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Slimmer WITHOUT Exercise

You read that title correctly: “Slimmer WITHOUT Exercise.” Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, also know as “NEAT,” needs to be on your radar. The data is compelling. The simplest application? Here:

Employ short bursts of movement (non-exercise)

repeatedly and often throughout your day.

That’s it.

Easy, peasy.

In understanding NEAT, remember that BMR (basal metabolic rate) is altered through increasing your lean body mass. (Which, by the way, is Blakely FIT’s mission*) NEAT, on the other hand, addresses your everyday, non-exercise level of movement. How much time do you spend sitting still, walking to a meeting, gardening , shoveling or carrying your kids up the stairs? The data illustrates that these short bouts of movement (again, non-exercise) have a tremendous impact on your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight and more importantly, decrease your risk factors for significant health concerns.

The take away? Put that walk to the water cooler on a pedestal. Place the distant parking spot in your mind like a trophy. Elevate that dance to the Frozen soundtrack in your list of “great things I did today.” Value the small bouts of movement through out your day and slowly, steadily increase their frequency. The more you do them the more benefits you reap. And all without exercise.

Want more information?

13 minute Dr. Levine video

Book on Amazon

USA Today Q&A with Dr. Levine

*BMR continued…Strength training increases the amount of lean muscle we have and in turn increases our daily calorie expenditure even when we are at rest – awesome, right?

Healthy? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.

A few girlfriends and I celebrated a 40th birthday at King Spa and Sauna in Niles, IL. I highly recommend it. It is a unique, international and visceral experience. This enormous facility has same gender pools (no swimsuits ladies), saunas, heat rooms, communal relaxation, nap room, meditation room, body treatments, fresh food and a movie theater. Take a look at the website here! Enjoy!

King Spa Pool

King Spa and Sauna

Gals at King Spa

“Help” Is the Answer

In an effort to unwind, I watched a little “Date Night” last night. I laughed, smiled and renewed my appreciation for Mark Whalberg’s work out regimen (sincerely Mark, thank you.) In enjoying the impeccable timing of Tina Fey and Steve Carrell, I was also given a gentle reminder: get help. About 50 minutes in, Tina Fey’s character vents about the exhaustion of being a wife, mother and professional. I love this clip. She monologues her daily routine and fantasizes being alone to enjoy a sandwich in a quiet, cool hotel room with out anyone touching or needing her. It always makes me simultaneously laugh and nod. What I usually over look is Steve Carrell’s character’s offer to help, to make her life easier, if she’ll let him.
What does all this have to do with exercise and being healthy? A lot. Health is largely dependent on habits. If we don’t say no or make room for other people/services to lighten the load, exercise and healthful eating rarely happen. So, take a tip from “Date Night.” Look around and see if there is anyone that could help you manage your “to do” list. Are you missing out on a healthier life because you insist on doing it all “my way” or alone? Don’t. Ask for help and take it. It just might be your key to a healthier lifestyle.
PS Mom, yes I’d love to take you up on your offer – please bring 6 foil Happy Birthday balloons on Sunday :). Thanks!

WomanInSunhatGoing to be out in the sun this weekend? Do your skin, beauty and health a favor by staying in the shade, wearing sunblock and donning sunproof clothing. Not that fair? Doesn’t matter. As Dr. Emily Arch of Aesthetics and Dermatology of Wicker Park (love her) insightfully stated: “Bob Marley had melanoma.” I recently spoke with Dr. Arch. My two daughters have very different skin tones. I wondered, if I need to be as vigilant with sun protection with both children? (I realize this question sounds horrible on the surface, but you may not have ever had to slather lotion on two elusive toddlers while trying to get out the door.) The short answer: “Yes.” So whatever your skin tone, protect your health and beauty. Be smart in the sun this weekend.

Sun proof clothing sites: Coolibar   Athleta

No time to shop? Dark denim will provide sun protection. And what fabric is more American than denim?

Be safe! Have fun!

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Say “thank you” and stop talking

Shhh ImageWhen did you last say “thank you” with out self deprecating? Moving forward and achieving goals involves accepting where we are at – the not so good and the good. Embrace and be grateful for compliments. It is a sign of respect to the compliment giver, a great example for others and a wonderful motivation when facing a new set of challenges.

Up for a test? Try to say thank you for one week with out self deprecating. Post your experience on our facebook and twitter pages. We’d love to hear about it.

Spring in Your Step

Chicago Botanic Garden 4

So it has been a blue few weeks, right? The news and the weather have been trying (for good reason, but still trying.) Well, if Spring and good news won’t come to us… maybe we need to go to it. Last Sunday, I packed up the kids and hubby for a day trip at the Chicago Botanic Garden. What a boost! Some of the grounds were flooded of course but the landscaping and growth were such a refreshing and inspiring change of pace. Let’s take advantage of these local treasures and lift our spirits by venturing outdoors for some healthy walking and time in nature. Two of my favorites: Chicago Botanic Garden and Morton Arboretum. Don’t have time for that kind of drive? Throw on an extra layer and get to the lakefront – I promise you will feel better afterward.

Want to go for free? Chicago Public Library has Chicago Botanic Garden Family Passes for check out. Just show it at the parking gate for free parking. (Admission into the Garden itself is always free.)

Chicago Botanic Garden 3 Chicago Botanic Garden 2 Chicago Botanic Garden 7 Chicago Botanic Garden 6 Chicago Botanic Garden 5Chicago Botanic Garden 1

My four year old took this - photo journalist on our hands? :)

My four year old took this – photo journalist on our hands? 🙂

Do You Know What You Want?

Last month, one client moved from her coveted 7am slot to another. I immediately knew who to call. A separate client expressed a standing request for that time slot months ago. I was thrilled to send the email and delighted to fit her in the calendar.
What does personal training scheduling have to do with being fit and healthy? I argue – if you don’t know what you want – you’re a lot less likely to get it. Have you ever taken the time to think about what you really want in terms of your health and fitness? Not general wishes as we stand frustrated in front of the fridge or closet. I mean specific contemplative desires.

Part of the intake process for Blakely FIT clients addresses these details but you can take advantage of my experience as a trainer and try this on your own. Here’s how:

  • Set aside one hour
  • Go for a vigorous walk outside with out interaction or disruption for at least 30 minutes (I recommend the lakefront)
  • Arrive at a distraction free location for some quiet time and meditate on the thought: “What do I want?”
  • Write it down

Although simple each of these steps has specific reasoning. The vigorous walk releases important chemicals in your brain, the lack of distractions will reduce peer pressure, being out doors opens us to a sense of freedom, writing solidifies our thoughts. I hope this helps you learn a little bit more about yourself and ultimately brings you closer to a happier, healthier body.