How to survive 2 falls in 2 days

I’ve just gotten home from work and removed the “dork” sign from around my neck.  I fell twice in two days. Yup! You read it right. TWICE in TWO days.  This did not happen in the privacy of my home or even in my own driveway.  The first fall was as I was leaving the gym.  I was oblivious to the fact that it had been drizzling freezing rain all evening.  I was stepping off the curb and quite literally touched my toe to the ground and just like that….I was on my rear with my knees sprawled and my bag on my shoulder.  I scanned the parking lot thanking God that no one witnessed this epic fall –  and then I heard “Are you okaaaaaay?”.   The brief relief I felt only a millisecond ago was now replaced with humiliation. I got up and assured this very concerned gym goer that I had not suffered any life threaten injuries.  I swallowed my pride and shuffled the rest of the way to my car because the entire parking lot was black ice.  It gets better or worse, depending on if you feel bad for me or if you are enjoying this.  Today I was just visiting with some co-workers and decided that I better set up for my client. I was in a great mood and had a bounce in my step.  I took a short cut and stepped over a box of protein drinks and again, quite literally touched my toe to some wet tile and BAM! My feet flew from under me and I had no chance of saving face.  I felt like it was in slow motion with my hair, arms and legs all flying everywhere.  It was ungraceful at best and hilarious to watch, or so I was told.  By whom you ask? Oh yeah, you guessed it. EVERYONE I know at work. Well maybe not everyone, but lots of people anyway.  I had to withstand all the concern which was quickly followed by pointing, laughing and the inevitable jabs at my athletic prowess.  I had to laugh too because it was a spectacular spill that would probably gotten me a 10.0 in the Olympics.

As entertaining as this account of my seemingly unlucky two days has been, I have another reason for sharing this story.  I find myself quite lucky to have survived these two falls with injuries limited to a bruised ego and a reputation at work as “the girl who falls down”.  Let me first clarify that I was not drinking, tired or otherwise impaired.  I can’t explain it.  At  first glance one might think that I am a klutz.  I may very well be a bit klutzy, but I had as much control over my body as I could have as I was falling.  I did not throw my back out, land on my back, break my wrist or land on my head.  I am a personal trainer that works in a gym and I’m a big believer in incorporating functional training in with what you would consider “gym “ exercises like lifting weights and doing crunches.  I believe this kind of training saved my  a**.  Functional training looks at the way all parts of the body work in sync to complete a movement like walking, reaching, bending, climbing etc.  It’s meant to enhance all aspects of fitness – strength, flexibility, balance, speed and coordination.

Functional training exercises utilize your body weight, medicine balls, resistance bands, kettlebells, and BOSUs among other tools.  There are various progressions of lunges, squats, twisting, balancing, pushing, pulling and coordinating movements.  Form is everything.  Before trying anything, as always, getting clearance from your physician and getting professional instruction from a personal trainer are good ideas to increase your chances of safely training.  The point I’m trying to make is to consider thinking outside the proverbial box.  Think of fitness as more than just running on a treadmill or doing endless leg presses.  Who wants to be sidelined by a shoulder injury because you were reaching for something in the backseat?  Do you want to be sitting on a couch because you twisted your ankle stepping on uneven ground?  How does straining your back while holding on to the hand of a fit –throwing two-year old sound? You may be able to do 100 crunches or bench press 300 pounds, but could you emerge injury free from not one, but two falls in two days? I will say that my guardian angel was probably sitting on my shoulder, but I also give credit to all the functional training I do by myself and with my clients for sparing me from a trip to the emergency room.   I hope you never fall or get injured doing just everyday things. Increase your chances of remaining and getting healthy by varying your exercise routine to incorporate more than just six-pack abs, bulging biceps or slender legs.

Until next time…Live Well! – Toni Kuhel


Web finds

Sometimes I have days, like today, when I struggle to have an original thought.  I still need to work on living my healthy lifestyle and encourage others to do so as well. On days like these I look to the internet for inspiration and information.  I caution you to do so with a scrutinizing eye.  I’ve listed some helpful finds for you to click on along with a few thoughts of my own. I’m hoping to be full of original thoughts next time around but for now….here’s what I’ve got.

Remember to get as many vegetables and fruits as you can. Make sure to add produce to the lunch menus that are clearly falling short here.  Also strive to make your carbs as whole grain as possible with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving (check the label!). As always, have a glass of water before and during lunch. Enjoy!

I found many delicious soup recipes here. I think soup is one of the most satisfying ,nutritious and complete meals you could have.  This article has a nice variety. It’s a great way to get in many servings of vegetables and once you get the hang of it, you can modify the recipes to fit your taste and what you have in the house.  My kids would eat soup everyday if they could, and that’s a very good thing.

My blog posts have said these same things, but I thought a short and sweet version would be nice.  It’s always good to get the health and wellness message as many ways and as many times as you can.  These easy tips will help you navigate your day with an eye towards your healthy goal of living well.

Everyone has a sweet tooth of some kind.  Mine can be wicked from time to time. If yours is especially stubborn, these tips and explanations are quite helpful.  Sweets are going to be a part of your everyday world, so get comfortable with it and have a plan.

The people around you can help you hurt you on your journey towards health and wellness.  I love my peeps, but beware of what is happening while you are together. This article will point out to you the importance of these relationships and how you can have control over how they impact your life.

‘Tis the season of blockbuster movies.  Hooray! I love going to the movies, but with all that candy, soda/pop, and buttery popcorn…what’s a girl (or guy for that matter) to do?  It’s a calorie gauntlet you’ll have to run every time, so the tips in this article will guide you through it.

Being enthusiastic about working out is a fabulous thing.  I’m all about having a very motivated client in front of me for an hour.  Try keeping that enthusiasm up for your recovery as well. Recovery is equally important to ensure you get the results you are striving towards.  It will also increase your chances of remaining injury-free.

I’d like to take a minute to welcome  my new clients to my blog.  You are all amazing and inspire me with how hard you push during your sessions.  Keep up the hard work when we are not together and you’ll surely be successful in reaching for those goals!

Until next time…Live Well! – Toni Kuhel

Shuffling Along

It’s been quite a while since I last posted.  My life has been put into overdrive and I’ve just now started to get a handle on it (sort of) so now it’s time to give you all an update on Team 40/10.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there is a blog post that is titled “Team 40/10” and that will let you in on all the details.  Team 40/10 has had a few developments.  Two of our Team members have made the transition to 40!!!! Happy Birthday Colleen and Marcia!!! We have added a few team members in Saudi Arabia that are joining us by adding workout updates and they have taken to walking as their training of choice.  We have one Team member that has been told by her doctor that a 5K is as much as she should attempt right now. We’ve also added another member that will be participating in a ½ marathon.  The whole point is that we are on a health and wellness journey together, no matter what the “marathon” goal.

So the most recent undertaking of Team 40/10 has been setting our next mini goal.  The combination of the endless accumulation of snow and ice, the holiday chaos, and the Turkey Trot safely behind me, has resulted in my training regimen suffering a tad. Without the sense of urgency, my motivation dwindled. It’s time to get back on the horse. Our team successfully conquered the Turkey Trot and we have now set our sights on the Shamrock Shuffle in March.  Why race organizers choose to take a perfectly lovely holiday and taint it with an arduous run is completely beyond me.  The Shuffle is an 8K which is up from the 5K we completed in November. “Baby steps” is our motto! I went on my first outdoor run of 2010 and let’s just say it was familiar…not in a good way.  I was immensely disappointed that my legs and lungs reverted back to non-runner status.  Watching my husband’s silhouette get smaller and smaller in the distance ahead of me was frustrating.  I’ll take this as a wakeup call to get back into the swing of things.  With a renewed fear of embarrassment at the much larger, more public, considerably longer Shamrock Shuffle, I’m ready to lace up my sneakers on a regular basis once again.

Further fear…ummm….motivation comes as Team 40/10 convened to review a training schedule for the ultimate goal of the Marathon in October.  As I sat there looking at Team captain Julie’s spreadsheet that modified an existing training schedule, I felt my jaw fall closer and closer to the floor.  My eyes left my sockets as I saw the total miles to be logged each and every week until Marathon madness would commence.  I started to sweat as I calculated how much time this would take.  I felt a bit dizzy wondering if I could actually do this incredible thing that only a small percentage of the population could say they’ve accomplished.  Thank goodness I was sitting because it was all a bit overwhelming.  But, I did put it out in the universe.  I did announce it to the blogosphere. I did tell myself that I chose take on this amazing challenge.  I also promised my fellow Team 40/10 members that we were in this thing together.  February 1st is when registration opens for the Marathon. I will be online, shaking like a leaf, committing once again to taking on this beast.  The truth is that I will be re-committing every single day to making choices that will increase my chances of starting and finishing the Chicago Marathon.  This is not unlike committing to a healthy lifestyle.  But first, the Shamrock Shuffle looms in the not too distant future and I must get my running legs under me once again.  Whether you are striving towards the Shuffle, a bikini at spring break, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a waistline of 35” or less, a class reunion in September, or just feeling better, remember to take baby steps.  One foot in front of another…one small change at a time…one good choice followed by another.  It will all add up and you will get there.

Until next time….Live Well! – Toni Kuhel

Happy New Year!

The New Year is here which means 2009 is now in our rearview mirror.  It’s now time to think of new beginnings, also known as New Year’s resolutions. I have come to find that people fall into one of two categories.  You are either a resolution maker or you are not.  If you are a resolution maker, chances are losing weight, working out, and/or eating healthier are right up at the very tip top of your resolution list. Other popular occupants of that list are to save more money, be more organized and quit smoking. These are all very good ideas and I’m sure we’d all be better off if we were able to do it all.  Since I can’t stand the feel of money burning a hole in my pocket, have piles of paper around the house that I refer to as “files”, and have never smoked, I cannot be of much help with those other resolutions.  I am, however, dedicated to a healthy lifestyle for my family, so that’s where I can offer a bit of inspiration, encouragement, and a few good ideas.

What I can encourage to you to do the most is to frame your resolution in the most positive way possible.  Strive to live a healthier lifestyle rather than setting a particular number on the scale as a goal.  This gentle shift in thinking will have you thinking positively rather than thinking of all the things you have to give up or have to do.  The numbers on the scale and on the labels of your clothes will drift downward if you start implementing the things that encompass a healthy lifestyle.

I am now a personal trainer at my gym.  This is my new adventure.  As this new year begins, so does the annual migration of well meaning, newly inspired folks.  They are all headed to the treadmills, group fitness classes and the weight machines.  They are dizzy with the possibility of losing 10 pounds the first week of the new year.  They often are overzealous in their initial work outs only to be left hobbling and shuffling around the house for 3 days afterwards.  This is an example of taking giant steps that only leave people faltering.

Remember that you didn’t gain your extra pounds or girth over night, so whittling them off will take some time as well.  The habits you’ve created have taken years to perfect, so altering well-learned habits will take some getting used to.  There are no quick fixes to overhauling your life. Don’t go looking for a magic pill, machine, cookie or book to get you and your family on track. Baby steps. Take baby steps and you’ll have more success making changes that will be lasting.

Instead of thinking you’ll never eat anything from a restaurant that has the word Mc, King, or Bell in its name, work on eating at those places less frequently.  Shoot for only once a week if you are considered a heavy user (3 or more times/week).   Instead of saying you’ll drink only water for the rest of your life, consider drinking only 1 cup of coffee or soda per day.  Instead of saying you will work out every day before work when you haven’t seen the inside of the gym for months, try going 3 times a week.  Do yourself a favor and get used to small changes first.  After you’ve mastered those small changes, you can make more small changes.  Tiny steps are worth taking.  What good is it if you pledged to make huge changes to your entire life if you can only manage to make them stick for a week?  Thinking in absolutes will set yourself up for failure because once that inevitable wobble in your convictions happens, you  may very well throw in the proverbial towel.  You make just say heck with the whole idea because it is not natural to make drastic changes all at once.  You may consider yourself a failure because you couldn’t manage the impossible. Perfection.  If you haven’t figured it out from reading my past posts, I will restate to you that I am not a fan of perfection. It’s overrated and impossible for most people.  It’s an impossible standard and makes for very cranky, frustrated, uninspired people.

I’m hoping that this new year will bring health and peace among other things to you and your family.  I will be posting encouragement, tips and suggestions to help with your healthier lifestyle resolution if that’s what you choose.  Pledge to make small changes.  One simple change is to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the button that says “don’t miss a post”.   Take a moment to plan out your small changes so you have a road map.  Read some of my past posts for ideas where to begin.  I’ll continue to post suggestions for small changes and tips to make those changes stick.

As I venture into the crowded gym in the next few weeks, I will be thinking of you blog readers.  Will you still be coming in March when the impossible goal setters all fall off the wagon?  Will you be stepping through your gym’s doors 3 or 4 times a week? Will you be scaling back bit by bit on your unhealthy choices?  I believe you will be. Do you believe?

Until next time….Live Well! – Toni Kuhel