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A Tribute to Jack LaLanne, A LEGACY OF HEALTH

Jack LaLanne, a forefather of health and fitness, passed away yesterday at his home in Morro Bay, California.  He was 96 years of age.

As I think of the impact that he has made over the years, I think of a two words: LEGEND and LEGACY.   He was legendary in embracing the idea that Americans should work out and eat right to retain their youthfulness and energy.  Jack LaLanne found ways to motivate Americans to get off their couches and into the gym way before it was cool.  And he was still pumping iron and pushing fruits and vegetables decades after most people retire.

Mr. LaLanne believed that eating well and exercise were the two absolutes to feeling great and looking young — and he made it his mission to help people attain that lifestyle.

According to the LA Times LaLanne was the spiritual father of the current health movement, opening what is commonly believed to be the nation’s first health club, in Oakland in 1936.  This blossomed into a national craze of weight rooms, exercise classes and sports clubs creating a positive environment for health.

In the 1950s, he launched an early-morning televised exercise program tailored to housewives. He and his dog happy encouraged kids to go get their moms out of bed and exercise in front of the TV.  He proposed the then-radical idea that women, the elderly, and even the disabled should work out to retain strength.

Full of passion and exuberance LaLanne saw himself as a cheerleader, motivator and in some cases a life saver when it came to helping people be healthy, feel younger, and live longer.

What a man!  We will miss his strength and enthusiasm.  He leaves each of us a legacy of health to carry on in an age where obesity is winning the fight.

In spite of big shoes to fill and the challenges before us, I’ll be the first to say count me in!  The question is: Who will join me in my quest in helping people be FIT FOREVER one day at a time?  If not you, then who?  If not now, then when?

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Now He’s Lost over 340 pounds!

Sky Fitness member Scot Underwood is the man! He has lost over 340 pounds over the course of the last few years. No, he didn’t take any short cuts, magic pills, lotions or potions.  He has lost every single pound the healthy way.  His journey has been one of proper balance in eating right and exercise, along with his determination to be FIT FOREVER.

So how does a person lose over 340 lbs?  How do they go from wearing 9X shirts and size 80 overalls to wearing regular sized clothes?

Scot Underwood says, “I knew that if I told myself I needed to lose over 300 lbs that it would be overwhelming.  So I set a goal of just losing a couple of pounds the healthy way; simply burning more calories a day than I consumed.  I continued to lose those couple of pounds 150 times over a two-year period.  This has been an amazing journey; one that has literally saved my life.”

The key is finding proper balance with what we eat and how active we need to be for optimal health.

Health is feeling positive and energetic, and the ability to put in a good day’s work on the job, and still have energy when we get home at night.  It means taking control of our schedules and making time for our priorities.  It’s realizing the importance of living long enough to see our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren grow up to lead long, happy lives.  Healthy living is no short-term venture.  It is a lifestyle that we must embrace every day of our journey.

The truth is, most Americans live inactive lifestyles.  That is why 120 million people – over 50% of us – are overweight.  The reason that most people have become overweight is fairly clear cut – they take in more calories and fat than they burn throughout the day.  Simply put: if we want to lose weight, we must find a way to burn more calories and fat than we take in.

The good news is that by taking more steps in the course of our day we can add consistent calorie burning which increases our metabolism, helping us to lose weight.  Weight loss is all about how many calories we burn in a day, what we eat, and how much we eat (portion control).  Without some help to know those equations our weight loss is left to happenstance.

Decide to live an active lifestyle.

We must take the time and energy to be more active.  Start today by walking more.  Instead of taking the elevator to the second, third, or even fourth floor, search out the stairway and get a little exercise.  Take opportunities to walk during the lunch hour or around the neighborhood after work.  Just keeping our body in motion by walking an extra 20 minutes a day will burn a surprising amount of calories.

Schedule an hour of exercise three times a week, setting aside twenty minutes of that hour for cardiovascular exercise like walking, running, riding a bike or jumping rope.  During the last forty minutes of that hour do some kind of strength training such as push-ups, sit ups, or lifting weights.

One thing that may be helpful to understand about exercise is that it not only burns fat but also actually speeds up our body’s metabolism.   To speed up our metabolism we need to increase our activity and our aerobic exercise. As a rule we strive to burn as many calories as we can during exercise.  That is beneficial to weight loss.  But interestingly enough, it is after exercise that the metabolism speeds up, burning off even more calories and unnecessary body fat.

We need to realize that it’s time to change some things that are long overdue concerning our health.

NOW is the time to change.  Much like Scot Underwood with his 340 lb. weight loss, you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to do. Good luck on your FIT FOREVER journey!

Check  out the latest news on Scot in the Tulsa World Article.


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Do You Sleep Much?

Millions of people across the world suffer from lack of sleep, never knowing how it affects their health on a daily basis. Most people have no idea how important sleep is to healthy living.

Neil Stanley, of the Research Unit at Surrey University says: “We know good sleep is central to good health. It is wrong to perceive sleep as a passive state of unconsciousness.  The body is doing an awful lot while we sleep.”

The circadian rhythm, otherwise known as the “body clock,” coordinates our daily wake/sleep cycle. When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body becomes stressed, causing loss of muscle tone and weight gain. Sleep is not “down time,” but rather an active and vital part of your daily life.

There are at least five stages of sleep. Each stage is essential for rest and hormonal releases that help build muscle and strengthen the immune system. The refreshing sleep you need requires a consistent pattern of sleep and wake times. By not maintaining a consistent sleep routine, you are robbing yourself of your body’s natural healing abilities.

Many proudly proclaim that they can exist on five to six hours a night and catch up on sleep later on.  The fact is, not one really ever catches up on sleep that is lost. Sleep that is lost is never regained.

When you don’t get enough sleep it is impossible for your body to perform as it was intended to. Your mind has a tendency to be dull, easily distracted, and struggles to concentrate on task.  While sleep deprived you are less patient, more irritable and less productive.

The good news is, there are a number of things you can do during the day to improve your night’s sleep! Assuming there are no underlying causes like a sleep disorder.  (Man, can I tell you about that…Check out my NS Reds Nocturnal Sleep Related Eating Disorder.)

Here is my top ten list for sleeping better at night:
1. Keep it relatively quiet while you sleep. If you need to drown out noise use a fan or a white noise device that generates calming sounds. These devices help drown out disruptive noises. Phone ringers should be turned off completely until morning.
2. Take a long warm bath or shower.  These can help you de-stress and increase your chances of sleeping well. Relaxed muscles mean relaxing sleep.  Also, many people find that reading for a short time helps them get to sleep.

3. Develop a regular bedtime routine allowing 8 hours of sleep. Maintain your sleep schedule on your working and non-working days. You will feel better if you don’t completely change your sleep times. Alter your sleep and wake time by only a couple of hours on your days off. Your body clock is negatively affected when you change up your sleep patterns.

4. Sleep in a dark room. Darkness tells your body that it is time to sleep. Don’t go to sleep with the television on, as this interrupts deeper sleep cycles. Even dim lights can rob your ability to sleep. In the morning slightly open blinds to let natural light enter the room. This will help signal the body that it is time to wake. Sit in front of a large window for half an hour or so during breakfast. The sunlight signals your circadian cycle into the wake phase, increasing metabolic activity and alertness.

5. Exercise more, as it reduces anxiety and aids in sleep.  A number of recent reports suggest that even moderate exercise can improve insomnia.  Aerobic exercise like walking during the day helps to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Being active helps maintain circadian rhythm and encourages deeper sleep.

6. Don’t eat a big meal right before bed.
Many sleep experts believe that eating a big meal before bed can cause insomnia. Larger meals should be consumed earlier in the day. Ideally, a light snack of less than 150 calories of an evening is best.

7. Cut Caffeine later in the day.
Caffeine intake of an evening can lead to difficulty sleeping. Limit coffee to one to two cups early in the day.  During the evening, instead of caffeinated sodas have a warm, relaxing decaf herbal tea.

8. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. According to James Maas, author of Power Sleep, staying hydrated helps the body heal and recover more quickly. This is yet another reason to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Avoid caffeinated beverages, such as cola, which can not only keep you awake, but dehydrate you at the same time.

9. Try wearing ear plugs. Earplugs block noise from entering your ears, and can allow you to relax your breathing patterns.  Most earplugs are an inexpensive remedy and help a lot of people get to sleep faster.  I swear by them!

10. Don’t rely on sleep aids. While sleep aids could work for a time, they are at best a short term fix.  Insomnia is often a part of a larger lifestyle picture that can be addressed and fixed once and for all.  Experts say that reducing stress and late night calories, and increasing physical activity may be the best long term solutions to restful sleep.

So go ahead and give these a try. You have nothing to lose and much rest to gain! They are proven to give you the rejuvenating sleep your body needs for a healthier and happier you.

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Walk More, Live Longer

“Being healthy allows you to feel that now is the best time of your life.”

-Tom Hopkins

Living more healthy can be as simple as just taking more steps in the course of your day. About every 30 steps you take is one calorie burned.  That is great news, as most of us are looking to burn as many calories as we can on a daily basis.

Think of ways you can take more steps: walk around during phone calls, while you’re reading, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the store, window shop at the mall, leave your desk and visit your co-workers instead of sending them an email, walk as you text your spouse or friends.  The opportunities are there if you will look for them.

The American Counsel of Exercise performed an eight-year study with over 13,000 people who walked 30 minutes daily.  Results showed that they had a significantly reduced chance of premature death compared with those who rarely exercised.

So walk more and live longer, enjoy more energy and feel younger!  Here’s to a healthier YOU!

If you want to know more, check out USA Today.

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Little did Nolan Ryan know that he was speaking Texas Rangers destiny…

Years ago Nolan Ryan said, “One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.”

The Texas Rangers sure proved something when they recently beat the defending champion New York Yankees landing them in the World Series for the first time ever.

I have been following the Rangers faithfully since 1980 when I made the move to Houston, Texas.   All I can say is,  it’s been a long time coming!  They are now making a World Series appearance for the first time in their 38 years in Arlington and their 50 years as a big league franchise.

What is the key to the Rangers making history after all these years?   Team player and MVP, Josh Hamilton puts it this way, “This group is here because they don’t know how to fail.”

Hamilton, a devout Christian who was featured on the I Am Second video movement, was more interested in sharing the success than taking any individual glory.  He said “I don’t want to talk about myself. I want to talk about the team…”  Their unity spoke volumes as they showed great respect for Josh Hamilton’s former substance abuse by dousing him with ginger ale instead of the traditional champagne spray.

“I love my teammates, I love them so much,” Hamilton said during the on-field MVP ceremony.

We can learn some valuable lessons from Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers organization. 

Determination, unselfishness, and team unity will take us farther than we can ever realize.  Maybe even to a World Series Championship!

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The Oprah Show Was Awesome!

We all have things in life that we have to overcome.  Some of us have challenges that have plagued us for years.  Mine landed me on stage at the Oprah Show.

Since the age of 4, I have had a sleep related eating disorder known as NS-RED, Nocturnal Sleep Related Eating Disorder.  That’s right, while the majority of you are sleeping and dreaming at night, I am eating in my sleep. And I’m totally unaware that I’m doing it. Two to three nights a week I consume as much as 1000 calories, eating all the stuff that I try so hard to stay away from during the day.

Talk about frustrating!  In the night I eat pizza, ice cream, cakes, and Twinkies; and afterward I don’t even remember how good it tastes.  Bummer!  Once I even ate half of a pie that my wife had baked for a women’s group the next day. Not good for marital bliss…

How funny is that?  I’m a health conscious fitness consultant who eats all kinds of sweets in his sleep? Welcome to my world!  Believe me; I can pack on mega pounds if I don’t make adjustments with what I eat and how much I exercise. On a positive note, at least I know how much cardio it’s going to take to burn off the Little Debbies that I ate last night.

This is what the experts from Mayo Clinic say about those of us with NS-RED:

“These people are not conscious during episodes of NS-RED. They are not aware that they are eating in their sleep. They have no memories of having done so when they wake. Episodes seem to occur in a state somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. Food consumed during NS-RED episodes tends to be high-fat, high-sugar comfort food that people deny themselves while awake.”

Oprah’s show focused on the topic of sleep eating, something many people have never even heard of. She invited me to be a guest on that show since I was one of the few men in America with the disorder. Lucky me, right?

The Oprah show gave me a chance to know more about the disorder and learn that there are others who share the same struggles that I do. On the show I, along with three ladies with NS-RED, met with some physicians who were experts on sleep disorders. They didn’t cure me of my sleep eating disorder, but helped me to learn how to better manage my situation. Oprah told us that with all of her weight issues that she is thankful that she doesn’t have a sleep eating disorder to deal with.

Just for the record, Oprah was awesome! The show was tastefully done and a great experience. My wife and I had an amazing getaway at Chicago’s Omni Hotel, complete with fine dining and limo service. All I had to do was tell my biggest secret ever in front of 100 million viewers!

The truth is we all have challenges and obstacles that could keep us from reaching our goals. Some things we can change, some things we can’t. But whatever our given situation, we need to stop making excuses and get started taking positive steps toward being fit forever.  If I can do it with all of my quirks, then so can you!

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The New Drew Carey 70 Pounds Lighter

Check out the new improved Drew Carey!

For newly slim, Drew Carey losing weight was a heavy decision.

“I always thought I was going to die before I was 60,” the comedian, 52, tells Parade Magazine this week. “My father died of a heart attack in his 40s. I’m not an idiot. The writing was on the wall.”

Not wanting to fall victim to the heart disease that runs in his family, the Price Is Right host traded his “daily hamburger” for a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition, daily exercise and willpower.

Dropping more than 70 lbs. since November, Carey now weighs in at 182 and is still working towards his goal – weighing 170 lbs. by Oct. 31.

“The hardest diet I was ever on was the one when I was fat,” says Carey of his once 262-lbs. frame, “You can only wear fat clothes, you don’t feel good, your sex life gets damaged, you don’t have energy for anything. It’s horrible.”

Another reason for Carey’s transformation was inspired by his fiancée, Nicole Jaracz’s 5-year-old son, Connor. Feeling winded after only a few minutes of playtime, he simply couldn’t keep up with the boy.
Carey said, “I’d be like, ‘Connor, I can’t,’ and he’d say, ‘C’mon!’ That was a terrible feeling. I thought, I’m never going to see him graduate high school.”

Carey is now committed to staying healthy.
“Eating crappy food is not a reward – it’s a punishment.” He adds, “I look in the mirror and I feel like I’m in my 20s again. “I feel like I have my whole life back. I could live to be 100 now.”

Today can be the first step to a new you!

Join the revolution to help America get Fit Forever one day at a time!

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As always I welcome any feedback you’d like to give to create a healthier America in body, mind and spirit.

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