forward. Do both sides. To make easier: Hold onto something, like a chair, a rail, or a countertop to help you with your balance and/or do not bend your knees as far and/or do fewer repetitions. To make harder: Be as slow and controlled as possible and/or bend so your knee almost touches the floor and/or do more repetitions.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

HALF MOON REPETITIONS What it strengthens: Obliques, abs, back, glutes Cassandra's Note: This exercise feels so good for all the tight muscles in the torso and arms. Not only does it strengthen nearly everything in and around your torso, but it gives them all a great stretch too! Instructions: Stand with feet together. Lift both arms above your head and press your palms together (interlock your hands if desired), keeping your arms next to your ears. Breathe out and lean your arms to one side, pressing your hips out in the opposite direction. Do not lean forward or backward but move to the side, as though squashed between two panes of glass. Keep your abs pulled in and butt and legs squeezed tight. When you breathe in, straighten back up and on the next out breath, lean to the other side. To make easier: Use only one arm to reach overhead and use the other to support yourself on your hip or on a chair/counter top (more like the modified windmill) and/or spread your feet wider for more support. To make harder: Bend further and/or hold the bend for a few breaths before straightening.


Day 23

GOOD MORNINGS What it strengthens: Hamstrings, lower back, glutes (posterior chain) Cassandra's Note: This exercise stretches and strengthens the hamstrings as it moves them through a full range of motion. This ‚hip hinge‛ movement is an important foundational move that’s very important to master for progressing to other movements in the future as well as for your overall health. Instructions: Standing up tall, place your fingertips by your ears and hold your elbows back. Maintaining the erectness of your spine (think keeping your chest up), hinge at your hips and fold your body like a piece of paper so your torso comes to be more parallel with the floor. Keep a light bend in the knees and the hips back for balance throughout. Your butt should feel like you're poking it out behind you and that's good! Squeeze through your backside to straighten back up to standing and repeat. To make easier: Do not bend as far and/or bend your knees a bit more and/or do this while seated in a chair. To make harder: Hold something with a little weight in front of your chest or behind your head and/or bend as far as you can while maintaining proper form.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

WALL CALF RAISES What it strengthens: Calves Cassandra's Note: While you could stand up straight and do calf raises, you would notice that your heels don't lift very far off the ground. To maximize our range of motion, we can lean against a wall, walk our feet away from it, and get loads of distance between our heels and the floor. Strong calves are great, but the thing I like most about this exercise is that it actively stretches out the calves as well. This is very important for keeping our knees and ankles healthy as it keeps the calves from becoming shortened over time. Instructions: Find a wall and lean against it with your hands or forearms (think: plank posture). Keeping your elbows around shoulder height, walk your feet as far away from the wall as you feel comfortable doing. Starting with your heels down, rise up onto your toes before lowering your heels all the way back down again. Lather, rinse, and repeat! To make easier: Stand up straight or don't walk your feet as far from the wall (second set of pictures). To make harder: Walk your feet further away from the wall and/or hold for a moment when you're all the way up on your tippie toes (first set of pictures).


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KNEELING WIDE GRIP PUSH-UP What it strengthens: Chest, triceps, front of the shoulder, abs Cassandra's Note: Now we're cooking! Hopefully you're feeling ready to move up to this harder variation if you haven't already. Give them a try if you haven't, you may surprise yourself! If you're still not up for it, stick to an easier variation...for now! Instructions: Kneel face down on the floor, walk your hands away from your knees so your body creates a straight line from head to knees. Place your hands directly under your shoulders then widen your hands about double shoulder width apart. Pulling your stomach in, bend your elbows out to the sides, and lower your chest towards the floor. Push yourself back up into the starting position. Repeat! To make easier: Stick with the easier variations covered in your first workout and/or do not bend your elbows as far. To make harder: Do more reps and/or bend your elbows further to get your chest lower and/or work your way up to doing them in full plank.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

LYING BACK EXTENSION What it strengthens: Back of shoulders, upper, middle, and lower back Cassandra's Note: This is another great exercise for correcting and improving posture. We'll be reversing all that forward rolling of the shoulders and slouching by stretching the chest and strengthening the back. Please do not feel the need to lift very high off the floor; just do what you can. Instructions: Lie on the floor face down with your forehead resting on a towel or small pillow. Place your fingers behind your ears with your elbows out wide. Keep your lower body glued to the floor, engage your entire backside and lift your chest off the mat as high as is comfortable. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, keep your abs pulled in, and keep your neck in neutral alignment (don’t lift your head back). Lower with control and repeat. To make easier: Keep your arms at your sides throughout and/or only lift slightly off the ground. To make harder: Lift as high as you can and/or reach your arms all the way forward throughout.


Day 23

RUSSIAN TWIST What it strengthens: Obliques, abs, quads, and hip flexors Cassandra's Note: Another twist to keep you strong and safe from injury! Like with so many exercises in this book, you can really choose your level of difficulty on this one, which I really like. No matter who are you, you'll find a version of this that works for you! Instructions: Sitting on your butt with your feet on the floor in front of you (knees about 90 degrees), pull yourself up to a very upright posture. Use your core to support your spine and hinge backward from the hips. Twist your torso to one side and reach with both hands for the ground behind you. Come back to the center and repeat the twist to the other side. Doing one repetition on each side is one full rep. Your back stays super erect the whole time. To make easier: Do this while sitting in a chair and/or do not lean back as much. To make harder: Lean back further (still supporting your spine) and/or hold something with some weight to it and/or reach your arms out further away from your body and/or lift your feet off the ground as you do this.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

SINGLE LEG STRETCH What it strengthens: Abs, hip flexors, quads, neck Cassandra's Note: I really like how this exercise gets deep into your abdominals and simultaneously stretches your backside and protects your back by supporting it with the floor. It engages the abs from top to bottom and is a great compliment to the Russian Twist. Instructions: Lying on your back, use your hands to hug both knees into your chest and curl your upper torso to meet them. Do not strain your neck by pulling it forward at any point in the exercise! Keep your abs engaged (think about rolling yourself into a ball throughout) and extend one leg out straight while you gently hold on to the other knee with both hands. Switch legs in a smooth motion and hold onto the other knee (doing both sides is one rep). To make easier: Point your extended leg up toward the ceiling (second set of pictures) and/or keep your head and upper back on the floor throughout. To make harder: Lower your feet closer to the floor and/or curl your torso up higher and/or do more repetitions as needed (first set of pictures).


Day 23 Ok, are you ready? Let's give it a try and see how we feel!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 23 Phew! How did those lunges treat you? They're usually pretty tough, but so are you! Whenever we switch around our workout, there's always the possibility of waking up the delayed onset muscle soreness again, so I wouldn't be surprised if you felt this one tomorrow or the next day. Your walk tomorrow will help clear that up, so don't skip it! See you then!


Day 24

THE RESULTS ARE IN! In my experience, form does indeed follow function. What I mean is if you focus on function (eating because of what it does for your body instead of what it tastes like or exercising to be healthy instead of to get six-pack-abs) then the form will follow. We have to track certain measurements to know if the process we're using is working, but we don't want to become obsessed with those numbers. If you're entire measurement of happiness is the number on the scale, you will probably be pretty unhappy most of the time and results will never come fast enough. If you're process oriented and focus on other measurements, like how you feel, what you can do, and so on, you will be much happier. That being said, we do want to know when we can expect some good things to happen, so here we are! Naturally, the results you get from your workouts will depend on a host of individual factors (like your genetics, age, starting weight, etc) and also on what you're putting into them (intensity, time, type of exercise, etc). Some general observations can be made about what we're working so hard for, so let's break it down!

BEFORE YOU EXERCISE The moment your shoes hit the pavement for your walk, you're already reaping benefits. Your heart rate goes up, blood gets pumping, calories begin to burn, and within seconds your mood is up. Turns out, just the mental queuing of exercise is enough to get your body anticipating the goodness that's about to happen.

DURING EXERCISE The lungs start pumping oxygen to your muscles and brain, energizing your body and mind. After 20 minutes, endorphins start to get addicting and you may not want to stop. Plus, your fat-burning mechanisms are coming online and your body starts using fat as its primary fuel. You've also reached a level of exercise sufficient to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and a motley crew of other diseases.

WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER EXERCISE Flooded with feel-good chemicals, you're feeling zen and ready to tackle your day. Your immune system is operating on high thanks to all the immunoglobulins your body has released. You can expect extra protection 196

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One from infections for about the next 24 hours. Did you push yourself? Good, because some say that for every 100 calories you burn during a workout, you can expect to burn another 15-25 post-workout. All this burning calories is going to make you hungry, though. Your best bet is to drink lots of water and replenish your body with some proteins and high-quality carbohydrates. Good examples of post-workout snack include a banana with 2 scoops of all natural peanut butter, Greek yogurt with berries, a high quality protein shake, or 2 eggs on toast.

WITHIN 24 HOURS AFTER EXERCISE Your body is repairing your muscles after a strength training session leading to an increase in metabolism for up to 48 hours. For up to about 16 hours after a cardio session, you can expect your blood pressure to be lower. If you opted for a higher intensity, your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels could be lower. If you exercised before work or school you may find that you are more alert and focused and less stressed.

WITHIN ONE WEEK OF REGULAR EXERCISE Already, your risk of developing type II diabetes is lowered now that you're body is more sensitive to insulin. You can go a little harder and longer during workouts than you could a week ago, your metabolism is looking up, and you weight may be down. If you've been diligent about doing your stretches, you might feel a little bit more flexible these days (psychologically too since your cognitive functions have also increased).

WITHIN ONE MONTH OF REGULAR EXERCISE Habits have begun to form as the changes you have made in the last month are starting to take root. Your muscular endurance has noticeably increased and you're able to do more repetitions and walk for longer. You've probably lost a few pounds but gained a few brain cells. If you've been doing your strength training then you've probably gained some muscle; around 2 pounds if you're a man and about 1 pound if you're a woman.

WITHIN TWO MONTHS OF REGULAR EXERCISE Exercise and eating well are becoming part of who you are. You're starting to look forward to the feel-good chemicals associated with exercise and you've left some old habits in the dust. You may be feeling more energetic all the time now instead of only after a workout. Your heart and muscles continue 197

Day 24 to get stronger and more efficient, in fact, after 8-12 weeks your endurance and aerobic fitness can increase up to 25 percent! Your risk of developing diseases continues to go down as well.

WITHIN ONE YEAR OF REGULAR EXERCISE Your endurance and aerobic fitness has likely doubled at this point and your resting heart rate is much lower now that your heart is so efficient. Some studies suggest that four months of regular exercise is as good as any antidepressant and that a 10-pound fat loss is better at lowering blood pressure than any medication on the market. You have gained enough muscle that your metabolism is on fire 24/7. You've moved on to bigger and better exercises and workouts that give you bigger and better results. You're protecting your DNA by improving the quality of your telomeres (the DNA that protects your chromosomes from damage and slow the aging and disease process). You sleep better, have better sex, have stronger bones, and are stronger, more balanced, more flexible, leaner and meaner than you've been in a long time (or ever!). I know, I know, I discussed a lot of health benefits and how our bodies get stronger but maybe that's not what you wanted to hear. Like I said, if you're still asking how long it will be before you're a size X or can lose X pounds, the answer is probably longer than you want. With consistency, change will happen. Progress is progress, no matter how "slow". Though, if your main goal is weight loss, how long has it been since you were your preferred weight? I can almost guarantee it won't take that long to return to it, so please be patient. As an aside, I consider myself to be a very growth-oriented person. I would encourage you to consider becoming one yourself (if you’re not already). When you focus on growth, all the challenges we are presented with start looking like opportunities instead of obstacles. I like that results come slowly because I know it's good for me to practice patience. Besides, as I often point out to my clients, if results could come overnight, they could leave overnight as well! The results you're getting, no matter how slow, are going to stay with you for far longer than it took you to gain them. You are truly investing in yourself in some of the most important ways that you can. Ready to walk? We're aiming for 25 minutes today and I hope by now you’re challenging yourself to go further in that time than before. We have to push the envelope if we want to improve! You probably have the stretching routine down for now, but it feels good to check things off, doesn’t it? Have you been doing two sets of your stretches? Now would be a great time to give that a try if you haven’t. Let’s go! 198

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Great job! Have a great rest of your day!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Unsurprisingly, people who are more patient have better emotional and wellness outcomes, but did you know that being patient is also good for your health? Emerging evidence has found that people who are more patient have a lower risk for developing high blood pressure, headaches, acne, ulcers, diarrhea, and even pneumonia. So, patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s also healthy!


Day 24


Day 25

MIND OVER MATTER This old adage is actually true in so many ways. There has been a lot of compelling research on how the mind can affect the body. While I’ve touched on this concept briefly here and there, I’d like to take a closer look today and mention just one of the many interesting studies out there. This particular study was carried out at Stanford1 and looked at what would happen if people knew (or were told) they had certain genes and how that knowledge might affect their cardiorespiratory endurance or satiety levels. Basically, they wanted to see if the placebo or nocebo effect would be present. In the placebo effect, something is benign, but one believes it is helpful and in the nocebo effect, something is benign, but one believes it’s harmful. The first part of the study looked at the cardiorespiratory endurance of over 100 participants on a treadmill. First, the researchers did genetic testing on the participants to see if they carried a gene variant that made them more or less likely to get tired easily and had them run on the treadmill to get a baseline measurement. After randomly splitting everyone into two groups a week later, they told one group they had the gene associated with high endurance and the other group that they had the low-endurance variant. Mind you, the groups were randomly mixed, so some people who were told they had the highendurance gene did not and some people told they were more likely to get tired easily actually had the high-endurance gene. The participants did another session on the treadmill and lo and behold, their results were consistent with their expectations. Participants who were told they had the low-endurance gene didn’t run as long, had lower lung capacity, and couldn’t get rid of carbon dioxide as effectively as before. Those who were told they had the high-endurance gene ran longer the second time around, even those that didn’t actually have it. In the second part of the study, they tested over 100 participants in a similar fashion for a gene associated with fullness (satiation). They then had participants eat a 480-calorie shake and describe how full they felt afterwards. Later, researchers told a random selection of participants that they have a gene variant that encourages overeating and others that they have a gene variant that makes them fell full faster (whether they did or not in both cases). So, what do you think? Luckily, the people who were told they had the gene variant that would cause them to overeat didn’t eat more or have a large difference in hormone levels. However, people who were told they had the Turnwald, B.P., Goyer, J.P., Boles, D.Z. et al. Learning one’s genetic risk changes physiology independent of actual genetic risk. Nat Hum Behav 3, 48–56 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-018-0483-4 1


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One gene variant that would cause them to feel fuller not only felt fuller faster, but their bodies even released 2.5 times more satiety hormones than before. Studies like this have huge implications in our lives. In this age of genetic testing, more and more people are aware they may be at risk for certain diseases and conditions. Such knowledge could influence whether or not you get it or to what extent it affects you if you do. In both parts of the study I just discussed, some of the changes that occurred because of the participant’s expectations were even larger than those for people who actually had the version of the genes they were told they had. This would suggest that belief about risk could be higher than one’s actual genetic risk. What we can do with this information is proactively seek to have attitudes that may protect us from everything from a tendency to over-eat to cancer. We’re learning more every day that where our minds lead, our bodies follow in very concrete ways. Having a positive mindset about health isn’t selfdeception, it’s science!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! You're much stronger than you think! For example, did you know that if all the muscles in your body pulled in one direction, you could lift 25 tons? But I'm not just talking about brute strength; you're mentally stronger than you think too. One of the best things you can do to become mentally stronger is to gain more confidence. It's one of the reasons why small goals and victories are so important. If your goals are doable without extreme effort, you become increasingly confident that you can follow through, increasing confidence. Through steady and deliberate actions, you build your well of self-empowerment.

With all this in mind, feel yourself strong through our next workout!


Day 25


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 25 The second workout is always a little smoother, right? Did you push just a little harder today? Keep up the great work! You are getting stronger every day!


Day 26

LET'S GET HARD-CORE We hear about "the core" all the time, but not many of us really understand what that means. I know I've mentioned it a lot already in this book without a lot of explanation, that is, until today! The core is a lot more comprehensive than a lot of people think. Most people think the core is just your abs, but it actually includes basically everything except your arms and legs. The core is functional on all planes of movement and contains deep muscles that are beneath what you see on the surface. Because our core is so inclusive, a variety of exercises are needed to strengthen it and with different levels of cooperation between the muscles. As you may imagine, because all these muscles lie in the center of our bodies (a reason for the term "core"), they are incorporated into nearly every single movement we do. Even if we aren't specifically working the core, it is almost always in charge of stabilizing our body while we do other exercises, movements, and activities. Because of this, you can get a great core workout without ever exclusively working the core. When you squat, you use your core, when you do push-ups, you use your core, and when you do every single exercise in this book you are working your core. A strong core supports our spines and helps us maintain good posture. It also allows us to effectively and efficiently transfer forces during dynamic movements, helping us to avoid injury when lifting, twisting, and carrying out everyday activities. A strong core is fundamental to, well, everything! When we think about what we spend the most time doing, that's when a strong core really shines. I'm talking about good posture while sitting, standing, and lifting. These three activities encompass a large part of our day and are therefore incredibly important to master. Why is maintaining good posture so important? • Good posture prevents muscle and ligament imbalances which can lead to chronic back, neck, foot, knee, hip, and shoulder pain. For example, someone who slumps forward when they sit and stand will usually end up with tight chest muscles and long and weak back muscles. The overactive muscles have to compensate for underactive ones which cause tension and fatigue. • Poor posture can lead to fatigue, headaches, difficulty breathing, digestion issues, nerve compression and impingement, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, and much more.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One •

Your feelings can be directly influenced by your posture. Studies have shown that holding a powerful posture for a couple minutes makes you feel more powerful the same way that smiling (even if you don't feel like it) makes you happier. Your posture tells other people a lot about yourself. People have different postures when they are confident, self-conscious, telling a lie, relaxed, or defensive. Basically, good posture means moving through life with the least strain on our bodies reducing injury, pain, abnormal wear and tear, and helps us feel our best!

What contributes to poor posture? • Stress • Poor self-esteem • Obesity • Pregnancy • Weak or tight muscles (usually both) • Wearing high-heeled shoes • Poorly configured work station or desk I highly recommend assessing the status of your posture by having someone take photos of you sitting and standing as you normally do from the front, side, and back and taking a look. In some cases you can look at yourself in the mirror, but it's better to get a look at yourself in your natural position, not craning your neck to take a look. But what does good posture look like anyway?

PROPER POSTURE FOR SITTING Given that many of us have desk-centric jobs and spend a good deal of time at work, in the car, watching TV, and writing books (ahem), you can imagine that the effects of posture while you're sitting add up. I'd rate this as the most important situation in which we need to work on having good posture, simply because we spend most of our time doing it and it has the most deleterious effect on our bodies when we do it poorly. For A+ posture while sitting, your back should be "straight" (all natural curves present and supported), your shoulders down and back, head "floating" toward the ceiling, stomach sucked in, weight equally distributed between your hips, knees at 90 degree angles at a height similar to your hips, and feet flat on the floor. If you're working at a desk, your chair and desk should be at 209

Day 26 heights that allow your forearms to be parallel to the ground with a 90 degree angle in your elbows, minimal bend in the wrist, and with the computer screen at or slightly below eye level.

Avoid crossing your ankles or legs or jutting your chin out towards the computer screen. If you use the phone, don’t hold it between your shoulder and ear but invest in a headset or use your hand to hold it (switching hands periodically to stay balanced). If you sit with your wallet in your back pocket, please stop! This puts your hip bones at different heights and aggravates the lower back. The postures below and ones like it are okay for a moment, but don’t stay like this for long. Even maintaining perfect posture indefinitely isn’t ideal. The best thing you can do is switch your position around frequently (favoring perfect posture) and getting up to take frequent breaks.

Because sitting puts a lot of pressure on our spines, getting up to move around and stretch about every 30 minutes is highly recommended. Building the strength and endurance in your core muscles will make maintaining good posture all the easier. 210

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PROPER POSTURE FOR STANDING Looking at ourselves from the front or back, shoulders and hips should be level with each other, feet, hips, and shoulders should be the same distance away from your center line (right on top of each other), and your head should not be tilted to the left or right. From the side, a plumb line should pass through your earlobe, in front of your shoulder joint, midway through your torso, through the hip joint, through your knee joint, and in front of your ankle joint. Note the common, but poor, postures on the right.

I find the easiest way to ensure good posture when standing (or sitting) is to imagine your head is attached to a balloon that is floating up towards the ceiling. When you do this, your shoulders drop down and away from your ears, your neck straightens, your core tightens, and everything stacks up just the way it should. This is when I once again encourage you to "suck it in" and keep your abs tight (as you should, as often as possible). Your weight is slightly more on the balls of your feet, your knees are slightly bent, your feet are about shoulder-width apart, your arms hang naturally down at your sides, your shoulders are down and back, stomach pulled in, and your chin is level. If you find this or any other proper posture position hard to maintain, hold it for as long and as often as you can and eventually you will become strong enough to do it all the time without much thought. Like so many things, good posture is a habit and takes time to build. Doing the exercises and stretches in this book should help correct any tightness and/or weakness that are limiting your good posture, so keep up the good work!


Day 26

PROPER POSTURE FOR LIFTING I'm betting that most back problems have their origins in poor posture in general but the final straw would be improper lifting. It can take just one instance of poor lifting posture to send your back into spasm, strain, or worse. A good, all-around method for lifting something is as follows. Firstly, do not try to lift something that is too heavy for you. Stand close to and face the object you are about to lift with feet firmly planted in a slightly wider than normal stance. Keep your back straight and supported with your core tight as you bend your knees and lower down toward the object (your back should not change position throughout the movement - do not bend at your waist or "round" your back). Hug the object close to your body, breathe out, and use your leg muscles to straighten your knees in a steady motion. When you put the object back down, just reverse these steps.

When moving the object, keep your feet moving forward and take smaller steps. Take your time! Move your entire body when turning. Do not twist only your upper body and do not twist on your way up as this is how injuries can happen. Avoid lifting heavy items above waist level. Check out the next photo series for an example of starting with the object too far away, twisting to pick it up, and slouching while bending over.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Going forward, try to increase your awareness of your posture and how it feels to your body throughout the day. The more often you think about it, the more often you will correct it, and the quicker it will become a habit. I rarely have to think about maintaining good posture now because after years of practice it has become my default position. In fact, I only notice it when my posture starts to slip because it feels so unnatural. In the beginning, better posture may feel unnatural since you are used to your current posture. I promise that if you stick with it you will feel the benefits! Once your body is trained for good posture, it’s almost impossible to have bad posture. While taking this day’s photos, I tried really hard to mimic bad posture and could barely do it! My spine would not physically bend into a hunch back position no matter how hard I tried, but that’s what I’d call a ‚high quality problem‛. Now, time for our cardio workout!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! I’d like to share some thoughts about today’s quote. One of the things I love about fitness is that it is generally fair and equal opportunity. By that I mean: fitness doesn’t care what your color is, your gender, your creed, your financial status, or anything else. No matter who you are, you get what you put into it. You can’t buy your way to a healthy, strong body. I mean, sure, you can hire trainers and personal chefs and things like that, but you still have to be the one to do the workouts and eat the food. Yes, each of us has our own personal genetics and things working with or against us, but in general, fitness is there in equal measure for each and every one of us.


Day 26

How are you cardio workouts going? Now that we’re doing a full 30minutes I’d expect you’re really starting to see improvements! I hope you’re still stretching and taking good care of yourself afterwards. The light is at the end of the tunnel! Only a few days left! I’ll see you then!


Day 27

EXERCISE IS FULL OF PRINCIPLE There are a slew of exercise principles that govern the world of fitness (which we will certainly discuss in future books), but none as important as the principle of progressive overload. This principle is the driving force behind achieving muscular adaptation. Without it, we could never improve. The principle of progressive overload states that we must continually overload our muscles more than normal in order to stimulate growth. As the body adapts to a new level of strength, we must overload again. As strong as we may get, we must continue to progressively increase the challenge our muscles face in order to keep them changing. This is how we keep from reaching or staying on a plateau. That being said, we want to increase the challenge to our muscles gradually over time so we don’t hurt ourselves. It’s like being Goldilocks; finding a challenge that isn’t too easy and isn’t too hard, but is just right. We have a few options for how to do this. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Increase Volume – doing more repetitions or sets of an exercise. Increase Intensity – lifting more weight or doing a harder variation. Increase Frequency – doing more strength training sessions per week. Increasing Tension – spending more time under tension, like when we hold the plank or do slower repetitions, for example.

So far in this book we have been aiming to increase our repetitions of each exercise (volume) and the level of difficulty of the exercises from workout to workout (intensity). Perhaps you have even tried doing your repetitions slower and have increased your time under tension as a result. In this book, we increased how many training sessions you were doing from probably zero to three strength training workouts per week, so that’s already great. In future books we will definitely play with this option more. It is recommended that we only change one of these four things at a time. If we did more than that we would increase the chances of doing too much and risk getting injured or overtraining. Remember that exercise is just the stimulus and we need to allow our body to recover in between sessions so that it has time to repair and rebuild. Another golden rule of progressive overload is to increase your volume first, then intensity. That’s just what we’ve done by sticking with one workout at a time and aiming to increase our repetitions workout to workout before moving on to a more intense workout and repeating the process. 216

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One There are a couple of other tricks up my sleeve to keep us progressing. You can rest less between sets of exercises as a way to increase intensity. Suppose you’re doing 3 sets of 12 reps and feeling good about it. You could do those same 3 sets of 12 next time, but do them in less time overall. If your first workout took you 32 minutes to complete, you could aim for 30 minutes next time. Also, you can (and should) focus on moving through your fullest range of motion for every exercise. Engaging more of each muscle will lead to better results in strength as well as flexibility. Taking longer to do each repetition will also increase your time under tension. No matter how you decide to engage in progressive overload, just remember that form is still your top priority. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that more is always better. We always want to emphasis quality over quantity. Keep all of this in mind as we come to a close with one of our last strength training workouts of this book. Wow. Let’s do it!

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! The strongest muscles in your body, pound for pound, are your masseter muscles (in your jaw) and are responsible for chewing. The smallest muscles (and bones) are located in your middle ear and include the tensor tympani and stapedius.


Day 27


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One


Day 27 There. Aren't you proud of yourself! "I really regret that workout", said no one ever. Keep it up! You've put yet another excellent workout under your belt! I'll see you tomorrow!


Day 28

FITNESS MYTHS: BUSTED The stubbornness of some of the fitness myths that prevail out there is amazing. With any luck, you're already aware of some of these shenanigans and none of this will be news. Unfortunately, I still run into people who believe these myths and misconceptions pretty often, so let's clear the air of them once and for all! MYTH: SPOT REDUCTION This one is my least favorite and the one I still hear the most, so I'm going straight for it! Spot reduction, or targeted fat loss, is the misconception that you can reduce body fat on a certain area of the body by training muscles in that area. Most commonly we're talking about the stomach (and sometimes back of the arms or inner thighs). The idea is that to lose fat on your stomach you should do lots of crunches or something. This is totally false. Alas, fat is gained and lost in a mostly "all over" manner. It makes sense on some level to think this is true. Why wouldn't you burn more fat around the muscles you're working, right? But think about it, if this were the case then we'd be a sight to behold! People would be disproportional and malformed looking. Tennis players would have one arm bigger than the other with unwanted fat hanging around their non-dominant arm and runners would have great legs but would be top heavy if they neglected to exercise their upper bodies. I think maintaining balanced proportions in your body is part of the body's wisdom. Spot reduction can't and shouldn't exist (and doesn't) and it wouldn't serve us well if it did. A lot of fitness marketing is aimed at your "trouble areas", suggesting programs that will get rid of "muffin tops", "spare tires", "granny arms", and "saddlebags" by doing targeted exercises for that area. This is ineffective snake oil. Muscle building is site specific, but fat loss is not, so building up muscle in particular areas will certainly add definition and add to your overall metabolism, but won't shrink that particular area. I do think that filling in your muscles a bit helps these trouble areas look and work a lot better, don't get me wrong, it just won't particularly eliminate the fat in that area. Your best bet for losing fat is always to burn more calories than you take in. Do your cardio workouts to burn calories now, do your strength training to raise your metabolism long term, build muscle, and create a balanced body, and nourish your body with healthy food. It's not magic; it's science, math, and hard work!


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One MYTH: STRENGTH TRAINING WILL MAKE WOMEN BULKY Gosh, I hate this one. No. Just no. Women just don't produce the testosterone necessary to create big muscles and the kind of strength training most of us do just doesn't produce results like that. If a woman is on steroids or is undertaking a very high-intensity lifting plan with a strict diet and has some genetics going in her favor, then maybe she would get bigger muscles than most. In my experience, women compact as they strength train. Instead of getting bulky, we tend to get leaner and tighter (toned). Women are not men and our bodies do not respond the same as theirs to strength training. Period. MYTH: CARDIO IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN STRENGTH TRAINING Cardio has amazing health benefits, helps us burn calories, and is a solid piece of any healthy lifestyle. Strength training gives you definition, functional strength, a higher metabolism overall, and keeps your body healthy and injury free. If all you did was go running every day, for an example, and did no strength training, your body would eat most of your muscle mass, resulting in a much lower metabolism overall, and you would be far more prone to overuse injuries and lack functional strength for day to day activities. If you only strength trained, you would fare much better overall because you can work a cardiovascular element into strength training pretty easily. You’ve probably noticed that you breathe and sweat pretty hard during your strength training workouts, right? Cardio and strength training are both important and hopefully we never have to choose just one, but if I had to pick one it would be strength training all the way. Ideally, you would always do both cardio and strength training on an ongoing basis, though it really depends on your personal goals. Most people like cardio activities more (like dancing, biking, skating, etc), so it’s easy to lean on cardio, but I would urge you to do both! MYTH: NO PAIN, NO GAIN This one is as old as exercise, huh? Just because it rhymes doesn't mean it's true! I mean, I think this expression could just be saying that work is required to get improvements. However, it's mostly used to suggest that if you're not in pain during and after your workout you didn't work out hard enough or that if you're in pain, you should keep going. No. You do not need to be in pain to have gotten a good workout and by all means, if you're ever doing something that hurts, please stop! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the work ethic, but work smarter, not harder (now that's an expression that rhymes and is right on!). I would change this to ‚no effort, no effect‛. There, I fixed it!


Day 28 MYTH: IT'S TOO LATE TO START WORKING OUT Never! You will add years to your life and life to your years by being active at any age. The trick is to find a good match for yourself activity-wise and work at an intensity that is appropriate for you. Google Ernestine Shepherd if you ever need motivation. MYTH: STRETCHING PRE-WORKOUT PREVENTS INJURY I touched on this when I talked about stretching and warming up, but this is (mostly) a myth. Warming up by doing dynamic movements before an activity is a great way to get your body ready for activity and prevent injuries. These movements can certainly involve moving through ranges of motion, but static stretching (when you simply hold stretches) has not been shown to have any benefit and can even hurt your performance. Holding stretches before activities that involve generating power is especially detrimental. Stretching is best done after your workouts. MYTH: YOU CAN'T GET A GOOD WORKOUT AT HOME I hope this book is helping you see that's not true! You don't need fancy exercise equipment to get a great workout. However, the best workout will always be the one you actually do, so if you need to get out of the house to get it done, that’s fine. If you can make a comfortable space at home to work out, that’s great too. It doesn’t matter where you work out, just that you do! MYTH: I'VE BEEN EXERCISING SO I CAN EAT WHAT I WANT Erm, well, yes and no. It's basically always going to come down to calories in VS calories out, so you can't eat more calories than you need and not gain weight, even if you exercise. However, if you're regularly exercising and eating the right things most of the time, it is true that your body tolerates deviations better. My body handles a piece of cake a lot better than someone who never exercises. Does that mean I avoid all negative consequences of eating the cake though? No. These things are not good for you, end of story. When you're exercising, you need to make sure you're getting the right nutrients to build and fuel your body. You can't build muscles with cupcakes! MYTH: YOU HAVE TO EXERCISE ALL THE TIME Well, no, not really. It's true that if you want greater than average results, that can mean more time spent achieving them, but even if you exercised for an hour every day, that's still only 4% of your time each week. As we've discussed, rest days are important to allow your body to recover. If 224

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One you're doing efficient workouts, you can get in and out of there a lot faster. If you're dilly dallying then yeah, your workout can drag on. Also, more is not always more. At some point, you reach a point of diminishing returns where you've gotten what you can out of it for the week and now it's time to rest. If you're doing too much, you'll likely end up with an injury or burnout and then won't be doing much of anything for quite a while. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times: it's all about balance. MYTH: A CELEBRITY BODY IS WHAT I SHOULD STRIVE FOR Let me ask you a question. Do you have a trainer, nutritionist, personal chef, personal assistant, stylist, nanny, and Photoshop? Because they do. We everyday people's lives aren't like that. Strive to be the best version of you, whatever that is. Comparing yourself to someone who has to look incredible for their job and has teams of people to help them do it is really unfair. Not to mention how unfair it would be to compare yourself to someone with a completely different body type and genetic profile. I'm 5'4" and will never be 5'10" so why compare myself to someone that height? Apples and oranges. Plus, most of them don't really look as "perfect" as what we see. To put my own spin on an Einstein quote: "Everybody is beautiful. But if you judge a person by their ability to look like an airbrushed model, they will live their whole life believing that they are ugly." MYTH: IT'S BEST TO WORK OUT IN THE MORNING There is no one-size-fits-all time to exercise. The best time to exercise is the time that works for your schedule and your energy levels. The important thing is that you do it, not when.

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! You may have heard that you should get 10,000 steps a day. We burn about 100 calories per mile, whether we walk or run. If you run, you just burn it faster. There are about 2,000 steps in one mile, so if you get 10,000 steps per day, you've walked about 5 miles. That means you're burning about 500 calories per day by walking, which is pretty darn great! While a great recommendation, the main reason to monitor your steps is to increase them overall.


Day 28 Phew, I'm glad we've put those to rest! Speaking of, enjoy the rest of your rest day!


Day 29

COMMIT TO BE FIT If there is one word that comes to mind when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it's commitment. The thing about commitment is that it's not just something you do once and you're done. You have to recommit over and over again. With maintaining a healthy diet, this may mean you're recommitting every time you think about food. You see a tempting treat, but before you devour it, you remind yourself of your goals and you recommit to them. Then you back away from the treat and go about your day. Sometimes when we make a commitment, we ignore or make light of the process necessary to make our commitment happen. The fact is nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Marriages don't work unless we continuously commit ourselves to our partners and the life we create with them. Students don't end up with straight A's if they don't commit to studying and doing the work required. Likewise, if we're committing to a healthy lifestyle, we need to exercise and eat healthfully, at least most of the time. You know how I love my charts and infographics, so here's one that helps you gauge your commitment level at any given moment:


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One I find this to be a helpful tool as far as drawing awareness to our current state of commitment and the attitude you need to adopt to move up to the next level.

IDENTIFYING AND OVERCOMING BARRIERS What are the things that derail our commitment? Let's call them barriers. The way to be most successful at any goal is to remove the barriers between yourself and your goal. How do we remove them? First, we must identify them so we know what they are. Then, we develop strategies to move past them. BARRIER: I don't have the time to exercise/I'm too busy for exercise. STRATEGIES: Time is never the problem here. We all have 24 hours in a day. The issue here is actually your priorities. Whatever is important to you is how you will spend your time. So, what are you spending your time doing? Can you trim them back, do them faster, or delegate them to someone else? Be honest. Sometimes clients wax poetic about how they just don't have time then go on about the latest TV show they're watching. We all need to unwind, but if you have time to watch TV, you have time to exercise. I often listen to TED talks or watch a show while I’m working out. Instead of saying, ‚I don’t have time‛, try this one: ‚it’s not a priority‛ and see how that feels. It’s brutally honest, right? Outside of that, I do have some practical tips. Break up your workouts into smaller segments. You can divide up your cardio workouts and walks into shorter bouts of 10 minutes and sprinkle them into your day. For strength training workouts, you could just do 2 sets of each exercise if necessary or do the first half of the workout in the morning and the second half in the evening. Get up earlier. I know, it’s not my favorite either, but it's a great way to start your day right! For some of us, getting up an extra half hour or an hour earlier wouldn't be a huge loss, especially when it's not every day. Try to combine activities. Busy with the kids? Do your workouts with them or bring them on an active outing (like ice skating, rock climbing, or a trip to the pool) to entertain them while you all get exercise. Need to go to the store? Walk, run, or bike there. Talking on the phone? Pace around while you do it. Get creative about how you can combine the things you already do daily with exercise and physical activity.


Day 29 BARRIER: I get bored easily and give up on working out. STRATEGIES: You're less likely to get bored of the things you really like, so try choosing things you enjoy as much as possible. Like biking? Do that for your cardio. Love the beach? That's a great place to do your walk! Like bird watching? Find a place you can walk around and spot some winged friends. Get out there and be creative! Try combining your needs. It'll keep you more motivated if you're doing something that fills more than just your need to exercise. Combining exercise with hanging out with your friends also fills your need to socialize. Working out while outside also fulfills your need for natural connection. Trying something active and new also fulfills your need for novelty. Giving that yoga class a try also fulfills your need for relaxation. Combining your needs will help keep you from getting bored and contributes to overall wellness. Switch it up! Throw in a different strength training workout here and there. Maybe you go back to the first workout in this book to see how you're improving. Maybe you try an exercise video for variety. Maybe you're switching your cardio between an aerobics class, walking, biking, and an elliptical machine. We don't want to get all "Exercise ADD" on ourselves and switch every minute, but sometimes our routine needs a break. BARRIER: I'm self-conscious and don't want to exercise around others. STRATEGIES: I'm very familiar with this one. It's part of the reason my fitness studio is totally private and part of the reason I wrote this book! Hopefully by now you see that you can do your workouts in the comfort of your own home or back yard or wherever and you don't have to be around anyone if you don't want to (spoken like a true introvert). I find other people distracting, so I vastly prefer doing my workouts solo. You do whatever works for you. Try to switch your perspective. People have said to me that they don't want to go walking or jogging outside because they're worried about people judging them. I tell you what. When I see someone out there getting their fitness on, I'm totally cheering that person on. I've spent years asking people what they think when they see someone huffing it down the sidewalk and they all said the same exact thing. 230

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Most people are too busy thinking about themselves to worry about what you're doing. Secondly, there's no way to know what people are thinking and they could just as easily be thinking something really good. Lastly, even if someone was judging you, who the heck are they to do so? Show me the person who is perfect and they can judge us, how about that? So there! BARRIER: I'm too tired to work out. STRATEGIES: I tend to do ‚all the things‛ and burn myself into a little crisp, so this is usually my biggest excuse. Here's the thing though. Exercise gives you energy. I know that the first step can be vicious, but just start doing something. Anything. I do this and before I know it, I'm in the groove, feeling better, and I've got at least a pretty good workout done. Sometimes I even surprise myself and do more than I thought I would. Just go for it! This is going to be where I come back to waking up a little earlier. If you get your workout done first thing, the energy you receive will carry into the rest of your day and it will be much more productive. Doing your workout in the morning ensures that it gets done before everything else railroads it into obscurity. Not going to happen? Fit your workout into your lunch hour to gift yourself a mid-day boost before the slump hits you. Do less. Not exercise, I'm talking about all the other stuff you do. Maybe your plate is just too full. I know this is my biggest problem. Learn to say "no" more often. Take a deep breath and calm the urge to plow through your entire to-do list. Remember our self-full talk? You can't serve from an empty cup, so make sure you fill up regularly. BARRIER: I'm afraid I'll hurt myself if I exercise. STRATEGIES: I hope that you have remained injury free throughout this book or at least not gotten any new injuries! Generally, the best things you can do to ensure your safety during a workout is to go slowly, listen to your body, and stick with things you feel comfortable with. Give yourself a couple days after trying something new to see how it affected you. Work on creating a ready list of things you know you can do safely. With very few exceptions, exercise is recommended for everyone and is more beneficial than it is risky. 231

Day 29 BARRIER: My family isn't being supportive of my goals. STRATEGIES: Sometimes this just comes down to not knowing any better. Educating your family and friends about what you've learned and what you're trying to do and why can do a lot to bring most people on board. An added benefit to this is that teaching is learning twice, so by educating those around you, you're also reinforcing the information for yourself! If someone in your household is making it difficult to stay on task with your diet (bringing junk food in the house, for example), try having a frank discussion with them about how this affects you. You might suggest that they store these temptations elsewhere to ease your burden. Remind them that keeping yourself healthy is good for everyone. In a perfect world, everyone would want to see everyone else succeed. There would be no jealously or insecurity which encourages some to sabotage others. Sadly, sometimes this is the case. Several people have reported to me that upon improving themselves, select family members or friends sought to sabotage them or fell out of favor with them entirely. This can be really hard to endure. However, I would encourage you to consider how your life is almost certainly better without people like this in it. As you elevate your standards for yourself, you also raise the standards you have of those around you. Shedding an old skin sometimes mean shedding people who were attached to it. This is by no means a comprehensive list of barriers, but it's enough for one day! Whatever your barriers are, draw your awareness to them and strategize how you will overcome them. Writing it down and brainstorming on paper can be very helpful. Visualizations of how you will confront these obstacles as they emerge are also helpful. Once you've mentally rehearsed your reactions to certain situations, your reactions become automatic and easier to carry out. Imagine yourself saying "no" to temptation. See yourself getting up in the morning refreshed and ready to exercise. Concentrate on the positive feelings you get after accomplishing a task to condition yourself to see the reward you're getting. For now, you don't have to visualize your walk, because it's time to actually do it! Just one more day and you've completed this entire book! If that's not an amazing start to a journey to wellness, then I don't know what is! Well done and off you go! 232

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

YOU'RE NO DUMBBELL! Whether you view a barrier as a puzzle to solve, an opportunity to grow, or as a threat, your perception of the obstacles before you affects how you react. Thinking of a barrier in negative terms will elicit painful thoughts and emotions that will block your motivation. Fear will cause you to want to flee the situation and shame will urge you to bury it and hide. Instead, make friends with your demons and talk with them like you would a friend. Reason with them, comfort them, and accept that they are part of an important process. It can be difficult to maintain motivation over time, so keep re-evaluating your goals, breaking them into manageable pieces, and celebrate each step that you accomplish.


Day 29


Day 30

YOU MADE IT! If you’re reading this then that means that you have graduated Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One! I am so impressed and proud of you! How do you feel? Take a moment (or several) to celebrate what you’ve accomplished, you’ve earned it! Of course, as a personal trainer, I’m always interested in pursuing growth and keeping you going, so where do we go from here? We have a few options for going forward: • If you want to stay on this current level and want to make sure you really grasped all the contents, then you can simply repeat the book! Start over at Day 1 when you’re ready and focus on improving on your repetitions and RPEs in each workout. Try deepening and expanding your understanding of the knowledge in the book and increase your success rate for implementing it. • Use the workout builders on the next few pages to stick with these exercises but combine them in new ways to keep you going for awhile. You’ll be able to gain a higher level of comfort with the exercises but in ways that are unique to you. • Move up to Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level Two! If you’re feeling comfortable with your improvements during the last 30 days and want to keep it going, then keep going in this series for the next level of workouts and information. • Whether you decide to move on, stay here, or go to the next level, keep an eye on my website, Facebook page, and Instagram to keep in touch and hear about new books, additional workouts, PDFs of charts and logs, videos, events, and more!

www.FitWithCassandra.com www.Facebook.com/FitWithCassandra www.Instagram.com/FitWithCassandra If you loved this book, think I’m pretty cool, or just otherwise want to keep me going on my mission to help others, then please give this book a great rating online, tell your friends, look out for any workshops, events, or signings coming up, and please purchase future Fit With Cassandra products  236

Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One

BUILDING YOUR OWN WORKOUTS Now that you've got a decent library of exercises built up, you can put together your own workouts to keep yourself going and change things up a bit. In the next table, I have outlined three workout formats: standard, wellrounded, and core-centric. The four workouts we covered in this book are like the standard format. Well-rounded workouts give you an equal number of upper body, lower body, and core exercises. Core-centric is half core and half upper/lower body.

Below is a list of all the exercises we’ve learned in this book and their categories. Some could belong in more than one category, but I listed them by their primary focus area. As you can see, we have many combinations to work with! Use the ‚Level 1 Workout Builder‛ formats above as a guide and select exercises from below to fill in the templates on the following pages.


Day 30 Here are two example workouts based on the core-centric and wellrounded templates above and mixing and matching some exercises.


Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One Here are some blank templates for you to make your own workouts! Make copies of this blank template so you can make as many workouts as you want! Check my website or contact me if you need more blank templates.


Day 30 Thank you for joining me on this journey and for including me in yours. I am forever humbled by your trust, your commitment, and your strength! In wellness,




Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One




Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One




Every Day Fitness for Everyday People: Level One




ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cassandra Wyzik is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fit With Cassandra Private Fitness Studio in Florida. She has been dedicated to the pursuit of wellness since the age of 18 when she accidentally discovered the field of Exercise Science. As a Ravenclaw and enneagram type 5, she relishes the pursuit of excellence and hopes to spend her life helping as many people as possible live holistically healthier lives. Between writing you can find her knitting, traveling, reading, curling up with one of her many cats, playing harp or violin, figure skating with her son, Roman, and adventuring with her husband, Derek.