Going Vegan: San Jose Boot Camp Coach Chronicles her Month as a Vegan

Vegan DietNever in a million years did I think I would try a vegan diet.  About 15 years ago, I tried to switch to a vegetarian diet (which allows eggs and dairy) and I lasted 4 days! I joked that I ran out of stuff to cook for dinner, as my husband doesn’ t like nuts or cheese.  SO many of the recipes in the cook books I bought called for nuts and cheese.

So, why go vegan?  Because somebody asked me to.  Sort of.

Here’s the story:  I received an email from the Marketing Team leader at Whole Foods Market on Blossom Hill Road.  She asked if I would be interested in partnering with Whole Foods to lead a  class in their store on approaching a healthier lifestyle through diet and fitness. The classes would follow a book that has a 28-day eating plan in it (The Engine 2 Diet Plan).  I wasn’t that familiar with the Engine 2 book at that point, but I thought, “Sure!  I’d like to help people eat healthier!”  So, I told her I was in.  Then I bought the book.  Uh oh.  The book follows a “plant strong” approach.  In other words……….it’s vegan.  Not only NO animal flesh, but no eggs, no cow’s milk, no cow’s milk yogurt.  OMG…….what had I said “Yes” to???Engine 2 Diet

I considered emailing her back and telling her I couldn’t lead a class on a vegan diet because I’m not a vegan, and I’m not really sure I could do it myself.   Then I began reading the book a little more and I read about some amazing changes in blood chemistry by some people who had followed the diet. I have high cholesterol levels (yes, a fitness professional who exercises and eats pretty well has high cholesterol.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!  My form of high cholesterol is genetic, according to my doctor).  I decided that if I had recipes to follow  and the accountability of being the dang leader of this group—-I could do it!  I told my husband I’d precook all the “meatage” he’d need for the month, but that I was going vegan for 28 days in February.  After he stopped laughing, he told me he’d support me by eating (or attempting to eat) whatever  I cooked for dinner, and he’d be “off the plan” for breakfast and lunch so he could do his own thing.  So, off we went on our 28-day adventure.

We got our fasting cholesterol tested the day we started the diet plan and again today.

Here are some take aways from my 28-day Vegan experience:

-I thought we ate a lot of vegetables, but we ate WAY more veggies last month. Example:  I went through 2 bags of onions and probably one dozen sweet peppers.  Normally in a months time, I’d use about 3 or 4 of each for the two of us.  The recipes we tried PACKED in a lot of vegetables.  This is a good thing.

-I spent less money on food last month.  Vegan staples like bulk whole grains, fruits, veggies and whole grain pasta products are inexpensive.

-My food processor got some SERIOUS use and stayed on my kitchen counter (normally it lives under the kitchen counter).  I used it almost every day for chopping veggies.

-We decided the “fake” meat we tried is kind of gross.  Vegan hot dogs had a weird texture.  Veggie meat crumbles were disgusting (or they had gone bad.  Not sure which.  But we won’t be trying them again).

-Beans give you gas. Lots of beans give you lots of gas 😆 .  I understand that over time, your body adjusts and you’re better able to digest the oligosaccharides (starches) in the beans.  That hadn’t happened yet by day 28.  I like the addition of some bean dishes to our diet, though, so they’ll be staying in.  We just won’t have any guests over on those nights ;-).

-Many of the recipes lacked a lot of flavor, in our opinion.  I think that over time, our palates adapt, though, so we’d get used to it.  I need to give a shout out to one of my clients, Cristin B ., who is a vegetarian.  She warned me that I might need to add more spices and seasonings to recipes.  She was right.  My instinct was to reach for the salt shaker, but I think we need to experiment with sodium free alternatives like Mrs. Dash seasonings, garlic powder, herbs/herb blends, etc.

-I really like a little cup of yogurt as an afternoon snack.  I knew I needed to find a vegan substitute for this.  I found that coconut milk yogurt tastes pretty good (Soy yogurt did the same thing to me that beans did ).  I don’t think coconut milk yogurt is any healthier  than cow’s milk yogurt, though.

-I didn’t miss beef or chicken.  A couple of times I felt like I was missing seafood (maybe it was those Red Lobster “Lobster Fest” commercials that started popping up in mid-February!).

-The thing I missed most?  Drinking milk with lunch or dinner.  I didn’t realize how much I did that, and I found that plain water with a meal was getting a bit boring.  I switched to carbonated water (Calistoga with a hint of lemon) and that helped with the “plain water boredom”.  I used Almond milk in my cereal, in smoothies and in my oatmeal.  Just never wanted to drink a cup of it as a beverage for some reason.

– I learned that “going Vegan” wasn’t as hard and restricting as I thought.

– I learned I love to eat salads, but I don’t like making them.  Thank goodness for “salad in a bag”.

-Wine is vegan, I believe.  Didn’t give it up.

-And while we’re at it……dark chocolate is also vegan.  Yeah, I ate some.

-To my surprise, my husband ended up sticking to the Vegan diet for breakfast and lunch.  He completely amazed me.  Never would have guessed he’d do that.  He’s a huge meat eater, and I’m very proud of him for hanging in there with me and going above and beyond what he originally pledged.

-My husband lost 11 pounds in the 28-day program.  Towards the end of the month, the members of my Almaden boot camp were begging me to “feed the poor guy”.  He works out with us in the Almaden camp, and I think our members thought he was wasting away.  Oh, and if you’re wondering about me?  Yours truly lost 1 pound.  Yep, a whole 16 ounces.

-We had our cholesterol tested today.  My husband’s total cholesterol dropped 35 points.  Mine?  It dropped only 6 points.  My triglycerides went up by 13 points. My husband’s triglycerides dropped by about 20 points.  Why the variations?  I am not a physician or a registered dietician, but as a fitness expert who knows a few things about nutrition, I would attribute it to individual variations in body/blood chemistry, digestion and genetics.

-Aside from a HUGE thanks to my husband for hanging in there with me on this program, I have two shout outs for a few people who were on this journey with me as well:

  • MAJOR props to boot camp member Lisa N.  Lisa lost 6 pounds on the program and inches off her waist and hips.
  • Big thanks to challenge participant Debra H., who attended all of the weekly meetings at Whole Foods.  As a practicing vegan, she helped me field some questions from participants I couldn’t answer, and she was a great sounding board at all our Engine 2 weekly meetings.


Our 28-day Vegan experience has come to an end. What now?  We’ll go back to eating animal products-but I suspect less of them (okay maybe just me.  Not sure the hubby is on board with this).

My husband’s birthday is on Monday, but I’m taking him and his mom out for his birthday dinner tonight.

Care to guess where he has asked to go?  Outback Steakhouse  :-D.







Common Boot Camp Misconceptions Part 1

Jack La Lanne's Glamour StretcherIn my 25 years of helping individuals get into shape, I hear a lot of misgivings, myths and misconceptions about signing up for a fitness bootcamp.  In David Letterman style, here’s my top ten list:

 10. I’m Too Old

Actually the oldest boot camper I have trained was well into her 70s.  I’ve also had the privilege of training an 94-year old in personal 1:1 sessions. So, the adage of “you’re never too old” is absolutely true when it comes to exercising. According to Health Magazine, experts believe exercise can be the real fountain of youth. Boosting your metabolism and building healthy muscle can help you feel better and be fit at any age. Plus, there are the side effects: strength training to keep bone density and weight loss to reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes. Hey, Jack La Lanne worked out until his death at 96. At lifeSport Fitness, we even have a Fit & Fab Boot Camp designed just for women over 40.

9. I’m Too Young

Creating healthy habits when you’re young is a good thing! Adding a boot camp into your exercise routine can add variety to typical gym workouts. Even young athletes involved in team sports (such as soccer, volleyball or basketball) may not get a full, well-rounded workout.  Boot camp exercises work the legs as well as upper body, so no one area is over-trained.

8. I Can’t Get Up in the Morning

Yes, it’s true most boot camp programs start early in the morning. Once you get into the routine of rising early for a workout, you’ll find it gets easier. Many clients report that they are more alert and energized throughout the day. When they do sleep, it’s more restful… making it easier to get up in the morning. According to SleepFoundation.org experts, you shouldn’t exercise three hours before bedtime. But if you’re really not a morning person no matter what you’ve tried, there are evening boot camps that may be a better match for your schedule.

7. I Can’t Afford It

Many boot camps are actually less expensive than a gym membership. If you add in the personalized training you receive at a boot camp, the savings is even more dramatic. Frequently eating out or ordering a specialty Starbucks coffee can really add up. Where could you trim an expense or two? Investing in your health is always a good idea. It may even lead to more fiscally friendly habits like packing healthy lunches or snacks rather than drive-thru fare.

6. I’ll Get Hurt

The truth is a qualified trainer knows how to modify exercises to tailor to various fitness levels. Working out in a boot camp is a great way to determine where you’re at and how to improve… under the watchful eye of a certified and knowledgeable instructor.

I’ll be back next week with my remaining 5 Common Boot Camp Misconceptions.

If I’ve already overcome your fear about fitness boot camps, and you’re interested in test driving a lifeSport Fitness boot camp, click here to request a free one-week trial!  I want a FREE week at lifeSport Fitness boot camp in San Jose!!!

Healthy Eating Recipes: Summer Zucchini Recipes

Healthy_zucchini_recipesLate summer brings boatloads of zucchini to those of us who are home gardeners (or friends/neighbors of home gardeners).

If you’ve got zucchini coming out of your ears right now, the healthy recipes I have for you here may be something you can use right about now!  I mean, there’s only so much steamed zucchini you can eat, right?

The first recipe here is one I adapted from a recipe in Prevention magazine.  It’s on my menu plan tonight.  I’ll serve this crispy baked zucchini with barbequed salmon and some roasted asparagus.  I have the good fortune of having  clients who fish for salmon near their Canadian vacation home (thanks KT and Brooks!), so this is going to be one fresh, wholesome dinner!  Can’t wait :-D.

Oven-Baked Zucchini

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 c shredded parmesan cheese

2 egg whites

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Three medium sized zucchini


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1). Line a baking sheet with foil. Place egg whites in a shallow dish and stir slightly to blend. In another shallow dish, add panko, parmesan cheese and seasonings to taste and stir.

2). Slice zucchini into approximately 3” lengths. Then cut the 3” segments in half lengthwise. Slice the zucchini halves one more time lengthwise into quarters. Dip zucchini strips in egg white mixture and then roll in panko mixture to coat.

3). Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining zucchini strips. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until zucchini are lightly browned.

Fun taste treat: Dip baked zucchini strips in low fat ranch dip, marinara sauce or salsa.



The second zucchini  recipe I have for you I borrowed (with permission) from the blog of my friend and fitness colleague, Justin Yule.  Justin runs a top notch fitness program in Chanhassen, Minnesota.  If you want to read about a goofy holiday revolving around the dreaded onslaught of waaaaay too many zucchinis growing in your garden all at once, check out his funny blog post about what do do with all that zucchini at the end of the summer.

This recipe is terrific if you find a HUGE foot-long zucchini in your garden (I swear, some of these things grow 5 inches overnight!).

Grilled Zucchini Pizza with Goat Cheese

zucchini pizza bites Chanhassen Weight Loss Celebrate Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbors Porch Day!


1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup pizza sauce

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


1. Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.

2. Brush one side of each zucchini round with olive oil; brush the opposite side with pizza sauce. Evenly divide red onion, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic, and Italian seasoning over each zucchini round.

3. Grill zucchini pizzas over preheated grill until zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes.


In our boot camp and personal training programs in San Jose, we’re always trying to show you new ways to eat fresher and healthier.  These two recipes plus our fresh tomato sauce recipe from last week should help.


Here’s to eating and enjoying all that our home gardens have to offer!


If you’ve got a favorite zucchini recipe, feel free to share it here in the comments section.



Rock Climbing For Fun and Fitness With The Family

Rock Climbing has become an incredibly popular physical activity. You don’t need to have a rock face near you in order to enjoy the benefits however. There are several indoor rock climbing facilities right here in the Bay Area.  You’ve got Planet Granite in Sunnyvale Touchstone Climbing in San Jose .

One of the major benefits of rock climbing at an indoor facility is the fact that almost anybody is able to carry it out whether they have experience or not. Some of the more advanced centers have multiple walls put into place to accommodate different ages, fitness or skill levels. Since you are in a safe and controlled environment it also does not carry the same risk as rock climbing outside. This basically means that almost anybody is able to jump in and start building up their fitness levels and getting an intense work out even if they’re just learning.

Most indoor rock climbing facilities are fairly inexpensive and accommodating to beginners so they make an ideal place to take your family for your first foray into rock climbing. As you improve your skills you will be able to head to more advanced forms of climbing. You will often find that getting a child started in this type of activity early will spur on their interest for a long time to come. This means that you will be getting your child interested in fitness activities from an early age :-).

So why is rock climbing something to try with the whole  family? The main reason is that everybody can get involved with the activity. It encourages better hand-eye coordination in young people, and it’s great for upper body strength development for all ages.  It is also incredibly fun. Your children won’t even know that they are working out and will be looking forward to that rock climbing session each and every week.

Rock Climbing will help build up the muscles in your legs and arms and therefore it is a pretty physically demanding work out. This in turn will help you increase your fitness levels. Increased fitness levels will lead to a loss of weight, reduced chance of heart disease and feeling healthier in general. All of this can happen while you are having fun with your family. Rock climbing is also a great way to bond with your family.


For more articles go to http://lifesportfitness.lifestyleezine.com

Fat Loss Made Easy–Tips from lifeSport Fitness Boot Camp in San Jose

Tips for getting greater fat loss results in the next 12 weeks

Body fat measurement at San Jose boot campI recently held a free assessment day for members of our lifeSport Fitness boot camps in San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos.  Because the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s important to track other measurements such as body fat and girth to really get a clear picture of what’s happening once you start to do boot camp workouts.  So, we offer free measurements for our members to keep them focused and on track.

At lifeSport Fitness, we work hard to make every boot camp workout extremely effective for fat loss:  We do LOTS of strength training. We do interval training to increase the calorie burn of the workout.  We make sure to train the whole body in a functional manner in every workout.

That said, my coaches and I can’t out-train a client’s poor diet 🙂.

If you don’t eat enough, you don’t fuel your workouts well and you might lose muscle over time.  If you eat too many calories, you won’t shed body fat.  And, if you eat about the right amount of food, but it’s nutritionally unbalanced or down right non-nutritious food–well– you’re probably not going to feel very good AND you probably won’t shed fat.

Bottom line, nutrition accounts for a LARGE margin of your results. You need to eat often and eat nutritiously to fuel an active body.  You also need to be aware of portions and quantity.

I gave a “tips” sheet to our members at our assessment day to give them ideas for getting to the next level of fat loss at their next assessment, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you want to be leaner in the next 8-12 weeks, you should:


LOG your food intakeJournaling your food helps your weight loss plan

If you (or I) don’t really know what you’re eating, you don’t know what needs to be changed, and I don’t know how to coach you on changes you should make.

Start a free account at www.myfitnesspal.com.  Your journal is only as “honest” as you are, but you’ll see your calories, protein, fat, etc all listed there. This particular website is “smart phone friendly”.  You can scan food packaging and it will automatically upload the food item to your journal.

Increase your vegetable intake by AT LEAST 50%

This will fill up your plate, decrease your calorie consumption and increase your overall nutrition by a HUGE margin!  The greater variety of colors on your plate, the better!


If you're trying to lose weight, don't drink your calories!Pay attention to the calories you drink

These are very often “forgotten” calories—but they may be the ones that are ending up on your waistline.  Big culprits here:  Blended coffee drinks, alcoholic beverages, juices and other sweetened drinks.



If you eat out more than 3 times a week, work on decreasing that number

Restaurant food is chock full of calories, fat and salt.  It’s really hard to lose fat if you’re eating large fatty, salty or sugary commercial meals on a regular basis.


Plan and schedule your workouts outside of camp

If you’re actively trying to shed fat, I suggest doing some form of cardio exercise (longer, lower intensity workouts, as well as shorter High Intensity Interval Training cardio workouts) 5 times a week.  Strength training should be done 2-3 times a week.  When pressed for time, do your strength/cardio together circuit style.


DON’T diet

This fails every single time.  Diets are temporary.  Your lifeSport Fitness boot camp coaches and I want  to teach you how to lose fat and keep it off by changing your food habits and your lifestyleIf you start on some sort of fat loss plan you can’t live with—you’re doomed to fail.  Deprivation just doesn’t work long term.


Make small changes over time. Focus on what TO eat, not what NOT to eat.  Have indulgences now and then.  THAT’s real life. Yes, the fat will come off more slowly this way, but it’s more likely that you’ll stick with the new habits.


Committed to your success,




Image credits:

Pen and journal

Blended coffee drink

Workout Motivation – Tips to Getting Back on Track

*Colorful_tenniesWorkout motivation can change over time. It’s been four months since the holidays wrapped up with New Year’s Resolutions. In January many of my San Jose boot camp clients began their exercise program energized and super motivated. They woke up early to join fellow boot campers for a rigorous and fun workout. They also started a healthy eating program, increasing the number of fiber-rich foods like fruits and veggies into their diet. They were vigilant in drinking water and getting enough rest.

Now… fast forward a couple of months. They lost several pounds and/or inches by working out regularly. They feel better because they have more energy. Their clothes fit better. But after a while they hit a weight loss plateau. Or, they feel deprived of some of their favorite foods.  Or, sleeping in is getting more tempting each morning.  Or their work schedule has changed. Or……you get the point: They lose focus.

Here are 5 Tips to reclaim your Workout Motivation:

Plan For Exercise

Before your work week starts, make sure you schedule exercise throughout the week. Sunday is a good day to do some pre-planning: meal menus and strategies that allow for working out during meeting-packed days. By being purposeful about your workouts and committing to specific times, you’ll see long-term success.

Revisit Your Goal Sheet

When I begin working with a new client, I have them complete a goal sheet. Typical questions include: what’s a short-term goal and accompanying time frame? What actions will you put in place to achieve your goal? What kind of challenges do you need to overcome in order to reach your goal? If you haven’t already, fill out a goal sheet. If you have one, great! Now it’s time to revisit it… even prominently placing it somewhere where you can see it at home or work. By reviewing your goal sheet often will help keep you focused.

What’s Your Why?

There’s a fundamental reason that initially provide your workout motivation. Why did you decide to embark on this journey? Remind yourself why you want to exercise and keep positive.  Journal about your motivation so you can look back on it from time to time. Another powerful tool is visualization. Think ahead to what your life would be like once you achieve your goal(s). How do you feel? What’s different? Visualization is a technique that many Olympic athletes use to train and maintain focus.

Let’s Make Deal

Sometimes it’s about having fun. Play a game by giving yourself a specific weekly challenge. When you follow-through on that challenge, give yourself a treat. Have some fun in your approach to making exercise an ever-changing adventure by giving yourself personal challenges.

Exercise Buddiesworkout_buddies

Find a workout buddy to whom you are accountable. Knowing someone is waiting for you at the gym or local track can be reason enough to get out of bed and follow-through for early morning workouts. For those competitive A-Type personalities, this can really ignite your workout motivation where you can exchange progress reports.

So how do YOU keep your workout motivation in tune? Please share your tips that have kept you on track in the comments section!



Image credits:

Running Shoes

Hopscotch buddies

Choosing a Personal Trainer: 6 Must Ask Questions

Running at San Jose boot campFinding a personal trainer that’s right for you can be a daunting task. Unlike many health care professions (like physical therapy and nursing), there is currently no state licensing or educational requirement for personal trainers. An individual calling themselves a personal trainer could have just passed a weekend or online course. Or, they could hold an advanced degree from a University program. Consumers must do their due diligence when looking for a personal trainer that best matches their fitness and health goals. When interviewing individuals, here are 6 questions to ask before signing on the dotted line:

1. What’s your experience?

Nothing makes for a better personal trainer than experience. Lots of it. As I look back over my 25+ year career, I’m a much better personal trainer now than I was when I first earned my Master’s Degree in kinesiology.  Ask your trainer candidate how long they’ve been training and elaborate on the types of clients they’ve helped.  Listen carefully to determine if their real-life training experience applies specifically to your fitness goal(s).  For example, teaching group classes like yoga or boot camps is very different than hands-on personalized fitness training. Don’t be shy. Delve into your candidate’s background to see if their “in the trenches” experience will benefit you.

Personal_Trainer_Certification2. What kind of education or certifications do you have?

There’s a significant difference between personal trainers who hold a bachelor’s degree or master’ s degree in an exercise science (exercise physiology, kinesiology, etc). That said, some trainers can become very skilled through a combination of self study and achieving various certifications that test their knowledge. Which is best depends upon your needs, like wanting to lose stubborn belly fat with high intensity workouts or train for an upcoming marathon.

3. What’s your specialty? Why did you choose it?

Personal training specialties can vary depending upon fitness goals and special needs. Do you have low back pain? Diabetes? Ask your trainer candidate if he/she has worked with people like you before. You’ll want specifics on their approach and the results they’ve achieved for their clients. This is also an opportune time to consult a physician before beginning a new workout program if you have serious health concerns. In this Mayo Clinic article there are several conditions where caution may be warranted.

4. How would you describe your training approach or personality?

The personal training relationship is just that—personal. It’s important that you feel synergy with your trainer and can get comfortable with them. Some people prefer a nurturing personality while others want a no-nonsense drill sergeant. Be clear about what would motivate you (or not) as you’ll be spending several hours a week with this person.


5. What kind of results can I expect from working with you? Do you have references?

Most likely you’ve done some research before meeting with your personal trainer candidate. Ask if they have testimonials from happy clients and if you can contact them. If you don’t see testimonials in their marketing materials, that’s a red flag.

6. What’s your process in getting started?

Personal training is a business, and asking how they manage their business is a indicator of how they work with clients. Do they provide assessments? How do they measure results? Be sure to ask about their billing and cancellation policies and read the fine print to avoid any misunderstandings. Agreements up front will make it easier to keep focused on your fitness goals.

Have you ever looked for a personal trainer before?  Leave a comment below listing the attributes that are important to you in a personal trainer!

Image Credits:

Runner photo courtesy of LuLuLemon 

Diploma image 

Personal Trainer image

Holiday Fitness Gift Ideas from San Jose Boot Camp

Christmas hollyHappy Holidays!  It’s that time of year again to begin creating a holiday gift shopping list.

If you have a fitness enthusiast on your list, giving them a fitness/exercise related gift is a great way to give them a very personalized gift you know they’ll use and enjoy.

If you have a person on your gift list who is currently out of shape and wishes to improve their health, what better way to support and encourage them than to give them an exercise or health-related gift!

Just about everyone we know (including ourselves) needs to change up their routine, get some new workout gear, or pamper their hard-working body.

So….. with improved or continued health and fitness in 2012 as the theme, here are 12 holiday gift ideas that will fit any budget:


Gifts under $25

Drop-in pass for yoga, pilates  or boot camp class

We all need to “change it up” from time to time.  Giving a  friend a pass  to try new workouts is a great way to encourage them to try new things or simply get up off the couch.  Buy a pass for yourself and make it an opportunity to spend quality time with someone you care about.

Ideas:  Tru-Balance Pilates  www.tru-balance.com,  lifeSport Fitness boot camps! 😉  (shameless plug!!)

Jump rope

A jump rope is one of my favorite go-to pieces of equipment for interval training and circuit training.  It’s also a great travel workout accessory.  It’s easy to pack and can be used almost anywhere.  A jump rope makes a great stocking stuffer!

Foam roller

Foam rollers are wonderful for massaging sore muscles and working out kinks in tight muscles.  You can click the image below to learn more about foam rollers
Foam Rollers at Power Systems


Gifts under $50

Medicine ball

Medicine balls are a great addition to someone’s home workout arsenal.  You can use them for core training, strength training and cardio training!

Idea:  www.performbetter.com

Exercise DVD

For people who work out at home, an exercise DVD is a great gift!  You can find DVDs on any type of exercise including strength training, yoga, pilates, kick boxing, and even complete medicine ball workouts.

Idea:  www.collagevideo.com

Gift card for a sporting goods store

If you don’t know what your fitness enthusiast friend might like, a gift card to a local sporting goods or activewear store is an idea to consider.

Ideas: www.SportsAuthority.com, www.lucy.com

A set of exercise bands

Bands are another great tool for a home exerciser’s workout tool box.  They’re also great for travel. You can get 4 bands of different strengths for well  under $50! Click the image below for more information:

Resistance Bands Category


Gifts Under $100

Massage gift certificate

I haven’t met a fitness enthusiast who doesn’t love a good professional massage. ‘Nuff said.

Ideas:  Roman Paradigm Massage,  Dana Dobrenz massage therapy, BodyWork by Roger

Cross training shoes

Good shoes are important.   It may be hard to choose the right shoe and size for someone else, but a gift card to a shoe store that offers professional fitting advice is the next best thing

Ideas:  Athletic Performance  (Willow Glen and Los Gatos locations)


Gifts under $200

One month at a fitness bootcamp

This is giving a true gift of fitness!  One month of professionally designed, calorie-blasting workouts and personalized attention for the special person on your list!

Idea:  BootCamp in San Jose (yes, I know, another shameless plug)

A package of personal training sessions

If the person on your list isn’t a “group” person, or  needs one-on-one help, a few sessions with a professional fitness coach may be just what they need to get them started safely.

Ideas:  Personal training in San Jose  (oh, geez, there I go again!)

TRX Suspension Training System

This is one of my all-time favorite home exercise devices!  You can use it at home, at the park, and even in a hotel room.  Click on the image below to find out more about this amazing exercise equipment.

Okay.  So that’s my list of a dozen ideas for great exercise, health and fitness related gifts.

Let’s get some more exercise and health related gift ideas going!

What other items should we add to my list?  Leave a comment here your exercise or health related gift ideas!


Wishing you a happy holiday season and a healthy 2012!



How to Stay Fit While Traveling in San Jose

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens in San JoseBusiness and vacation travel can wreak havoc on one’s efforts to lose weight and stay in shape.  Luckily for those traveling to San Jose, there are many venues and opportunities to stay fit while there.

Located in Northern California, San Jose has mild climates that are conducive to outdoor workouts almost year round.  San Jose and surrounding cities (Campbell, Saratoga and Los Gatos) have a large network of paved bike paths and dirt walking trails that offer miles of beautiful scenery for walkers, runners and cyclists.

One of my favorite hiking trails starts in Downtown Los Gatos at Main Street and takes you up to the top of Lexington Dam for beautiful views of the valley.  Another collection of hiking/biking trails worth considering are the trails of Almaden Quicksilver Park. Quicksilver Park offers miles of trails with beautiful scenery.

Business travelers who may not have the option of venturing far from their hotel will find many downtown San Jose hotels,  such as the Fairmont Hotel,  offer well-equipped gyms for patrons.   Business travelers in Downtown San Jose who find themselves at a hotel without a gym can purchase a day pass at the San Jose Athletic Club on 3rd street. The local YMCA on The Alameda and the Southwest YMCA on Santa Teresa Boulevard offer non-local members passes to work out while traveling in San Jose.

Also available to travelers in Downtown San Jose are the paths of  Guadalupe River Park and Gardens.  These paths run through Downtown San Jose and offer several miles of paved, flat paths for walking or running.

For the adventurous types who like a challenging workout, I suggest walking the 224 steps at Communications Hill in South San Jose.  This creates a great interval training workout by challenging you on the way up, and giving you a much needed rest on the way down.

Rain or shine, if you want to stay fit while traveling in San Jose, we’ve got many options for you!

Exercise During Cancer Treatment: Exploring the Benefits

Physicians believe that exercise can benefit cancer patientsMany thanks to  Sydney Simmons of MesotheliomaSymptoms.com for this guest post on the benefits of exercise during cancer treatment.


For  a healthy individual, exercise can provide both physical and emotional benefits. However, for those with cancer, taking part in high intensity fitness programs can often be overwhelming.

Even if heavy exercise is contraindicated for a very ill patient, with their doctor’s approval they may be able to consider a lower intensity exercise program for the psychological benefits a regular fitness regimen can provide.  Lower intensity exercise might include walking, light bike rides, and light strength training.

The exercise level that is appropriate for a particular person battling cancer often coincides with the stage of cancer a patient is in. In stages one and two, patients are likely to have greater strength and stamina than if they are in a later stage of cancer. For example, mesothelioma cancer patients have a staging system which goes from one to four. Patients who are in stages one and two can often be found partaking in regular routines of exercise and fitness because it helps them feel better and withstand the rigors of treatment better.

Besides allowing them to maintain some level of their fitness during treatment, many cancer  patients find that regular, gentle exercise can help cut down on the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  Chemotherapy and radiation can often limit the body’s flexibility and bring on nausea and other unpleasant  symptoms. Yoga has been found to not only help cancer patients maintain better flexibility, but also to improve their mental well-being. Time spent exercising can positively affect the mental state by allowing time for reflection, and time away from the hospital, testing, and meeting with doctors.

Certainly physical fitness can bring great value to everyone. For cancer patients, it can play a very special roll in improving stamina during treatment as well as improving mental and emotional outlook.



The Mesothelioma Support Network has pulled together as a single resource everything related to asbestos in order to promote education and awareness for victims, their families, and the general public. Our goal is to provide accurate, relevant information that can be used for general informational purposes, and to advocate for a greater awareness of the dangers of asbestos and the realities of mesothelioma.