Here’s How It’s Done

I just read the article below, about Eli Sapharti’s story of regaining his health. This is the way to transform your life – whether it’s losing weight, getting stronger, being healthier, or anything else. Commit to just one or two things at a time, so you can be successful. Then add little by little. Drink a glass of water each day. Walk a few minutes. Eat a salad for dinner once a week. Whatever.

One of the things I did early on was to walk around a small park near work every day on my lunch break.

“While on that business trip, I lay in my hotel bed thinking not only about how I got to that point, but also about how I was going to stop this downward spiral of becoming fatter and sicker. I thought of all the diets I had been on and how many workout plans I had attempted with very minor and temporary success that eventually led to total failure. It was at that moment that I committed to making two small changes in order to be at least a little healthier: 1) I committed to walking for 15 minutes every day and 2) I quit drinking regular soft drinks. I used to drink two liters of soda per day!”

Read more, on Eli Sapharti is 45, 6 feet tall, and in 2008 he weighed 290 pounds. Today, he’s dropped to 190 pounds. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.

Don’t Rely on BMI (Body Mass Index)

My BMI, or “Body Mass Index,” is 26.9 – well into the “overweight” category. It’s right there on my medical chart every time I visit the doctor, and my weight tracking and food logging apps display it ominously in red to alert me that I’m in trouble. Too heavy! Lose weight! I get nagged about it from several directions.

The only problem is, the BMI can’t be correctly used to determine whether a person needs to lose weight or not. In fact, “losing weight” is the wrong issue to be thinking about entirely. Instead, if we need to be thinking about losing anything, we should be thinking about fat, not weight.

A few days ago, on Saturday, August 29, 2015, I did a DEXA (or DXA) body composition scan – the most accurate kind of body composition test available. My results showed I have a perfectly healthy body fat percentage, excellent fat distribution (less belly, more hips/legs), great Relative Skeletal Muscle Index (RSMI), and right-at-the-top-of-the-chart bone density. As the gentleman explaining the charts and graphs on my printout said, “You got all A’s!”

So the BMI can go suck an egg.

People who have lots of muscle and “good bone” (as horse people put it) will often have a high BMI, while they are actually quite healthy. And, probably a more widespread problem, others will have low body weight, and a “healthy” BMI, but they have little muscle mass (that’s called being “skinny-fat”). They are not healthy and lean, just small. Either way, don’t trust the BMI to tell you how you’re doing. Sure, it can indicate something that needs further investigation, but it cannot definitively determine whether you are “fat” or not.

That’s not even what it’s for – it’s being applied incorrectly. Here’s more about why you should not be relying on the BMI as a measure of your health or fitness:

Read or listen to “Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI Is Bogus,” from NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, 4 July, 2009.

Do Your Warm-ups!

I don’t know about you, but the body I wake up with in the morning isn’t a very good one. I’m not at my physical or mental best. Everything feels heavy and lumbering. One hand or the other is usually numb. I can hardly bend down to pet the cats or pick up the clothes I tossed on the floor the night before. In this state it’s hard to get moving, even to do basic chores like cleaning out my car or pulling weeds in the yard. Feats of strength, coordination, and fluid responsiveness – like squatting and deadlifting with my strength and conditioning coach, or dealing with multiple attackers at the dojo – seem like distant fantasies. There’s no way this body can accomplish those things.

But I know a simple process to change this body into the one that can do all those things easily and comfortably: Do my warm-ups.

I was reminded of this at last week’s Aiki Summer Retreat, a week-long Aikido camp. When I’d bow in for class at the last minute (or late!) my body wasn’t ready – I felt creaky and stiff. When I made a point of arriving early and going through my usual warm-up routine I felt strong, limber, and grounded. It makes a world of difference to warm up before we try to get active.

My routine starts with walking laps around the mat, then jogging for short bits, dropping back to a walk when I need to catch my breath. I progressively increase speed -walking faster, then running – as my body feels ready, until I am jogging laps, and sprinting one long side of the mat as fast as I can go. Once my muscles are warm I loosen up further with big range-of-motion exercises, and finally do some front and back rolls, and a few stretches. By the end I am breathing hard, sweating, and ready to train without feeling like I might shatter when I hit the mat. The whole process takes only about 10 minutes. When I lead warm-ups before class at the dojo – not as vigorous – they only take 5 minutes. It’s a small investment of time that has big pay-offs, including more energy, better focus, and fewer injuries.

Your warm-up process will likely not include sprinting and rolling. (Or maybe it will!) Find a routine that works for you. Start with big, fluid motions, or with simply walking. Get yourself breathing and sweating – you’re literally getting your body warm and getting your systems ready for physical challenges. Make that 5-10 minute investment in yourself, to become who you need to be to take on whatever challenges you have in your day.

The practice of doing warm-ups extends beyond the physical realm, too. They are what morning pages are to writers. Warm-ups give us an easy, small goal that gets us moving and prepares our bodies and minds for the real work. When the work you are facing seems insurmountable, forget about it for the moment, and just do your warm-ups. They will move you to a better level, and from there the work ahead doesn’t look so bad at all.

New Name Now! New Look Soon!

I found that “Reconnecting Ourselves” wasn’t, well… connecting. So, rebranding is underway. A clearer message and a sharper look. The new name is Fit Coach Linda.

If you already follow the Facebook page, don’t worry, it’s still there, just with the new name. Same with Pinterest. And now I’m on Instagram, too – just look for fitcoachlinda.

In a few weeks you’ll be seeing a new look. In the sketching stage now, but I can guarantee it will be very cool. T-shirt worthy!

More awesome news in coming months, too. Keeping that under wraps for now. ;-)

New Senior Fitness Classes Happening!

Hi there! I’m keeping this page for reference, but am no longer teaching the classes below. If you’re ready to improve your fitness, balance, energy, and body composition, give me a call, and let’s get to work!


SilverSneakers FLEX: Senior Stretch, Wednesdays, 10-11 a.m.
Residents of Westmont at San Miguel Ranch AND public welcome.

Residents and members of the public alike are encouraged to participate in this positive, supportive class. This class is FREE to all residents of Westmont at San Miguel Ranch, which is in the Eastlake/Chula Vista area). Members of the public pay only $2.50 per class session. If you are a SilverSneakers member, you can participate in this FLEX class for FREE (just show up and bring your SilverSneakers card). Each week we will do a slow, thorough warm-up, work through a series of gentle flexibility activities, and end with relaxed breathing and body awareness exercises.

The following classes are private, for residents of the communities listed. If you would like to offer classes like these to your residents or clients, please drop me a note!

Monday Morning Stretch
Atria Collwood Residents ONLY
During the summer months I will be teaching at Atria Senior Living, Collwood (in San Diego). Residents are encouraged to participate in this positive, supportive class. We’ll do a slow, thorough warm-up, work through a series of gentle flexibility activities, and end with relaxed breathing and body awareness exercises. Please note that this class is open to residents of Atria Collwood only.

Tuesday Strength & Balance
Atria Collwood Residents ONLY
During the summer months I will be teaching at Atria Senior Living, Collwood (in San Diego). Residents are encouraged to participate in this positive, supportive class. We’ll do a slow, thorough warm-up, work through a series of activities designed to build functional and core strength, plus enhance balance skills. We’ll end each class with grounded body awareness exercises. Please note that this class is open to residents of Atria Collwood only.

Friday Fitness
Silvercrest Residents ONLY
A free, private group fitness class only for residents of Salvation Army’s Silvercrest senior housing in El Cajon. Activities include walking (weather permitting), strength training, balance and gait challenges, stretching/flexibility, fun group games, and relaxing body awareness exercises. If you are a Silvercrest resident simply join us at 10 a.m. on Friday mornings in the activity room just off the main courtyard. Sorry, this class is not open to the public.


#GimmeFive for LetsMove

Here my video of me doing 5 burpees. I was challenged by my friend Marta Kwiat, and you can consider yourself challenged to post one, too!

As with most physical activities, you can do these at any level – skip the pushups and jumps, or add backflips – whatever is right for you. My pushups are a bit slow (this was the second take!), and my form isn’t perfect. The point isn’t to be perfect, it’s to get moving. Start right where you are and do what you can. Go!

From “As part of the fifth anniversary of Let’s Move!, theFirst Lady is encouraging Americans across the country to give out high-fives when they see someone making healthy choices. And she’s challenging everyone to #GimmeFive things they are doing to eat better, be more active, and lead a healthier life.”

And just FYI, I’ve been training in the non-violent martial art of Aikido since 2009 – I started at age 46 – with Dave Goldberg Sensei, 5th dan, at Aikido of San Diego, and began strength training in January 2015, with Kyle Boggeman, NSCA-CPT, CSCS, at San Diego Strength and Conditioning. My own fitness project is – Moving toward health and happiness through better connection with our bodies, with nature, and with others..

You’re never too old or out of shape to get moving. No excuses!

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