I spoke with my brother yesterday who said he could use some help with his sciatica. Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the spine and runs down the back of each leg. It controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Sciatica pain can vary widely. It may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or a burning sensation. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. So what can one do to help? A simple, yet rather uncomfortable yoga asana called Lizard Pose. I cover Lizard in Lesson #30 of my Yoga Survival Guide, aptly named Zoo Yoga. So if you could use a little relief, as I encouraged my brother to do, spend 4 minutes a day in Lizard (2 per side), then roll over on your back and come into Happy Baby for another minute – which is also covered in the same lesson. Remember to slow your breath and try not to wiggle around in the pose, however uncomfortable it may be. And enjoy your time at the LA Zoo!
Start from scratch
This morning I spoke with this twenty-something year old Ethiopian guy who moved here to pursue the American dream. You know the one: money, kids, cars, a big house – am I forgetting anything? Well, he explained to me how his family is considered wealthy by Ethiopian standards, with a nice house and a live-in servant for $20/month (yes, $20), and how he’s basically had to “start from scratch” since arriving two years ago. Because regardless of his perceived wealthy past, he’s had to start from square one here in the United States. Just like many people and their fitness programs. If you haven’t worked out in a really long time, well, you’ll just have to start from scratch. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, why not make it a good thing! Like with my Ethiopian friend – who has his own apartment, works a full time job and goes to technical college – starting over doesn’t have to be feared. Keep it simple and keep it short, as in 1% of your day. Embrace the challenge and have fun with your new beginning. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves? R
Get a good lead
When you’re a base-runner it’s always best to get a good lead so you’re in a better position to advance. And just like in any sport, and in life, it’s always best to be well-conditioned and well-prepared to achieve whatever advantage you can over the opposition. So let’s consider Mother Nature and Father Time the pitcher and the catcher, and let’s say you’re on base. Why not get a good lead by starting your new daily fitness program today, if you haven’t started one already? Because with all the punishing weather out there it’s easy to just curl up in a ball and chill out on the couch for 12 hours. Well, that sounds relaxing, but don’t forget to get your workout in, even if you stretch out and work your abs for 15 minutes. Hint: “Thursday’s 15 Minute Fat Burning Workout”. Plus, you’ll get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get in shape or start sculpting that bikini body for next summer. So take advantage of Mother Nature and Father Time and get started today. And don’t forget the sugar-free hot chocolate! R
Ode to my sister
I spoke with my sister yesterday after I received her beautiful pictures of my nieces and nephews, including my brother’s children. This holiday season my family is 3,000 miles away, but for sure I’m there in spirit. And keeping with that holiday spirit, my sister told me she just started my fat burning workouts and intends to lose 12 pounds. The key word here – intends – as opposed to hopes. Because with anything you do that requires action, it’s better to set your intentions and make it happen than to hope for something good to happen. She also told me the first two days her legs were so tired she couldn’t go for her 2 mile walk – which she also just started. I told her after a week or so that muscle fatigue will get better and she’ll be jogging those miles in no time. This Ode’s for you sis…
Burn Fat Burn
Sometimes the path seems filled with pain,
but the only thing that hurts is your ego in vain.
Who says you’ll find success by pushing yourself daily,
when the results seem as far as the comet Halley.
But wait, you say, there’s a simple solution,
because reasons and excuses are just an illusion.
So keep on trucking with that positive attitude,
with fat burning workouts there’s no room for platitude.
Always set your intentions and just let’em fly,
no judgment, no worries, to your old ways goodbye!
Merry Christmas Everyone – R
What are friends for?
This morning I met this fifty-something gal in the gym with a great body who’s always there. The first thing I asked her was if she worked out everyday. She said yes. Then I said, 5 days as week, and she gave me this look like are you crazy, and emphatically says, “No, 7 days”. Then along comes her fifty-something guy friend who meekly says, “ahhhhh, I won’t be here tomorrow so Merry Christmas”. She then gives him the exact look she gave me and asks why not. The man hesitates and says he won’t be there because he has to baby-sit his grandkids. So she proclaims, “At 5 o’clock in the morning, oh come on Johnny, you better be here!” Now what are friends for, right? Just that. To care about you, to support you, to motivate you, and to make you accountable when things get hard – like working out everyday at 5am. I totally understand why some people have more success with a fitness or weight loss program when they have a partner, or network of like-minded, mutually supportive individuals to help them through the tough times. So if you’re that type of person who benefits from the extra push from your friends, then embrace it and find your workout partner today! And get started with your daily fitness program – whatever it may be. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves? R
In my opinion, this is the most important lifestyle and yoga principle that everyone should embrace. And I truly dislike that word should because it implies that one is projecting their personal standards and opinions upon another. But in this case it applies. Because whether or not you did or didn’t do something, like shirking a responsibility, or not working out, or partying too much, or being mean to your parents or your dog, well, forget about it and don’t judge yourself for doing it. It’s in the past and every new moment gives you a new beginning. No reason to waste energy, effort and feelings on something you can’t change. Especially when it comes to other people. Because for sure we can’t change what others do or say. And why should we or even want to? That’s what makes life interesting. The uniqueness of people we meet who impact our lives and help us evolve in whatever subtle or major way. All this coming from a guy who was once the life of the party who also judged. Believe me, anyone can change at any given moment, if you really want to. Or like my father used to say to me in baseball, “you gotta wanna bunt”. So let go of any judgment you may have for anything you did today or this holiday season. And I’ll see you tomorrow. R
Welcome to a new Fat Burning lifestyle!
What does fat burning mean to you? Is it a specific thing, or action, or result? To me it’s a lifestyle. I know we hear that word a lot and in too many scenarios, but for the most part we all know what lifestyle means, right? Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture “. I define it as the way you choose to live your life. Yes, choose.
Because your choice of what’s “the typical way” for you impacts everything you do, and subsequently how you feel. And how you feel is what really matters. Because it permeates you, affecting your overall mental and physical well-being. It’s simple really. Lifestyle = Actions = Feelings. So where am I going with all this? I’m going to the three simple rules I reinforce in every one of my 15 minute fat burning workouts: think positive, speak positive and feel positive. And by positive I mean you can workout every day, you can make healthy choices about what you eat and drink every day, you can speak only positive words regarding any situation or circumstance – because there are positives in everything we experience, and finally, you can feel positive all the time by adhering to the first two simple rules. Trust me. It works. So forget about the potentially hazaradous lifestyle you think you currently have, because those are just thoughts you can change whenever you choose to. So choose to join me for a fat burning lifestyle, one that includes working out every single day for at least the next 30 years. And I’ll see you tomorrow.
Peace – R