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6 Steps to Total Life Transformations

One of the things I am most passionate about is helping people achieve things they thought were previously impossible. Hence, the amazing thing about working with people in fitness is that once they start to achieve those “impossible” feats, it trickles over into other areas of life.

Someone who loses 50 pounds or conquers new feats of strength for the first time suddenly gets a promotion at work, gains the confidence to quit their job and start that business they’ve been dreaming about. Furthermore, they might even leave a relationship that made them unhappy and wasn’t serving them.

It’s truly incredible to witness these total life transformations over and over again. And I believe it comes down to following these 6 steps to total life transformations:

1. Identify your impossible goal. What’s that thing you’ve been dreaming about but haven’t committed to or verbalized?

2. Commit to a deadline. Write it down, yet, make it non-negotiable too.  Look at the goal and deadline every day so that it sinks in and become a part of you!

3. Reverse engineer the steps it’s going to take to achieve that goal. So, ask for support from a friend or coach if you’re not sure.

4. Ask yourself “what will it cost me to achieve this goal?” Will it cost money, time, or giving up things you enjoy like television? Also, make sure you’re willing to commit to the cost no matter what.

5. Ask yourself “who do I have to become to make this happen?” Do you need to become a morning person, more independent, or figure out a way to eliminate excuses from your vocabulary? You MUST check in on yourself every day to ensure you are becoming who you need to achieve the goal.

6. Find someone who believes in you and get them to hold you accountable. Very few people achieve goals entirely on their own. As a result, having a coach to support you is one of the BEST things you can do. They will give you honest feedback, help identify your blind spots, and help you strategize when you feel like your plan isn’t working.

So, now it’s your turn!

In conclusion, give it some thought (or maybe you know right away) then share with me your IMPOSSIBLE GOAL! It is only by setting, working toward, and achieving the “impossible” that we truly live an extraordinary life.

As a result, I’m anxiously awaiting!

Originally printed on Move Well Fitness blog. Reprinted with permission.


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD. With almost two decades in the industry, he’s worked with a wide range of clients, including those with health challenges like diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, lower back pain, pulmonary issues, and pregnancy. Maurice is also a fitness educator with Move Well Fit Academy and NASM.  

tuberow

Best Exercises to Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects our bone system due to a decrease in bone mass, density and an increase in the space between the bones. As a result, one’s bones become brittle and suspect to breaking. There are two types of osteoporosis: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is generally a result of the aging process and a decrease in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help regulate how fast bone is lost. Type 2 is a result of medications or other health issues that interfere with bone reformation. Thankfully, both types are treatable!

Most Common Areas Affected: Osteoporosis is generally found in the neck of the thigh and lower back.  A lot occurs in these areas, so, a decrease in the strength of the bone there is not a good thing.

Nutrition: Since nutrition plays a factor in everything we do, it is important to mention it for those with osteoporosis. The three things to focus on the most are: an increase in calcium, and a stoppage of alcohol intake and smoking.

Exercises: Research shows that it takes about six months of consistent exercise at somewhat high intensities to produce enough bone mass change. With that being said, it is important to use proper exercises in a progressive fashion and make them specific to you.  Exercises should focus on the following areas of the body as they stress the overall bone structure: core, hips, thighs, back and arms. Here are my top six exercises to start your 6-month program:

Planks: 1-3 sets of 8-20 reps
planks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supine Bridges: 1-3 sets of 8-20 reps
supinebridge

Prone Cobras:
1-3 sets of 8-20 reps
cobra

Squats:
1-3 sets, 8-20 reps
squats

Standing Tube Row:
1-3 sets, 8-20 reps
tuberow

Single leg balance:
1-3 sets, 8-20 reps
singlelegbalance

Conclusion

While osteoporosis can be a life threatening disease, it can be managed through exercise. Most people who include daily exercise are able to ward off further damage to their body and are able to do their normal daily activities of life. Performing the six exercises listed and then progressing to more challenging ones will keep a person with osteoporosis healthy!


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD. With almost two deciades in the industry, he’s worked with a wide range of clients, including those with health challenges like diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, lower back pain, pulmonary issues, and pregnancy. Maurice is also a fitness educator with Move Well Fit Academy and NASM.  

health-coaching-wordglobe

You Need a Coach

You Need a Coach.

This is a subject I am REALLY passionate about.

As most of my readers know, I’m writing to you from the perspective of a weight loss, nutrition, and fitness coach.​  

I own my own facility coaching others like you. 

And I have a coach. 

You need a coach.

You see, despite being a highly qualified coach myself across multiple areas, I hold a deep belief that everyone needs a coach in their life.

I have a business coach that I speak to 2 times a month, and it’s been a powerful investment I’ve made in myself.  I love the personal growth that comes from it.  There is tremendous value in being coached.  She tells me yes when I say no and vice versa. 

So what area of life should you look for a coach in?

Anywhere you are struggling, really.  Struggling with weight loss?  You need a coach. Struggling to make major decisions in life?  You need a coach.  Struggling to transition careers?  Hire a coach. Looking to improve athletic performance?  Hire a coach.

Think about it…there are not many people (if any) who reach high levels of success in life without a coach.  It’s too hard to go it alone, to know what to do, to see things in life objectively.

​The number one reason I hear from people for not hiring a coach is cost.

How many times have we tried to “do it on our own” and failed?​ Here’s the thing…we can’t afford not to.  We need accountability, support, guidance, advice, etc.

I’ve been there and fallen off the wagon.  I’ve given up and stopped believing in myself. 

But, the difference is that when you’ve got someone to bring you back to reality and pick you back up, life just gets easier and less lonely.  We all need an objective eye on our lives, someone who sees things entirely from an outside perspective.

So, if you have a goal that you want to achieve, stick to for the long run, and you believe investing in yourself is a top priority, hire a coach.  Go on that journey. Change your life, in whatever aspect you seek change.  

You’ll gain more than you ever expected.

Originally published on MoveWell Fitness. Reprinted with permission from Maurice Williams


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD.

Sports pregnant young woman. Fitness.

Exercise & Pregnancy

Beautiful pregnant woman gym fitness exerciseThe understandable fear (due to things like decreased oxygen supply to the baby) that existed with pregnancy & exercise years ago is no longer warranted.  Because of substantial research, it is now safe for women to continue or start exercising while pregnant.  As long as she gets approval from her doctor & seeks out a qualified and certified fitness professional, she should be confident in knowing that the recommendations below will help her.

Considerations & Exercise Suggestions

1. Posture Change from the Growth of the Baby: As a result of the baby growing in the wound, the mother to be’s posture will change. This causes certain muscles to become weak, particularly her core. In the 1st and 2nd trimester, a mother to be should focus on strengthening her core through exercises such as planks, bridges, and birddogs. Once the 3rd trimester hits, it would be wise for the mother to be to avoid supine or prone core exercises. She can still work her core by doing standing exercises such as medicine ball chops, reverse chops & rotations. All of these exercises can be performed 2-3 days/week, 1-2 sets of 12-15 reps with appropriate rest time (45-90 seconds) between sets.

2. Cardiovascular Exercise: With the growth of the fetus, also comes more stress to the mother to be’s heart and lungs. As a result, her ability to work harder and longer is decreased. However, a mother to be can still perform low impact or step aerobics that do not involve jarring motions. Walking on the treadmill, stationary cycling and water aerobics done 3-5 days/week for 15-30 minutes is suggested.

3. Flexibility Exercise: Because the mother to be’s body posture has changed, this may cause certain muscles to overwork or become tight. As a result, she may feel the need to stretch certain muscles. This is ok to do so. Static and active stretches are advised along with foam rolling that can be tolerated. However, foam rolling on varicose veins or swollen muscles should not be done. I would advise stretching muscles that appear to be overworking such as her calves and lower back. This can be done everyday for 1-2 sets, holding each stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Pregnant woman holding dumbbells4. Weight Training Exercise: Circuiting training has shown to be very effective for mother’s to be throughout their entire pregnancy. These include exercises that work the entire body and can be performed back to back with little rest in between.  I recommend exercises that work the following muscles: legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms. They can be done 2-3 days/week, 1-2 sets of 12-15 reps. The rest period can be in between 45-75 seconds.

5. Cautions: Mothers to be should stop or avoid exercises that cause nausea, dizziness, stomach pain, prolonged shortness of breath, bleeding and fainting.

Conclusion

By taking the appropriate precautions, mothers to be can safely exercise during pregnancy. As a result, the pregnancy can be smoother and the recovery can be quicker.

Helpful links for exercises

http://blog.nasm.org/fitness/exercise-pregnancy-physiological-changes-exercise-programming/
http://www.fitpregnancy.com/exercise/prenatal-workouts/weight-training-pregnancy


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD.

Source
Clark, Sutton, Lucett. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, 4th Ed. Revised. 2014

 

 

Arthritis

Exercises That Can Help Prevent and Relieve Arthritis

Arthritis is a disease where the joints of one’s body are chronically inflamed. 46 million (or 21%) Americans have it and it is one of the leading causes of work disability.

They are two major forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage within the joints wears away and causes severe pain and swelling, particularly in the hands, knees, hips and spine. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is where one’s immune system mistakenly attacks it’s own tissues. As a result, the body responds with pain and stiffness in areas of the body such as wrists, hands feet and knees. Fortunately, exercise can help provide some relief, pain and discomfort wise, for those suffering with this chronic health condition.

How Exercise Helps to Relieve It

There have been two significant studies that showed exercise could help arthritic people feel better. Strength training and balance exercises were used to provide relief from the pain experienced because it improved flexibility and overall strength. Balance and strength training affect one’s gait, so, at the very minimum, exercise can help to improve this. Also, it is important to keep in mind that arthritis increases muscle loss and lack of flexibility. As a result, it is important for an individual with arthritis to keep their body limber and moving as much as possible.

Exercises That Can Help With Arthritis

According to NASM, the following protocol should be followed by arthritic people for a reduction in pain and overall health improvement. Please keep in mind, that anyone starting an exercise program, should consult with their physician and a qualified fitness professional first.

Cardio Exercise: treadmill walking, stationary cycling and low impact step aerobics. I recommend up to 30 minutes as a general goal to aim for with duration. The intensity should be from a walk in the park to a light job.

senior woman doing exercisesFlexibility: Static stretching and foam rolling may be used as tolerated for the areas of the body that appear to be overactive. These can be performed seated or standing.

Weight Training: Exercises that include core, balance and general overall major muscle groups are recommended. Circuit training is a great way to get all of those things done in one session. I suggest 1-2 sets of 10-12 reps, 2-3 times a week. It is important to keep in mind the following when doing exercise: avoid heavy lifting, with high reps, stay away from movements that cause pain and be prepared to only do five minutes of exercise in a given session until your overall conditioning improves.


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD.

Resources

1. http://blog.nasm.org/senior-fitness/what-a-pain-in-the-joint-training-guidelines-for-arthritic-clients/
2. http://blog.nasm.org/senior-fitness/modify-training-programs-clients-osteoarthritis/
3. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/8-essential-everyday-exercises-for-ra-pain#8

Source
NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, 4th Edition Revised, 2014.

Back pain

Three Steps to Ease Back into Exercise After a Back Injury

According to studies, Low back pain affects nearly 80% of all adults.  Most low back injuries come from the following: wearing high heels (women), performing manual labor and people who sit for long periods of time (greater than 3 hrs.). Although these statistics are alarming, there are some simple steps one can take to make sure that they avoid current and future back pain or injury. These steps all involve simple exercises that can be performed from anywhere, including one’s office.

Step #1: In order to prevent further injury or a relapse, the 1st thing one should do is stretch common muscles that are tight and may have caused the lower back pain in the first place. Tight muscles are known to overwork and when this occurs, they become overactive and let us know through pain. These muscles include: erector spinae, hip flexors, calves and the lats (the big back muscles). For each stretch, you want to hold the stretch for 30-120 seconds and perform the movement for 1-2 repetitions 3-5x/week. (View Stretches: http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/living-with-low-back-pain-11/five-back-pain-stretches)

Step #2: After you have stretched the tight muscles, now it is time to focus on strengthening the muscles that are weak or underactive. Muscles become weak or underactive typically from lack of use or overuse by the muscles that assist or oppose the weak muscles. For example, if your hip flexor is tight, it could cause your glutes (butt) muscles to become weak.  The muscles that tend to weak with a lower back injury include: certain core muscles, the butt and hamstrings. For each strengthening exercise, you want to perform 1-2 sets of 10-15 repetitions 3-5x/week. (View core exercise: http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/living-with-low-back-pain-11/core-strength-for-back-pain; http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/lower-back-pain-10/slideshow-exercises)

Step #3: Now that you have isolated the lower back with stretching and strengthening exercises, now it is time to focus on integrating your entire body back into exercising. Integrated exercises involve using as many muscles as possible in one given exercise. By performing integrated exercises, you will ensure that the your hip joint (which can be misaligned with low back injuries) starts and remains in the right position and the proper muscles are working as they should be. For each integrates exercise, you want to perform 1-2 sets of 10-15 repetitions 3x/week. (View integrated exercises: http://www.allthingshealing.com/Chiropractic/Corrective-Exercise-for-Back-Pain/8558#.VIoTN74zf8E)

If you follow these three simple steps, you can avoid low back pain setbacks and ensure that your back is strong enough to handle your daily activities of life.


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD.

mid age man exercising at the beach

Men: Let’s Take Back our Health – Five Simple Steps for Men to Be Healthier Right Now!

It is no secret that we, as men, have failed miserably when it comes to our health. According to The Men’s Health Network (MHN), we die at higher rates than women from the following top 10 causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accidents, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, suicide, kidney disease, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. If you examine the list above closely, you will notice that most of them are preventable

Comfortable working environment

The Importance of Correct Posture

Growing up, I can remember my mother saying the following: “Sit up straight boy, stop slouching, do not bend over like that because you will end up with terrible posture.” As a young boy, I had no idea of what she meant. In hindsight, my mother was right (and a great educator too)! In today’s day and age of technology, less activity and overall laziness, good posture is more important now than perhaps it ever has been. Unless you want to be like the elderly man or woman who cannot lift their head to look straight ahead, then I suggest you start paying more attention to your posture. With that being said, shall we discuss posture in general, what happens to your body with bad posture and how to achieve great posture.

What is Posture?

Quite simply, posture is the way our respective bodies position themselves.  It can also be defined as the way our head, neck, shoulders, hips, knees and foot/ankle are positioned while standing still or in motion.  When we think of good posture, this is what typically comes to mind: our body straightened up, chin raised and shoulders relaxed and in a down position. A great example of this would be a military person standing at attention. When we think of bad posture, this is what typically comes to mind: our body is slouched or hunched over, our shoulders are rounded forward and we have some terrible looking curve in our backs! A great example of this would be the hunchback of Notre Dame.  The latter is something we should all try to avoid and let us talk about the reasons why.

What Happens When We Have Bad Posture?

Bad posture does not happen over night. If we do a lot of daily: sitting, driving and repetitive movements without paying attention to what position our body is in, then we typically end up with bad posture. From a psychological standpoint, bad posture could be the result of feeling anxious, not motivated and not optimistic on life (yes, our mood affects our bodies physically).  As a result of all this, we end up with skeletal and muscle pain, joint restriction or just general discomfort.  Our bodies end up misaligned with muscle imbalances and, ultimately, we set it up for degeneration, ouch!  However, no need to fret just yet, because there are a few simple things we can do to improve or enhance our posture immediately!

How to Achieve Great Posture

There are a few simple things we can do to make sure that we have great posture. They are so simple that we can start doing them today! The first thing we should do is to observe our current body position.  Is our head pointing straight ahead and ears aligned with our shoulders? Is our shoulders pulled back and not rounding forward? Is our stomach tucked or pulled in? Is our belt line straight around our waist or it below or above it.  How about our knees and feet, are they facing straight ahead or turned in or out. Remember, we do want our posture to look like the military persona standing at attention.

williams-posture

After we observe our posture and make those corrections, then we should work to make sure that our bodies will adapt to that position. This is going to require us to do certain exercises. I recommend things such as single balance exercises, core exercises and integrated exercises that incorporate both balance and core exercises. Exercises for Better Posture

Lastly, after we have observed our posture and done exercises to allow our postures to improve, it is not time to make sure that we maintain what we have developed. This requires us to be aware of how we sit and stand at home, work and while driving in our cars. Even though we cannot avoid doing these things, we can certainly be fully aware of how we position our bodies.  The following link is a great example of how to position our bodies when we stand and sit: Better Body Positioning for Better Posture

So, there you have. As I am sure we all know, mothers know best. If all else fails, let us remember back to our youth when our mom use to say: “Stand and sit up straight!”

Links for Exercises and Pictures of Good Posture http://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Posture
http://blog.nasm.org/workout-plans/workday-boost-beat-desk-bound-posture-workout/


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD.

References:

Postural Assessment by Jane Johnson, 2012.
Human Kinetics; NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Third Edition.  2008