What Defines You?

I was briefly sidelined from running due to a bum butt about three years ago. My gluteus medius needed a break from running and I begged my PT for other cardio/workout options. They were limited. Recumbant bike, aka the one that makes your butt go numb and your back ache. And flat-surface walking. Like I don’t do enough of that already. Oh, and I could swim a little. My hair loved that month of swimming.

I was concerned at my hair while at the pool from a very young age. Also, isn't my hot pink numbers swimsuit just THE BEST?! I totally remember loving it!

It wasn’t that long without running and I had the bike and the pool and weights and stuff to keep me occupied. I feel like I have ADD when it comes to working out, except where running is concerned. Anyway, one month flew by with my PT and I was back at it, one mile at a time, because I followed all of the instructions given to me and let my body heal.

But what if it was longer? What if, in the future, I have to lay off of running for a longer stretch of time? What if it’s harder to get back to?

Clearly, running is my happy place. Running in Yankees Stadium is euphoric.

So many of my friends are currently experiencing running-related injuries that have sidelined them from running entirely for the foreseeable future. Many of them are not recovering as quickly as I did, despite following a variety of trained professionals’ advice, and the it seems that they may not return to running very soon.

Many of you define yourselves as “runners”. Me, too. But, don’t let running define YOU.

Run. Have fun. Race. Run fast. Commit to it. Work hard. PR.

But do something else, too. I have found balance in my life, and more happiness than I could ever imagine, but incorporating other things into my fitness world. Flywheel, yoga, apparently I am trying Zumba with LB, maybe one day I’ll buy a bike and do a try, whatever. I’m not afraid of not being able to run one day (maybe forever) because running doesn’t define me.

Never met a spin bike I didn't love.

Don’t let it define you. So, if one day you find that you have to cut back, take a break, or give it up entirely, you’ll be like, “that sucks, but at least I can still ________.” You know? Remember Obi-wan’s guest post? You gotta be flexible ‘cuz you never know what curveball life is going to throw at you.

Branch out. Have fun. Find things that get you going. It won’t be the same as running, but that’s ok. It’ll be something. It’ll be different. And different is good.

Now go out and run (while you still can!).

Speaking of injuries and branching out, running season is upon us! As you gear up to add mileage or hit the road for the first time, you’ll need a quick tune-up before you get going. Or maybe you have a nagging pain you can’t quite fix? Join me and my friends, Dr. Shure and yogi Lara Benusis,for a Total Body Tune-Up on Sunday, April 1st at the E. 66th St. lululemon. Have Dr. Shure check you out, get stretching/yoga advice from Lara and ask me anything about running! See you there. Don’t forget to RSVP!

Know Thy Self

As a personal trainer, my job often entails helping individuals lose weight, start a fitness routine, or reach a personal fitness goal, among other things. One of the problems I usually come across (especially in Manhattan!) is that overly-ambitious starter.

You know these people. After a long hiatus from the gym or never having ever worked out before, they come out of the gates full blast, ready for everything. They sign up for a month of boot camp classes, 3 days a week of workouts with me, promise to run 5 days a week and double down with yoga every other day.

That’s a lot of working out, even for a seasoned veteran. But no, the overly-ambitious starter is gung-ho and ready to go.

And a three weeks later, they drop right off my radar and are never to be heard from again.

You see, these people don’t know themselves at all. Not their fitness selves, anyway. You have to start with the truth about you, about your schedule, about your goals and about what you’re ready to commit to in the fitness world. Without honest answers to the following questions, you will not have a successful fitness routine.

  1. What do I like to do for exercise?
  2. What do I need to do for exercise?
  3. How many days a week and hours a day can I commit to working out?
  4. Do I prefer to work out alone or in groups?
  5. What are my fitness goals?

I guide people through these questions and then we come up with a fitness routine that they can stick to in the long run, not the short term. I also find that they are far more successful if I start slowly and add on as we go along. Usually, every 3-4 weeks I try to make a change to their fitness routine. I add a class, provide a really challenging high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout in our sessions, or change their cardio routine just enough to keep them challenged.

The point is, you can’t expect your life to change overnight. If you have a new baby, you’re probably not going to be able to work out at the same intensity or for the same amount of time that you did pre-baby. You’re tired. Give yourself a break. Maybe workout twice a day for only 25 minutes each so that you aren’t trying to squeeze a full 45-50 minute workout in when you’re also breastfeeding. Do you hate to run? Don’t do it. Swim, walk, cycle. Does working out in a class setting deter you from going to the gym? Get your sweat on one-on-one with a trainer or grab PX90 videos and do it at home.

Know thy self and work with what you got. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

Now go out and run!