When to Pause on the Path and Look Back

Here’s a “hot take” on a common bit of advice that tells us to “Never look back – you’re not going that way.”

Yeah, sure. But here’s the deal.

If you don’t look back sometimes, then how can you review where you’ve been – and feel great about how far you’ve come?

If you’re always looking ahead to a goal off on the horizon, then you’re always going to be unsatisfied – because that goal, and the horizon, will constantly move farther away from your grasp.

It flies in the face of so much of our “goal-driven” culture, but it makes sense to focus on our gains instead of the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

That’s the premise of a book called “The Gap and the Gain” that offers a more constructive way of looking at yourself on your journey, whatever journey it might be.

The authors suggest that you’ll feel more inspired when you look back at how much you’ve gained, which is a defined point from THERE to HERE, rather than always reaching for some impossible “out there” that you can never, ever reach.

It’s a little like the “all or nothing” excuse that we often hear. People tell us they would love to get in shape, but they just don’t have time to dedicate their lives to it.

But guess what? You don’t have to dedicate endless hours and become obsessed with the gym. Any exercise is better than nothing. Any healthy meal is better than a drive-through. Any activity is better than none.

And it all adds up to impressive GAINS that will motivate you even further.

Seriously, think about this.

Do you feel frustrated because you haven’t reached your goal weight?

OK. Now remember what you weighed when you started. Compare it to your current weight. Applaud that gain! It’s fantastic!

If you can’t go to the gym five days a week, no worries. Go two days a week. That’s better than none.

It’s all in how you look at it, but in a practical sense that pays off in real dividends.

Specifically regarding “The Gap and the Gain,” here’s what co-author Benjamin Hardy says:
“[T]his one simple concept is a masterclass on positive psychology, healthy relationships, mental well-being, and high-performance. Everything that psychologists know about how to create a high-functioning and successful person can be achieved using The GAP and the GAIN.”

It makes perfect sense once you think about it.

If you’re always trying to be somewhere you LITERALLY CANNOT BE, then you’ll always feel like a failure.

But if you’re reviewing your achievements and saying, “Hey, I accomplished that much,” then you’re more likely to keep going – and to feel happy and successful.

Try it next time you find yourself saying something like, “I’m just not getting anywhere.”

Turn around, take a look… and SEE.

We want to be beside you on your journey, wherever you need us. Call or come see us today, and let’s get you moving.

That’s an easy GAIN you can make right now!

Eye of the Tiger: Keep Your Drive at Any Age

Studies show that having a purpose is key to overall optimal aging and to success in fitness at any age.

Once you meet 80-year-old track-and-field champion Howard Booth, you won’t doubt that again.

It’s Howard’s commitment that keeps him going in life and in sports.

“So much of it is the psychology,” says Howard, a retired professor. “I know that deep down, doing this stuff is good for me. There is a little bit of self-brainwashing involved,” he says, describing what others might call motivation.

He worked out in gyms before the pandemic and then built a home gym with a stair stepper, treadmills, chin bars, free weights – and a pole-vaulting pit in the back yard. He likes to lift weights, perform bodyweight exercises like pushups, and practice dynamic balance moves.

Howard has won three gold medals in pole vaulting in World Masters Athletics championships. He’ll compete in Sweden this summer in pole vault, hurdles, and a relay team.

His speed and strength training make him a competitor. Vaulting alone requires you to race down the track and hoist yourself over a bar 7 feet high.

“Drive is why I got a PhD. That’s why I had a great career as a professor,” said Howard. “It is paying attention to details of what you’re doing at that time.”

Determination Is Key

You don’t have to be a retired professor, a pole vaulter, or as dedicated as Howard is. You just need a purpose to keep you moving. Experts say we need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity cardio exercise, plus two strength training sessions a week, to stay healthy.

Many active agers benefit from focusing on a main “why.” They can return to it like a mantra for ongoing inspiration… Maybe they want to walk a granddaughter down the aisle, enjoy a summer working the back yard, or follow doctor’s orders to treat symptoms of chronic health conditions.

It doesn’t matter “what” your “why” is. Just that you have one.

Optimal aging requires the strength, stamina and agility to live life on your terms for as long as possible. It takes effort and determination, but you’re no stranger to putting in work to enjoy rewards later.

Plus, as Howard shows daily, it’s fun to move your body and to challenge and reward yourself.

He enjoys hiking with his wife, a painter, and they visit museums together when traveling for his track meets. Howard has a mountain bike and likes to paddleboard.

For anyone not quite as advanced – or, well, determined – as he is, Howard has some simple advice.

“Start simple and easy,” he says. “You get better and you learn to do new things, which is better than sitting there watching some stupid TV program that has no merit. When you’re done, give yourself kudos: You did it.”

Let us show you how to get that sparkle of drive back in your eye. Call or come see us today.

Gaining Plank-spiration from a 58-year-old World Record Holder

DonnaJean Wilde, a 58-year-old retired educator, made headlines recently when she set a world record for abdominal planking by a woman.

She received official recognition from the Guinness World Record folks for holding a plank for 4 hours, 30 minutes and 11 seconds in Magrath, a town in Alberta, Canada. That was 10 minutes longer than the previous record, set in 2019, Guinness says on its website.

“The challenger’s forearms and toes must touch the ground at all times,” Guinness explains. “The remainder of the body must be lifted off the ground and be kept straight throughout.”

Wilde says she has long suffered chronic pain in her hands and arms. She came to love planking after she broke her wrist and was limited in her activities.

During training, she would read, watch movies – and even completed the work to earn a master’s degree, Guinness says.

You can watch a video on DonnaJean’s achievement on YouTube.

The male record is held by former Marine George Hood, who planked for 8 hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds a few years ago at age 62.

Even people who are very fit will struggle to hold a plank for more than a few minutes. And good news: You don’t have to! The plank is great for core training, posture, gait, balance and more, can be done anywhere, and has many variations.

“Anybody can do what I do,” George told the media after reclaiming his title. “Everybody has to start somewhere.”

The Plank 101

It’s safe for people over 50 – as DonnaJean and George prove. “This is probably the best exercise you’ll ever do,” AARP blogger Barbara Hannah Grufferman wrote. Research shows the benefits of regular planking.

It helps your midsection without the strain of crunches. And it works more than just the abs, targeting the entire core, which wraps around us and stabilizes our bodies while doing everyday tasks. Stability and balance are essential for functional fitness.

When you’re in the plank position, you’re working just about every muscle in your body. The focus is on the core and abs. But you’re also using your legs, arms and back to stay in place.

We’re happy to show you in person, but here’s the basic idea. Start by lying face down on an exercise mat. Keep the elbows close to your sides, the palms facing down, and the fingers facing forward. Lift up, keep your body straight, and put your weight on your elbows and feet.

Engage those core muscles and hold on.

Aim for 30 seconds at first. Rest a minute. Try for three rounds of that to start, a few times a week. You’ll be amazed how fast you advance.

Motivation for Everyone

Let DonnaJean and George serve as inspiration, no matter what your goals are.

“Keep trying and keep practicing,” she told Guinness. “I actually still can’t believe it. It feels like a dream.”

Dreams come true at any age. Come see us today and let’s bring yours to life.

Stressed Out? Fight Back with Exercise

Stress is a killer, but we’re not helpless against it.

Regular physical exercise is one of the top defenses we have, no matter what age we are.

In our 20s and 30s, stress might be mostly related to finding a job or partner or raising kids.

But after 50 or so, we still have those concerns, plus maybe physical challenges, social isolation, changes in our bodies and brains, and the way we’re perceived by others. Older people are more likely to live alone, and alcohol abuse skyrocketed during the pandemic lockdown, partly because so many were struggling with the stress in isolation.

Every April, the United States and the United Kingdom highlight stress awareness. But why is stress so bad for our health?

First, it causes our bodies to release cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone,” to respond to threatening situations, even if the danger is merely perceived. Cortisol increases inflammation and factors that lead to clotting in the bloodstream. When we’re older, it takes longer to recover from a cortisol surge, and the effects are worse.

Stress weakens immunity and muscular reactions and can raise the likelihood of developing dementia. It also causes our hearts to work faster, leading to high blood pressure.

On the other hand, exercise lowers cortisol levels. It helps us feel like we’re not helpless, like we can manage the challenges that come up. It lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and obesity, improves sleep, and builds up muscle mass.

Exercise – like stress – affects your whole body, including your brain.

As for social isolation, countless mature adults are finding social connection – and simple fun – at gyms and studios like ours.

More Tips to Lower Stress

Here are further ways to lighten your load.

  • Eat right, drink plenty of water, and get good sleep. The basics of health really matter.
  • Express your worries and emotions. Tell family, friends, doctors and caregivers what’s on your mind. Keep up your creative outlets, like painting and music.
  • Relax, meditate, pray, and practice an attitude of gratitude. Focus on your blessings.
  • Call family and friends. Send text messages. Use FaceTime and other video call technology to see your kids and grandkids.
  • Read a book. Read several. When you’re stuck in one place and in your own thoughts, nothing takes you away like a good book.
  • Limit exposure to TV news and social media. We should all stay informed. But it’s not necessary to keep it on all the time. Don’t dwell in it.

To lower your stress, improve health, and find supportive friends… Please come see us now. We’ll show you a welcoming environment and safe, fun, and effective exercises to keep you strong and active.

Keep Your Back Strong against Pain

Up to 80% of adults in Western countries have back pain at some point in their lives. It’s chronic for some and can be debilitating.

It can be hard to figure out why it’s happening or how to feel better. And everybody wants a magic pill.

But we know there’s a better way: movement.

A fitness program that combines strength, flexibility, aerobic fitness is beneficial, the National Institutes of Health says. “Increasing core muscular strength can assist in supporting the lumbar spine. Improving the flexibility of the muscle-tendons and ligaments in the back increases the range of motion and assists with the patient’s functional movement. Aerobic exercise increases the blood flow and nutrients to the soft tissues in the back, improving the healing process and reducing stiffness that can result in back pain.”

Let’s discuss the best exercise options for you. In the meantime, review these five facts about low back pain in America.

  1. Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability.
  2. It costs $90 billion a year.
  3. Exercise helps; doing nothing and hoping for the best just delays recovery.
  4. Studies show flexibility of the lumbar spine and hamstrings, core stabilization, and muscular strength significantly reduce low back pain.
  5. If you have low back pain, first see your doctor to rule out serious causes. Then start moving. Come see us to learn more about strength training, aerobic exercise, yoga, Pilates, tai chi and more.

Make the Right Investment in Your Health

At 62, Jeff Lasater is dedicated to staying in shape.  He lifts weights three times a week and runs three times a week. “I don’t want to live to be 80 if I’m not healthy,” says Jeff, who was introduced to fitness by his daughter and son-in-law. “They were worried about me having all that idle time at night. And I feel good. I enjoy it.” Jeff knows that every workout is an investment in his health – the best investment we can make. Polls show that we value our health more than anything. People over 50 say they want to maintain their independence and enjoy the life they want to live for as long as possible. But we all know about the obesity epidemic, with too many people not exercising nearly enough.  Studies prove beyond a doubt that exercise slows the aging process. It makes us stronger and more flexible, and it gives us better endurance. It’s good for heart health, brain function, depression and social interaction. So, while aging is inevitable, becoming frail and immobile is not. A Broader ViewThe phrase “functional fitness” provides a great way of approaching exercise and diet for active adults. “Functional fitness is the term we use to describe fitness as it relates to our body’s ability to function, performing the tasks we ask of it,” says the Functional Aging Institute, which advocates for healthy living for people over 50. “And it’s so much more than what we traditionally think of when it comes to fitness.” Functional fitness includes balance, mobility and emotional health, along with strength and endurance. And the goal isn’t to lose a certain number of pounds or to fit into a dress. It’s to help enjoy all the things you like for as long as possible. The institute offers a handy self-assessment. Rate yourself on these everyday tasks:  • Climb stairs without using a handrail• Go on a brisk 20-minute walk while talking with a friend• Pick up and carry a toddler for five minutes• Play a sport like you did five years ago• Get a good night’s sleep regularly That’s a Sound InvestmentThis approach makes sense for people who want to invest in their health, whether they’ve been active their whole lives or not. Functional fitness is about living better, by your definition. It requires guidance and diversity of movement and, to a degree, thought. If you keep doing the same few motions over and over, you’re not making a diversified investment in your health. Come in and talk to us about your goals for fitness. Maybe they’re about hobbies, health, family, travel or appearance. Regardless, your health really is your most important investment. It’s never too late to start or to refocus your efforts. Jeff Lasater says he’s aiming to prolong his quality of life as long as possible. “I’ve watched people who aged gracefully,” he says. “And they all did some kind of exercise regularly.”

Break Free from Negative Self-Talk

We all talk to ourselves about ourselves.

What kind of things do you say?

That you’re overweight, lazy, and too old to be fit?

A lot of us struggle with an inner voice that repeats nonsense like that.

But you don’t have to let it keep you from exercising, eating right and managing stress so you can keep doing what you want. There’s so much more potential to life well after 50 – like travel, physical independence, playing with the grandkids, enjoying sports and hobbies… just for starters.

You deserve all that and more.

And you can have it if you start by adjusting your thoughts.

Change Your Thoughts

We can’t control which thoughts pop into our minds. But we can choose which to hold and nurture. Those thoughts become actions, which become habits, which lead to new experiences and… yes! New thoughts.

So, let’s replace that negative self-talk with positive statements, attitudes and experiences.

Here are some tactics that help.

Practice an attitude of gratitude. Whenever you feel down, take a pen and paper and write your blessings. They can be big or small, important or whimsical, related to physical health or spirituality or anything else. When you see what you’ve written, your mood will reverse itself. It’s impossible to feel depressed when our hearts are full of thanks.

Instead of saying, “There’s something wrong with me because I don’t have X, Y and Z,” you’ll be saying, “Look at all these wonderful things in my life.”

Set realistic goals. We don’t have to look like fitness models or win Olympic medals. We don’t have to be what we used to be. And accepting that is key to treating yourself right. We’re here to help you see where you want to go – and then enjoy the success of reaching those goals.

Instead of saying, “I’m so stupid to think I could be 25 again,” you’ll be saying, “Hey, I’m feeling better every day.”

Focus on progress, not perfection. We’re always raised to be so results-driven, aren’t we? But physical fitness doesn’t have to be like that! It’s fun and empowering to get stronger, to gain more endurance, and to improve agility. We’ll celebrate every little win with you! Remember: It’s a journey, not a destination.

Instead of saying, “I’m such a loser because I can’t wear those pants,” you’ll be saying, “I’ve lost 10 pounds since I started.”

Excuses Are Easy

If you want to find an excuse to deny yourself health and fitness, then you will always find it.

But please don’t do it because your inner saboteur is telling you that you’re too old, out of shape, or set in your ways.

Because you’re not.

You get to decide the life you want from here on out, no matter your age or physical condition.

Success Story: Fitness Helped Him Thrive after Back Surgery

For Dr. Bruce Lockhart, it was finally back surgery that got him committed to regular exercise near retirement a decade ago. Over the years, he had treated enough patients with chronic back pain to know that he didn’t want to become one after the procedure. So he found the right trainer at the right gym and has been enjoying it for 10 years, pain free. “I like not looking like I’m 77 years old,” says Bruce, who enjoys hiking, working in his large garden, and running obstacle-course races —  in addition to three-times-a-week small group training at the gym. “You can very quickly become a couch potato at my age,” he says. “It’s pretty easy. But I really enjoy going to the gym. It’s just become part of my life.” Exercise Before and After Surgery Bruce is a great example of how fitness helps us overcome common physical challenges that can affect us later in life – like his back pain, or surgery for a joint replacement that so many people need. Even healthy ones. Mature adults who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer a disability – and they are more likely to recover faster, according to one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers said the active participants in the study had been “built up” by exercise and had become “more resilient” than sedentary peers And the National Institutes for Health concludes that exercise before and after surgery is important for ensuring its success in older people. Trainer Shebah Carfagna believes she benefitted from her physical fitness when she needed hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago in her 60s – in “prehab” as well as rehab. “You have to take what life gives you and make it work and adjust,” Shebah says. “It’s important for the body to continue to move. You just can’t stop become something happens. You have to keep going.” Find Something You Like For Bruce, his life as a physician and his own experiences in the gym have taught him that nothing promotes healthy longevity like exercise. “If you don’t stay fit, sooner or later, things are going to start to go downhill,” he says. “It’s so important if you care about how long you spend on this earth.” Bruce recommends finding a gym or studio you like – where you feel comfortable and welcome. He enjoys working with his “inspiring” trainer, and in a small group whose members keep each other accountable. But it’s not essential for everyone. His top piece of advice? “Find something you enjoy doing,” he says. “It’s not going to become drudgery if you enjoy it.” >We couldn’t agree more. Let’s get you moving today!

Meet our Inspirations of the Week: Scott & Gloria

To celebrate the month of love we have one of our many couples here at FCF…

Scott & Gloria and their unique story…

Today if you were to pass them on the street you would notice a fit, healthy couple and when you find out they regularly exercise even think, ‘well of course they “look” like fitness people’. However, their story shares a different tale of why they regularly train with us at FCF.

We absolutely love both of their positive attitudes, even when it’s a tough day. They come in, do the best they can that day, and leave feeling 10x better than when they walked in. Where many people who see obstacles, they see a reason to a maintain a healthy training program, so that they not only benefit today, but their future self in 20 or 30 years. These rockstars have maintained dedicated to their fitness program, have great work ethic, have persevered through various health challenges, and hit so many personal milestones, which makes them our inspirations of the week!

Here’s their why…

Almost 7 years ago, Scott woke up one morning with excruciating pain in his neck. This eventually led to a major neck surgery, some nice hardware and a change in Scott’s lifestyle. Post surgery the things he loved, like surfing, was off the table due to the uncertainty of permanently damaging his neck. His exercise routine of boxing in the garage and road biking all became a challenge or not an option. Life took a turn and now he had to figure out how to regain his strength and find new safe activities to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Two months post-surgery, his friend and former law partner told him about Full Circle Fitness and since physical therapy hadn’t helped manage his pain he reached out for help from Rosa. After meeting Rosa and putting together a plan that started with some mobility work and pilates, he was sold and became a dedicated member. Gloria says, “Rosa’s knowledge, good nature, and empathy for his situation helped him immeasurably.”

Over the last 6 years at Full Circle Fitness Scott’s training program progressed from mobility and pilates, to strength training, and now he participates in small group training sessions and some yoga to help manage his pain and alignment. He can’t say he loves it all the time, but the routine provides relief and that’s what’s most important.

He will tell you, “There are days I wake up with incredible pain, but after a session with Rosa, I am able to sit at a desk and work, as well as to be able to manage some outdoor activities that I enjoy. What a miracle and a blessing. I have been working with Rosa twice a week for almost 6 years.”

After 2 years of training, he was even confident enough to try surfing again when the conditions are right, has returned to road biking and even participated in a few 50 mile and 100 km races. That’s the truly important stuff here. His passions that he thought were gone after surgery, are back! To say I am proud as his coach is an understatement.

Although there are still some days where there is more pain, after a training session he always leaves feeling better and is able to take on the day!

As for Gloria, well….Her reason for starting a training program was completely different, but equally important.

Here’s her story…

” I absolutely abhor exercise.”

Scott said, ‘no come in and meet the folks at FCF. They’re great. I think you’ll like it.’

She’d heard that before from Scott; some trickery to try to get her to exercise!

“Skeptical, but I had a goal and needed help. You see my son was getting married the coming September and I was not in shape – let’s just say my underarm kept waving hello after I had stopped. TMI?
I went and met Rickye. She’s tough, but wow she’s wonderful and I was sold. The genuine care and support everyone at FCF has for you to succeed, to meet your goals, whatever they may be is inspiring. My goal was to build strength while increasing my core power and reducing my overall body fat. By the date of the wedding, I felt I met all of those goals. My weight stayed pretty much the same but it sure moved around.
My favorite part of FCF is the FCF community. The coaches, the folks who show up every day who create that great vibe of support for each other. This is also what keeps me coming. The members encourage and support each other. We learn about each other’s lives and we are a community.
Since starting at FCF I feel better about myself. Maybe because I’m physically more fit and I look way better in my clothes, in and out. But this is a double-edged sword because none of my pants fit so oh no, I had to buy new clothes!! Also, my shoes fit better?? My confidence has boosted. At 58 I’m in better shape than I was at 28. But most importantly I don’t feel old. I can pick up a 5 gallon jug of water without struggling. I find personal satisfaction when I can move up in weight for any exercise because it means I’m getting stronger! Sure, I still can’t do Arnold presses or halo but I’m still working on it with Coach Mercedes’ never ending energetic encouragement.
For me FCF has been all about helping me get to a better physically place to allow me to get to a better mental place.
Thanks to all the coaches at FCF. Couldn’t have done this without you 🫰🏻”

You see… everyone has a journey and although they start at different times, for different reasons, and has different goals, the most important part is that they started and encourage each other.

They didn’t give up or stop when severe pain, migraines, surgeries, business travel or a variety of other stressors came up in life. They took a day, or two or even a week off then came back with a vengeance, they know their deeper why and Scott and Gloria had each other to keep each other accountable.

They had a mutual goal this past year as well…their son’s wedding!

They doubled down, cleaned up their nutrition a bit and attended their son’s wedding feeling confident, with enough energy, and enjoyed the special moment. That’s what matters!

If you’re ready to find out how to create a realistic and maintable fitness program, we would love to help. Just text or call us at 657-231-6207.

Talk soon,

Coach Rosa

‘Skip-Gen’ Trips and Other Travel Trends for 2024

Travel and grandchildren rank as top motivators for people over 50 to get in shape or stay in shape. Both those are combined now in one of the top 2024 travel trends for mature adults: the “skip-gen” trip, as in “skip a generation.” It’s when grandparents take grandchildren on a vacation without the parent in the middle. “I work hard to stay in good shape so I can enjoy my sports, my retirement – and my grandchildren,” says Sammye, who took her first grandchild, Mia, to Paris to celebrate graduation from high school. It’s something she’ll do for each grandchild, a special experience they can share alone together. “We covered a lot of ground on foot. We climbed a lot of stairs. And we had a blast,” says Sammye, who is in her 60s and enjoys gym workouts and competing in triathlons. “The next granddaughter wants to go to Rome. I’m ready!” Traveling of any kind requires strength, endurance and agility. And spending time with a teenager alone? Oh, yes. We’ll make sure you’re ready to make the most of your travel this year. Here are some other top trends for mature travelers. “Bleisure” TravelThis is a combination of “business” and “leisure” travel. If you’re still working and you want to mix and match, why not? It can be a great way to take advantage of an opportunity to spend time in a new or interesting location. Rest and RelaxationTravel industry experts say more people are looking to just go somewhere and chill – including focusing on getting plenty of good sleep, spa treatments, and exercise. Sounds like heaven to us! National ParksThe United States is blessed with a series of national parks worth exploring. Check out the promotions at the National Park Service website. From Alaska’s Denali to Florida’s Everglades, you won’t believe the richness that awaits. Bucket ListsThese are always popular with people later in life: Places to go and things to do before you kick the … well, you know. What’s on your list? What’s holding you back? If it’s your physical fitness level, don’t let that stop you! We’re here to get you wherever you want to go. AdventureWe know a man in his 50s who’s determined to ride his motorcycle on every continent. Could this finally be his year for Antarctica? Do you want to go white-water rafting? Heli-skiing? The possibilities are wild – and endless. Small GroupsGather friends or talk to a travel agency about joining small groups for travel. Just make sure you’re not the one stuck behind in your hotel room because you’re not able to make the most of the opportunities! The world remains your oyster for as long as you keep yourself motivated to enjoy it. We are here to help your travel dreams come true, whether they’re with grandkids in Europe, hiking at national parks, or checking off those “bucket list” items. Come see us today.