Meet Heidi Axelrod | Owner
I recently was honored to be interviewed by PocketSuite, we talked about how the Pandemic has changed the training industry and how I continued to serve my niche. @pocketsuite
The Lounge Q+A: Heidi Axelrod
Success Story – No more pain from Scoliosis
What is your why?
Healthy is the goal!
Meet Christine. We started working together in January and she consistently trains with me 2x per week. Look at these healthy improvements she has made in just 5 months – simply from beginning a workout routine. Health is so much more than a number on the scale (that will come too, I’m not worried). Her results are amazing and I am so proud of her! Her testimonial is below:
70 years old.
My main goal starting out was to become more limber and gain some balance that i have lost as I have gotten older. I also know that weight bearing exercise is crucial for bone density. So many of my friends were having trouble with osteoporosis or osteopenia. And we all complained about being stiff. I witnessed a big change in my best friend when she started training with Heidi. I wanted that change.
My changes have been significant. I have more body strength. I am still working on my balance but it has also improved. I don’t feel so stiff. In fact, way more limber. That part I love. But I got changes that were just icing on the cake. I have had weight loss and am still working on that but the big thing for me were my lab results from my physical. I have hypertension and high cholesterol in my family. I started on blood pressure meds in my 40’s. Cholesterol meds in my 50’s. I am on 2 high blood pressure meds. The very best BP I could get on those meds was 144/86 on a good day. I have been taking my BP routinely for the last month. It has never been over 126/70 on a bad day. My doctor said I haven’t had a decent BP like that for years. We are now looking to get me off the meds. My cholesterol runs any where from 225-260 on meds. My last reading was 201. It has not been that low for years. I look forward to getting it lower and off that med.
I am most proud of how much better i feel but that people tell me they see such a difference. It makes you feel good about yourself when others notice.
My biggest challenge was just getting there. But it is true that when you are accountable to your trainer and the friends that you have there who are encouraging you, it is like you don’t want to disappoint them. I think that is a great motivator (and of course the results).
My advice to anyone just starting out is to call me. I was encouraged and would love to encourage anyone that is skeptical or afraid to take the leap.
PS: I’m just a message or phone call away if you’d like to chat about changes you can make in your fitness and nutrition plans to help improve your results and your stress levels! Just drop me a message and we can set up a time.
What is it like to work with me?
What is your relationship with food?
Are you on the food hamster wheel??
I write a lot about food because that is where I come from, my experience, what I’m able to bring to my clients because I’ve been there…
I’ve felt the guilt of eating “bad” foods for me. I’ve exercised (ran) as a way to “burn off” all the calories I ate. I’ve binged because “I’ve already messed up the day, what’s a little more?”
This is what happens when you look at food not as food but as either a friend or a foe. So you run on the treadmill or you do extra classes during the week, you begin this weeks new “diet du jour” or you skip meals to make up for what you ate the day before…it’s your foe.
Then the cycle starts all over again. You vow to begin again tomorrow or for me “I’ll start again Monday.” Problem is there is always something…it’s your friend..
“I can’t start today because I have that girls’ lunch out. I won’t eat breakfast or dinner to make up for all the food I’ll eat at the party and start again the next day. Oh, but wait, Friday is the Bunko group and there’s wine there…and we are going to try the BBQ place on Saturday. Then there is the block party on Sunday and there’s always a Margarita machine and the desserts. Oh and it’s Girl Scout cookie time, I’ve got to have those thin mints!
See? There’s always something. Can you relate?
Jump off the hamster wheel! The only way – and it’s not a quick fix – is to change your view on food.
Stop seeing food as “good” or “bad”. That leads to guilt when you choose to eat the “bad” food.
Food is just food. Period. Its purpose is to nourish you… body, mind, and soul. Don’t let it nourish just your body and steal your soul.
Your not choosing good or bad food. You are choosing most of the time food and once in a while food. Do you see the difference? You get to CHOOSE to nourish yourself, to feed your body, mind and soul. You know what foods are most of the time foods. Single ingredient foods like apples, broccoli, chicken, eggs, oats.
The key is to recognize that you have choices, every day, about which foods to eat and how much, and which foods to avoid.
And ONCE IN A WHILE (or for my weight loss clients 10% of your meals, for us maintenance folks it might be 20%), you get to choose a food that may not be as healthy for your body; indulging occasionally keeps you from feeling deprived. Enjoy those moments! Don’t feel guilty about them.
Think the thought, “I love giving my body healthy foods because it makes me feel great” over and over, or “I exercise to be strong and build muscle to be healthier so I can live longer” and eventually it becomes a belief.
Then that belief leads to an action, where you make a choice that is good for you.
I know this isn’t easy, but once you figure it out, food loses control over you and it is freeing. There will be starts and stops along your journey but you can find your key to unlock your healthy relationship with food too.
Inflammation… what is it?
I am often asked about inflammation – what is it exactly? How do I know if I have it? What does it do to me?
Inflammation is part of your body’s natural immune response, and occurs when your body tries to heal damaged cells, and fight off irritants and pathogens. Your arteries dilate, blood flow increases, and white blood cells, hormones, and nutrients flow freely. The injured area is swarmed by white blood cells, along with fluid that causes the often-painful swelling.
In a situation like an injury, inflammation can be a good thing.
For example, if you injure your toe, it gets red, swollen, and inflamed.
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute is what happens when you have a sudden injury, as in the example above.
Chronic inflammation occurs when the body thinks there is an internal threat, that doesn’t really need an inflammatory response. Then the swarming white blood cells have nowhere to go, and sometimes attack other organs or tissues.
Inflammation is your body’s response to stress, whether that stress comes from your environment, diet, or lifestyle. Chronic inflammation occurs when your body or environment get – and stay – out of balance in some way.
If you are under constant stress – emotional or physical – it raises your cortisol level, which creates a cascade of events in your body. Increased cortisol is how your body prepares for fight-or-flight; it inhibits some body functions, like insulin production, and increases other body functions, like the heart rate.
Some of the possible results of long-term stress due to increased cortisol levels and inflammation include: suppression of your immune system; digestion problems; heart problems; obesity; and fertility problems. Chronic inflammation may also cause disease.
If you have chronic inflammation, you may experience symptoms like these:
● Acid reflux
● Skin conditions like psoriasis or acne
● High blood pressure
● Signs of aging, like wrinkles
● Frequent illness due to colds and flus
● Chronic pain
● Urinary tract infections
● Mouth sores
● Chest or abdominal pain
● Joint pain…
Chronic inflammation can be improved with diet or lifestyle. If you eat too much sugar, processed foods, drink too much soda or caffeine, and don’t get enough exercise, sleep, and water, it can cause all kinds of inflammation problems. Think balance in all things.
Many people don’t even know they suffer from chronic inflammation. Our bodies try to tell us through these various maladies but sometimes we don’t listen or we take it at face value.We chase down medicines to try to help the problems rather than looking at our diet and lifestyle that might be contributing.
How do you prevent chronic inflammation?
Some things you can’t control but some things you can. It’s all about the choices you make, every day. Here are a few things you can do to give your body a fighting chance to avoid chronic inflammation, and the resulting maladies:
Watch what you eat. Don’t overeat, especially sugars, processed foods and caffeine. Eat more “real foods”. In fact, the fewer ingredients in your food, the better. The best thing is one ingredient: carrots; celery; apples; etc. Next time you suffer from some of the above maladies ask yourself “what has my diet consisted of the last few weeks?” Often times, if we are honest with ourselves, cleaning up our diet would result in an overall feeling of better health.
Figure out if you have some food sensitivities. Many people suffer from inflammation due to a sensitivity to a particular food .
If you think this might be you, an elimination diet can help determine for sure.
Floss your teeth. Just like your dentist tells you to. Gingivitis is a form of inflammation, and can actually contribute to inflammation in the heart and blood vessels; not a good thing.
Get more sleep. Your body needs this time to repair and restore. It’s when your body “takes out the trash”, all the toxins and damaged cells. You don’t want those floating around, do you?
Smoking, recreational drugs, and excessive alcohol will definitely harm your health. If you over-indulge when you’re stressed, you’re not just calming yourself down, you’re putting extra stress on your body.
Lose weight. Obesity actually creates more inflammation, which in turn, makes it harder to lose weight. Reduce inflammation in other ways, and it will be easier to lose weight.
Reduce stress in your life. Yes, easier said than done. Do meditation, yoga, and daily exercise, and develop stress-coping strategies. Yoga, specifically the deep breathing, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in the body and thus reducing inflammation.
In the end our well being always goes back to the basics – what we put in to our bodies, how much sleep we are able to get to repair the body and a consistent exercise and deep breathing practice to reduce cortisol levels.
What do sugar, heroin, and morphine have in common?
Sugar – I don’t know very many people who don’t battle a problem with sugar at some point. Why is that? Why do we crave sugar?
If you remember good ‘ol health class, when you get a hit of dopamine – a chemical neurotransmitter – it stimulates the pleasure center of your brain. When you consume sugar, it releases dopamine. Since it feels good, you want more… and more… That’s how you develop an addiction.
Here’s the answer to the question in the title: Heroin and morphine stimulate those same receptors in your brain.
And even though you may try very hard to curb your addiction, willpower usually isn’t quite enough to help you lay off the sweets.
If you are wanting to overcome your addiction to sweets it helps to look at why you turn to them…
Sometimes we turn to sweets as comfort food when we are feeling lonely, frustrated, bored and many other emotions. We crave dopamine to feel better, but it wears off quickly. This becomes a habit whenever we feel a little down. If this is you, it’s important to identify with the emotion driving you to sweets and find a substitute. Try a hot bath, diffusing sweet essential oils, having one piece of hard candy. Or better yet, go for a walk or bike ride or some other type of exercise. It turns out the more you sit on your butt, the more you want to eat! So get up and move to curb your appetite. Exercise builds stronger muscles, which burn more glucose (sugar).
Sometimes sugar cravings are about what we are NOT eating.
Our bodies need a balance of protein, carbs and fat to function properly. Many of us are still on the “carbs are bad” bandwagon. However, our bodies need complex carbohydrates, without them you will feel low in energy and low in dopamine making you feel sad and sluggish. Make sure your day includes complex carbs like a half cup of whole grain rice or oatmeal, a sweet potato or winter squash. Carbs are not bad…choosing the right carbs is necessary for your body to operate efficiently.
Another way to reduce your sugar cravings is to eat more natural sugars, like whole and dried fruit. Slip them in wherever you can: add pear slices or dried cranberries to your salad, or put some lemon or mango on your chicken. Eat a dried prune for a snack.
Finally, do you eat breakfast? By skipping your early meals your body will want to “make up for it” later in the day. Head off your sugar cravings early in the day by having lean protein for breakfast. Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, eggs, or peanut butter will all help you feel full longer in the day. Keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day by eating three meals and two snacks, all filled with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Include beans, lean meats, nuts, whole grains, eggs, and vegetables.
A lot of your efforts to curb the sweets involve some mental preparation. Figure out when you are most likely to cave in, then don’t put yourself in those situations (eg, take a different route to the restroom, instead of past the vending machine). Prepare a baked apple stuffed with nut butter for dessert instead of ice cream. Also, instead of using cakes and cookies for celebrations, find other ways to bring yourself pleasure. Maybe with scented candles, or a favorite flavor of tea.
I know it’s not easy saying no to sweets. And you don’t have to say no all the time. The trick is to find a way to eat sweets in moderation, so you can manage your weight, as well as your long-term health.
Don’t set New Years Resolutions
Resolve NOT to make a New Years’ resolution in 2018
You might find that odd advice from a health and wellness coach. Don’t get me wrong I am all for setting goals, using a vision board or whatever method you like for planning and achieving goals for the new year. However, inevitably New Years’ resolutions revolve around losing weight and “becoming healthy.”
Let me know if you can relate…it’s New Years’ Day – the last day you are going to eat ______(insert sugar, bread, alcohol, meat, gluten or whatever else it is you are going to give up to finally get healthy). You spend New Years day eating all the above because it’s the “last” time you’ll eat it for however long. You might clean out the refrigerator or pantry in preparation and you tell everyone about the “diet” you will be starting. You have the best of intentions and even might have a plan of joining this group or that program. Did you make this same resolution last year???
I know this because this was me for years…EVERY New Years’ it was the same, I was going to lose weight and 364 days later I was in the same boat. I am sorry to say but none of those things will work for the short term. Why?
Any program that has you removing food groups (insert no carbs, low carbs, no sugar, high fat, low fat, no fat, no bread; OR plans that have you eating 6 meals a day, eating 3 meals a day, eating only whole foods, adding fiber to your food or wine, tracking your food, etc. I could go on and on…these programs have one flaw…you cannot maintain them long term. It’s not you or lack of willpower – you are human and you will eventually fall off the wagon. You might lose weight initially but once you end whatever program it is; the weight will come back.
We have to eat to live so you will always be confronted with temptation. Same goes for exercise, unless you love working out, eventually your interest will wane. So what to do? Hold on because I’m going to let you in on the secret to finally be free of the New Years’ resolutions to lose weight.
True lasting weight loss has three components…
1) A balanced view of food (90/10 rule for weight loss, 80/20 rule for weight management)
2) A balanced exercise lifestyle (strength training to build and maintain muscle, a cardio component for a strong heart and a stretching/mobility component)
3) Consistency (not starting and stopping)
Let’s talk about #1
To LOSE weight you need to be compliant 90% of the time. If you eat 3 meals a day that is 21 meals a week. That means 2 meals a week can be out of compliance. What is compliance? That is where you may need to consult a professional to help you determine your personal needs.
Once you reach your desired weight then you can move into 80/20. This will become your lifestyle for the rest of your life – no more New Years’ Resolutions! Here is the key, it only happens with consistency over time.
True health involves #2 as well. Guess what, you never get to the point where you are healthy enough to stop exercising. Sorry to break it to you. You lose muscle as you age, strength training is the only way to ensure you maintain your muscle mass. Consult a professional if you are unsure why you need muscle mass. Find a program, that you like which incorporates strength training and cardio and stick with it. This will help bridge the gap with weight loss and maintenance and finding a program that you like means you will continue with it (consistency). Stretching and mobility is important to repair your muscles from working out and to maintain flexibility and balance as you age. Consistency is key here too!
Sounds like a lot right? Sure it is, that’s why so many of us are making resolutions to lose weight every year. It’s not complicated but you may need a professional to help you. Think about all the professionals you pay to do your taxes, cut and color your hair, teach your children a sport or to sing or act. You are not the expert in those areas so it’s ok not to be the expert in nutrition, exercise, accountability and motivation. Ask yourself why wouldn’t you hire a professional to help you live a longer, healthier life?
If you have been setting the same resolution year after year I’d love to be able to speak with you about creating and achieving your health and wellness goals.
Making Time vs Finding Time
Based on many conversations I’ve had with my clients, the biggest obstacle to being healthy: they run out of time.
They know they “should” be taking care of themselves… that when they feel healthy they feel better about themselves… that exercise and proper nutrition give them energy to do all the things they want to do…
But finding time to get to their workout every day is challenging.
So let me help “find time” in your schedule, so you don’t put off taking care of yourself.
-Do you FIND time for your workouts or do you MAKE time? Each week you should know WHEN those workouts are planned just like an appointment with your doctor. It’s just as important don’t schedule over it.
-Missed your scheduled workout? That doesn’t mean you skip it entirely. Find a You Tube video online and get 15 minutes in. Google an online yoga class there are plenty of free one’s available and do it during your lunch break. Walk 15 minutes before dinner and 15 minutes after. Do something over nothing, every bit counts.
-Instead of making dinner take that time to workout and have a protein smoothie for dinner. Make the workout the priority and still get in a healthy meal just don’t take so long to prepare it.
-Schedule one thing you will do each day. On Sunday’s I plan, Monday’s I work on my website, Tuesdays is Finance day, Wednesdays is Marketing, Thursdays I go through mail. Find your key tasks and only touch them one day a week.
-Need more time in the day? Get up an hour earlier, have your coffee and answer your emails and forum posts that waste your time during the day. Then stay off social media.
-Check email twice a day. Once in the morning, once at night.
(I need to work on this one!)
-Use your gap times. Gap times are those down times that aren’t long enough to finish a task. Gap times can be waiting in the carpool lane, waiting at appointments, times between clients, commuting times. How can you use those times more wisely? Try audio books, printing off articles you want to read during gap times, planning weekly meals, updating your to do list.
Try just one idea off this list to find some extra time in your day so your health and wellness doesn’t take a back seat. Of course, a trainer always helps you remain accountable for your workouts ensuring your weekly appointments are scheduled and completed. If your workouts are taking a back seat, contact me and let me help find time in your schedule to make them happen.
Commitment Challenge Winners
So happy to announce my Commitment Challenge winners Cheryl & Neha who earned tickets to the Movie House and Eatery! What did they do? They committed to their workouts in December, traditionally a month where clients find every excuse to not be available. It’s easy to have a busy holiday season come in the way of your results; results arise out of consistency. A Personal Trainer helps keep you on track even during the busiest time of the year!
“What in the world will we eat for dinner tonight?” Meal Planning
How often have you picked up the kids in the evening and let them talk you into the local drive-through, because it was easier than going home and trying to figure out what to serve for dinner?
If this ever happens to you, even occasionally, you are not alone! We live in what seem to be frantic times, and there’s always something else that needs your attention.
But there is a solution to the last-minute fast-food decision. It’s called meal planning.
Meal Planning truly is life changing. For me, meal planning is one of the main tools that helped me lose over 100lbs and keep it off. It also allows my family to sit down and eat together a minimum of 5 dinners a week. And my family is just as busy as yours…I promise. Sometimes we sit down at 5:00pm to eat before leaving for practice at 6pm; we’ve also eaten at 4:30pm and then again later. It’s that important to us to eat together and it’s that important for my son/athlete to fuel properly for his practices. I’m amazed at how many people drop their kids off for a practice or game with a bag of Chik Fil A or nothing and expect them to perform at their peak. I’m not judging, this is what I do, I know better, that’s why I am here to help.
There are some great reasons to plan your meals in advance instead of just standing in front of an open freezer, wondering what you can throw together, usually making poor nutritional decisions because you are hungry, stressed and tired.
• Meal planning helps you save money. It’s much cheaper to eat grocery-bought food than fast food.
• When you fill the pantry with real food snacks and meals, you and your whole family reap the benefits. These include: eating fewer chemical additives (which adversely affect us in so many ways); eating more vitamins and minerals (which not only builds your immune system and helps you fight germs and illness, but also helps your children’s bones and organs grow well); feeling healthier; BEING healthier; and being less likely to gain weight.
• You’ll waste less food when you plan exactly how you’re going to use it all. This isn’t just the main meals; it also includes leftovers and snacks. This is the best way to avoid finding unexpected science experiments in the back of the fridge!
• If you’ve ever wondered, “What are we going to eat for dinner tonight?” at 4 pm, or even at 7 pm, you’ll realize how much unnecessary stress you’re putting on yourself. It takes up a lot of mental energy to try to think on the fly. It’s a lot less stressful if you already have the meals planned in advance, and know exactly what you’re going to serve each night.
• Planning in advance also definitely saves a lot of time. A little time up front planning truly saves on the back end.
OK, so those are all the compelling reasons to plan your meals. How do you actually do it? Here are some steps you can take right away:
● Start with a weekly template – breakfast/lunch/dinner. If this seems overwhelming how about start with planning 5 dinners this week? Once that goes smoothly start adding in your lunches and breakfasts until you are planning all your meals for the week. Take out your calendar and see WHEN you can eat; planning around your families weekly activities/commitments. You can’t plan a labor intensive meal if your calendar says you have 30 minutes to get it on the table. Plan accordingly.
● Make a grocery list for those meals and cross reference with ingredients you already have in the house. Too busy to shop? Most grocery now offer pick up or delivery an amazing time saver.
● Build up a go-to resource of at least 20 family-favorite recipes. Use at least 4 of them each week, rotating so you don’t use each one more than once every few weeks, and add in a couple of new recipes the other days.
● Plan to eat leftovers for breakfast and lunch. This means making a little (or a lot) more when you first cook the meal. I make a double batch of my dinner and pack it up in a lunch portion size container for the next day. Now, I only plan dinner and my lunches are already planned. Less food is wasted this way.
● Look at your meal plan the night before to see if something needs to be prepped ahead of time to prepare for the next day ie – crock pot meal etc.
● More tips:
○ Stretch your meat by putting it in a stir-fry or salad where you can include a lot more veggies. These are quick to make too.
○ Make some meals ahead, say, on the weekend, with a double recipe especially the more labor intensive meals.
○ The next week before planning meals, look at what you still have on hand and plan around using that first.
I hope this has given you at least a few great ideas you can try that will make meal planning easier, cheaper, and healthier for you and your family.
I offer tips like these every Monday on this Facebook page so if you find them helpful make sure you follow the page to continue to see them. If you think this can help someone, feel free to share! Happy Meal Planning.
how you can feel after a session…