Posts Tagged ‘plan’

Healthy Vacations

Monday, June 13th, 2016

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

Although vacations are supposed to be about relaxation, they don’t have to be about laziness and/or decadence. Gaining weight on a vacation is not unusual, but it doesn’t have to be a given.

First, and most important, is your attitude. If your mindset is that you can eat and drink whatever you want because you’re on vacation, then you will probably gain weight when you are on vacation.

I believe that it is important to use your vacation as a release from your normal daily grind. I don’t believe that all of your releases have to be things that will cause you undo stress when you return. Negative things, such as spending too much money or gaining too much weight will undoubtedly cause you stress. This is not a positive outcome: enjoying yourself for a week or two, only to be stressed for several months afterwards.

Instead of looking at your vacation as a time to let loose in ways that may affect your life negatively, try letting loose in more positive ways. For example, think about vacation as a time of exploration through activity. Whether you are planning a trip to a city or to a more rural location, you can spend many hours, and walk many miles, exploring your surroundings. Any trip can be turned into a “moving vacation” filled with exploration.

The best way to ensure that you will be able to explore your surroundings in a safe and effective manner is to do a little planning. Just arriving at a place you have never been before and having no idea what you will have access to could be a recipe for disaster. Take a little time to learn a little about the geography of where you are going. Make sure you know if your accommodations are near or far from main points of interest and if they are in a safe area. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to New York City, Napa Valley or Budapest, Hungary, a good travel agent can help you find accommodations that will be conducive to walking, running, cycling, etc. If you want special equipment, like bicycles, then make sure you know how and where to rent them.

A mid-point between the specialized touring trip and the self-guided trip is the private guided walking tour. Most major tourist destinations will have private guides available. Hiring a guide for one day will not break the bank and will give you a great insider’s look and education of your surroundings. The private aspect of this is very valuable; you can gain a lot of local knowledge regarding non-tourist eateries, pubs, and sights. One good day of a private guided tour will give you several more days of meaningful self-exploration.

Getting up every day and exploring your surroundings in an active way is a very gratifying way to spend your vacation. You will feel infinitely more connected to your destination seeing it through daily walks and exploration, and it is a way to become much more of a local than you ever could just riding in cabs or on buses.

Don’t just go on a trip, experience it! Getting out of the cab and off the bus and walking or riding through a new place is the way to do this.

Besides increasing your activity on vacation, you can also see it as an opportunity to better control your eating. In reality, most people eat less frequently on vacation than they do at home. Notice I said less frequently, not less quantity. On vacation, most people eat three meals, or even two, a day. On vacation, access to food is less than at home. Without your own kitchen, the ability to sit and snack is less, especially at night. On vacation, when dinner is over and you retire to your room, that’s it. Even if there is a mini bar with a few incredibly expensive snacks, most people do not sit in bed and eat chips or cookies; they go to bed.

On vacation, you are not surrounded with cabinets and refrigerators full of tempting food. It makes sense to try and capitalize on this reality. Since you will not be as tempted to eat in between meals, all you have to do is get in the mindset to make better choices at the meals you do have.

Your activity level will be up, because you are busy exploring your surroundings, and you are not snacking, so you certainly can eat a hearty meal, just make it healthy. Again, vacation is very conducive to this. Most areas that tourists frequent have a higher quality of food and more fresh food choices than chain restaurants. Take advantage of the variety and freshness of foods we find in tourist locations. Try new things, experience new meats, veggies and salads.

Eating healthy portions of good food will not cause you to gain weight on vacation. Eating the same junk food you find at home or bringing your own snacks with you to fill up your hotel room will. Don’t go on vacation just to eat fast food—what a waste. Use vacation as a time to expand your palate and enjoy fresh food at a slow pace. Remember what it is like to enjoy the act of eating again.

Normal healthy eating and moderate regular activity is a springboard to a healthier you, both at home and on vacation.

Vitamin Sea

Responsibility Plan

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYWhen you achieve the goal of accepting total personal responsibility for your health and fitness, you reap rewards.

The first step of accepting responsibility for your health and fitness is the most important. You must admit it: admit that you and only you are responsible for your wellness. This is simple, but not always easy. We are taught to look elsewhere and place blame.

We blame the fast food industry, the advertising industry, for “making” us eat too much junk food. We blame our genetics for our less-than-perfect bodies and for making it impossible to lose weight. We blame our busy lives for never having the time to work out. We even blame our age. If I were only younger I could work out, and on and on.

1. Stopping the blame game is the first step. Stop looking around at other people and other things and using them as excuses to stay unfit, overweight and unhealthy. Once you realize that you have the power to make some positive changes in your life to improve your health and fitness, you will. Keep making excuses and saying that it can’t be done, and you will stay exactly where you are.

Once you have given yourself permission to be in control, you are on your way. So now what?

2. Prioritizing is a great next step. Make a prioritized list of what, in terms of improving health and fitness, you want to do. These priorities should be personal to you, but in step with the goal of improving health and fitness. They should also be specific. A priority like “looking better” is too general and can easily fall out of the health and fitness vein. You can change your hairstyle and look better, but not have improved your health at all.

Common priorities are things like increase cardiovascular fitness, lower cholesterol, improve bone density, reduce back pain, lose weight. Put some thought into your priorities. They are the key to the direction that your journey towards improved health and fitness will take.

Once you have your list of health/fitness priorities, then it is time to make some goals.

3. Any goal is more likely to be achieved if it is based on something that is truly important to you. The priority list helps assure you that the goals are based on things you have identified as being important to you. Goals should also be specific. If one of your priorities is to lose weight, then your goal should say how much and in how much time. You also might have a goal to eat two pieces of fruit a day, instead of high calorie snacks, to help you lose weight; you may have a goal of playing a back pain-free round of golf or lowering your cholesterol by 20 points. Try to make at least one goal for each priority.

Once you have established goals, it is a good idea to put them away for a few days and then review them with a fresh mind. Sometimes you get a little excited when making goals and they drift into the “unattainable” category. This is not good. Goals must be reasonable and attainable. The purpose of goals is to motivate. Establishing unattainable goals with have the opposite effect: it will demoralize you into quitting. Goals should fit your ability and your life. Make sure, when setting goals, you take into account things like work, family, time, budget.

When you have a list of goals that you know are reasonable, attainable (with work, of course), it’s time to make a plan.

4. It is at this stage that you can look to others to help you without feeling like you are giving the responsibility to someone else. When you seek the help of someone else for a plan, e.g., a trainer, a nutritionist or walking partner, AFTER you have established your own priorities and goals, it is an extension of personal responsibility, not a substitute for it.

There is nothing wrong or weak about seeking help to succeed. In fact, this increases your chance for success. Making a plan that will result in reaching your goals requires you to identify the areas in which you need help. You may have a perfectly reasonable goal, such as in increase your core strength, but have no idea how to do it. This does not mean it is a bad goal, it just means that you need help to achieve it. The help in this instance is education and/or instruction.

It is a good plan to hire a qualified trainer to educate you in this area so you can reach your goal. Your plan has to help you reach the goals you have set forth. Your plan may require you to go to a gym, get up earlier to walk before work, change your shopping and eating out habits, among others.

A plan is essential. Don’t just make priorities and goals with no thought of how you are going to achieve them. Goals alone don’t mean anything, it’s how you plan to achieve them that’s important.

5. The last step is simple. Just do it. Put your plan into action. If you have taken the time to follow these steps, then this should be the easy part. Try to remember that the plan you are about to start is something that you designed, based on your life’s priorities.

You are not doing what someone else told you you need to do. You are doing what you decided you need to do. It is always much easier to work on something for yourself than for someone else. This is your plan, so take pride in it, enjoy it and reap the benefits of its brilliant design.

Trainer Tip: 2012 Success Plan by Laura Cooms, ATC, CSCS

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Fitness Plus trainer, Laura Coombs

What are your goals for 2012?  Many of us use the New Year to re-charge our focus on self-improvement of some kind.   The 5 steps below can help you stick to your resolutions and keep you motivated long enough to make a real change this year.   I’m a fan of lists, so get your pen and paper out and let’s make a plan!


Preparation before Action. Gather your tools!  Many people dive into a goal dreaming about the end result and don’t take time to plan.   List 10 things you’ll need for success with your goal.  If you want to lose 20 pounds this year, your list might include a good pair of walking shoes, a pedometer, a water bottle, a subscription to a fitness magazine, a personal trainer, an exercise DVD, a food journal, an exercise buddy, a specific time of day and weekly schedule for exercise, and a commitment to eating more veggies.   This step can also be used to consider your potential barriers to success and remove them!  Make time to remove excuses.  See your doctor if you have aches or pains that prevent you from exercising.   Get a new cookbook and learn how to make vegetables delicious.   Make new friends who are active if your current mode of social networking involves sitting, eating, or drinking.  If you have kids at home, choose exercises that are family friendly like walking, dancing, going to the playground, or playing ball.

Being vs. Having. “What would Dara do?”  My fitness role model, Dara Torres, crosses my mind every time I reach for a cookie, head for the couch, or blow off my workout.  Instead of focusing on HAVING arms and abs like hers, it helps me to focus on BEING the girl that would opt for a nutritious snack, an energizing run, or a visit to the weight room.    Similarly, when we think about BEING that person who loses 20 pounds, we “be” that person who stands up a little taller, pulls our core in a little tighter, drinks water instead of soda, eats veggies instead of sugary carbs, and chooses to walk instead of sit.  This mentality also prevents a relapse to old behaviors once we meet our goal.  It motivates us to continue toward a new goal when we meet our current one.  Instead of just HAVING buff arms and abs or a 20 pound weight loss, we end up BEING someone with excellent habits and behaviors long beyond our target goal.  What are 10 things you can “be” while working toward your goal?

Approach vs. Avoid. Be a “yes” man (or woman).  Saying yes, or approaching, positive behaviors is better for our psyche than trying to avoid negative behaviors.  Basically, approaching makes us happy! Encouraged! Proud! On the other hand, avoiding makes us feel deprived, anxious, and punished.  APPROACH 10 specific things that will help you reach your goals, like 30 minutes of exercise/day, 5 veggies/day,  plenty of water, and a weekly visit to the farmer’s market, vs. focusing on avoiding laziness, avoiding sweets, avoiding soda, and avoiding fast food. The outcome will be the same, but you’ll feel more motivated to continue.

Process vs. Outcome. Stay in the moment.  Stop obsessing about the outcome. In my experience as a trainer, people who maintain excellent health and fitness for a lifetime are the ones that really enjoy the process.  We like the challenge of making our plate colorful or our running stride quiet or our muscles contract through a full range of motion (OK…maybe that’s just me).  Try focusing on your workout PROCESS by paying attention to your breath, your energy, your power, your balance, your posture…instead of focusing on the outcome of losing 20 pounds.  You will be more motivated to eat right and exercise if you find a way to enjoy the process.  What are 10 PROCESS goals you can set for yourself?

Why? Why? Why? Get invested.  We are more motivated by goals that have deep meaning.  Yes, I want to look like Dara Torres, but that won’t always be enough to motivate me.  Ask yourself, “Why MUST I accomplish this goal this year?”  List 10 reasons why it has to happen now.  I MUST workout like Dara Torres this year because it will prevent heart disease and cancer, which both run in my family.  I MUST workout like Dara Torres this year because I want to continue climbing the mountains of the Adirondacks and not get injured.  I MUST workout like Dara Torres this year because I have 10 nieces and nephews who are counting on me to chase them around the playground.  On a day when you’re feeling uninspired by your goal to lose 20 pounds, your list of meaningful reasons behind your goal will motivate you.   This list may also help you to uncover complimentary paths to your goal, like hiking and playing on the monkey bars more.  Why (x 10) are you going to meet your goal this year?

Hopefully the wheels of motivation and success are turning now.  Take a look back at your lists every month and make adjustments/additions as you proceed toward your goal.  Have a healthy, happy 2012!


Laura Coombs is a Certified Personal Trainer at Fitness Plus and is the Personal Training Faculty Head at Lexington Healing Arts Academy.  Her class “Lifestyle Fitness Coaching” combines the elements of personal training with exercise psychology and behavior modification.  She can be reached at