RIP Dear Norman …I have books to read

There’s a story here lol … As with all couples Norman and I had our ‘this one is yours’ chores. One ‘chore’ never varied  - the Library. He did mention more than once that it would be nice if I went to pick up our weekly for him, monthly for me, reading material.  It never happened. This was a non-negotiable errand.  

After reading and re-reading the vast library of fictional books we had amassed together I finally ventured out to our local library.  Spoiler alert – hopefully this doesn’t change your opinion of me - I really dislike libraries. The activity of having to find a book on a shelf hurts my neck. I know, you can have the librarian put a book away for you, but still, you have to find the time to get there and pick it up.

I moved on to First Person stories from the Globe & Mail that are consistently delightful .  And, just when I had despaired (well maybe that’s too strong a word - put on temporary hold) the idea of new fictional reading material longer than a page, a chance remark to my group of training clients garnered a steady stream of the latest fictional (I’m partial to mystery) books that piqued their fancy. 

It worked really well for awhile, until I reached another glitch – holding and reading a book – my eyes have never been good but over the past two years – well let’s just say, I’m glad we’re in the 21st century. The Kindle reading device was a collective present from my children and their spouses. If you haven’t got one yet, go for top of the line, then, join a wonderful online service called BookBub.  Every morning I get a diverse list of books to choose from.  They mostly range anywhere from FREE to $4.99. The bonus of buying from this company is I get to keep and store my Kindle purchases. Recently I’ve started to read the Amazon reviews before I download. It’s a Norman type of moment. 

Overall I’m really enjoying my growing online library of fiction and non-fiction choices. I’m not sure learning how to Speak Spanish via a book is the best way for to me to learn Spanish but who knows. Reading in the garden or in my comfy chair at night has never been so good. And, my neck doesn’t hurt.

Soon to arrive – The story of LITE Squared TM and how our group training format is being fast tracked to help keep our older adult population healthy, happy and connected. 


Lots of different friends told me not to change anything for at least a year after the death of a spouse and they were right. Thirteen months, almost to the day. Today, I feel ready to move forward and open closed doors.

The past nine years have been interesting. Being a caregiver is never easy. Being a caregiver for your best friend /lover/life partner is another matter altogether.

The last days of his life were also the last days of my life, as I had known them for 41 years and slowly, slowly as his life changed, so did mine. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t alter any part of the process.

I‘m ready to live a life without my magnificent partner on this worldly stage called life. We were so different, Norman and I, and yet we danced well together.

Mom's blog.png

It was an amazing experience to love and be loved by a man who in the very depth of his soul loved each moment of his existence.  I am honored (although I didn’t know it at the time) to have had the intimate experience of being by his side and in the room to witness his slow journey off the planet. I eventually said yes to his dying at home and I’m glad I rose to the occasion because an occasion it was – filled with such a deep understanding of each other and lots of laughter at the folly of it all.

There is something to be said for doing the right thing. For me, it started when I said yes, even though my head screamed NO! I’m glad I listened to the quiet ‘yes’. It was filled with the right feeling and I knew deep inside, an opportunity of a lifetime.

So here I am, ready to get on with what keeps me healthy and happy – balancing a job that I created, with a life filled with friends, family, and good cheer.

Next Blog Post coming soon – Food for Thought: Plan B

Sit, stand, walk tall,


Awesome Rowing Workout: 'Meet The Trainer' Follow Up

Over the last six months I’ve started to row. What a great workout. It was only after I learned proper technique that I started to really see results – more upper body and core strength, increased cardio endurance and better weight management. My massage therapist was the first to notice how much stronger and functional my core had become. She was impressed and so was my doctor.

On Thursday May 25th, I offered a YWCA sponsored, Meet the Trainer session, where 10 participants got to experience, first hand, proper rowing technique. It was great to see people have their aha rowing moment.

One of the participants really clued into the cue about keeping the shoulders level and not letting them round as they came back into the Catch position (see top image). Another gentlemen really understood how to take advantage of the workout options already programmed into the machine. A third participant, now that his knees didn’t hurt every time he did a stroke, was very much looking forward to adding the machine to his current workout routines.

The Concept 2 Indoor Training rowers site is great. Watch the technique video with instructions on proper rowing technique. The machine itself has great pictures on the four parts of the rowing stroke – The Catch, The Drive, The Finish and The Recovery.

We added some dynamic stretches to the order. This adds another aspect to the workout. Here is a list of what we did:

Using the rowing machine seat to do dynamic stretches, we did:

·      Standing Hip Extension

·      Seated Inner Thigh

·      Spinal Warm-up

·      Standing Lat Stretch

·      Seated Back Stroke

On Tuesday, I teach Restorative Stretch at the downtown YWCA Health & Fitness. Before that class, I do a workout routine that has stayed pretty consistent. Why futz with something that is working so well: 30-minutes on the rowing machine, 30-minutes weight training followed by 45-minutes of stretching. During the week I aim for three types of workouts: mild, moderate and hard. This is a hard one I like.

Hope you get inspired to try rowing. I’m confident you’ll be surprised how enjoyable it is after you learn the proper technique.

The Power of the Pause

The first time I really noticed how useful a pause could be, was during a partner dance. Dance choreography is the perfect place to use ‘the pause’. It helps with any dance transition. When in doubt about which foot to lead with, take a pause. From there it went viral in my life, so to speak, and here I am – I’ve become a fan of ‘the pause’.

You can use it everywhere. Before I even open my mouth in any situation I’m striving to take a beat and either listen to what the other person is saying or to take a moment to collect my thoughts.

Some pauses are longer than others. For example, when trying to remember a word.

Other pauses are essential to the overall success of the activity. Weight training is a good example of this kind of pause. Each movement uses a pause (ask your trainer). 

A water break is a pause.  Walking a dog is a pause with paws (lol). Breathing is another good place for a pause – breath in; pause; breath out.

There were many pauses in launching this new format for the website and the word useful comes to mind.  It gave me time to reflect on where to go next, what direction I was going to take and which foot (metaphorically) to lead with – I love the pause.

Now I often pause to pick a direction, or to savour the moment. There are lots of opportunities to take a pause. I’m sure you will find many of your own.

May the pause be with you.

My Awesome Day at KickStart – YWCA’s Yearly Conference

Agendas for many fitness conferences are filled with lots of great topics all being presented at the same time. The Y’s Fitness KickStart brochure arrived and I was so pleased to learn each hour had only one choice, and all five sessions looked interesting. Brilliant. 

Here are my takeaways from my favorite four sessions of the day:

Foam Roller Tidbits

This session, lead by Katherine Taylor, was on the science, effectiveness and use of a foam roller and myofascial ball. They are both effective for releasing areas of tension and restricted motion. The foam roller is great for working on lower body tensions and tightness while the myofacial ball can better target tightness in through the shoulder, neck and upper back.

Take away message: 

  • Fascia gets tight – if we roll on it, it becomes pliable, so we can have our muscles work more effectively. Roll gently before you start to exercise, about a minute for each muscle group. You can spend more time after a workout- anywhere up to five minutes on each muscle group.   

HITT Was A Hit

The best HITT (High Intensity Training Tactics) exercises are ones that use more than one muscle group. You often see these in Dylan’s Tabata training class (see Y's schedule). He gave us tips and tools (a wooden dowel) for assessing form on four core exercises: squats, burpees, planks and lunges. 

Take away message: 

  • Good form is essential to any workout. A piece of 2” dowelling is a great assessment tool to check alignment, which is part of good form.

Barre method 

The session with Fleur Palliardi gave us an overview of The Barre method. It’s the next big thing in fitness right now and I can see why. The little weighted balls, round disks, a ballet bar and mat are all you need to feel the burn. I’m definitely feeling my triceps today.

Take away message:

  • Take a class. It’s a ton of fun.

Who Knew Spinning Was So Awesome

The last session was with our very hands on Executive Director, Sandy Reimer, who also leads a variety of  Y classes. I learned how to setup the bike and how to sit on the seat to minimize the discomfort. It was a great workout…once you get past the pain of sitting on the most uncomfortable seat ever made.  

Take away message:

  • Take time to set your bike up properly. If you are unsure, ask.  

Honorable Mention

Do you know what an AED unit is? Basically, it is a mobile defibrillator. If you’re having a heart attack it can save you life and the Y is on the 911 lists of public use stations that have one in the downtown core. Keep that in your head just in case.

The YW is a great place to workout. If you live in the city or you are from out of town, the Y has something for everyone. Check out their website at

Quick Exercises for Those Little Moments

Do you have a few moments, standing around waiting in a line, at a bus stop, for the next available operator or maybe for something to cool? The list is endless and there are lots of moments in a day to practice strengthening, lengthening, relaxing and moving different parts of your body

Below are some exercises that do all of the above (links are in green). It’s good to do these throughout the day, especially, if taking time to do a formal exercise routine is difficult. And, you can do them anywhere.

I’ve added some pictures to the exercises I think are self-explanatory and linked the others to some examples that need more than just a picture. That said, there are different ways to do each of these exercises, so Google them if you want to explore.

Trainer Tip: Take two or three breaths for each exercise. 

#1 Glute Dance – sitting, standing or lying down

As you read this, clench your right butt check hold for a breath; then your left. Keep it small.  Go back and forth. Your glutes are now dancing. This is a great way to wake up your glutes - especially good done just before starting your exercise program. 

#2 Shoulder Blade Squeeze

#3 Chin Tuck

#4 Core Engagement

#5 Single Leg Balance



#6 Alternating Heel Lift

#7 Ankle Rotations

#8 Wrist Stretch

#9 Jaw and Tongue Relaxation

#10 Belly Breathing – the goal is have both hands move during each breath

Trainer Tip: Place your tongue behind your top teeth and open your mouth a fraction. Take a deep breath.

Once you get the hang of this type of breathing you can do it anywhere without using your hands.

Combining Exercises:

  • Exercises #2, #3 and #4 when done together, promote better posture 
  • Exercises #6 and #7 are a great combo 
  • Exercises #9 with #10 work together to help reduce stress 

FITT for Travel – Thoughts on the Trip

The trip to Australia was a success on lots of different levels. Here are some of the things learned.

Spend money on upgrading your plane ride, especially if it’s 23 hours one way and 18 hours return. If you’re going to Australia from Vancouver, travel Air New Zealand. Premium economy is well worth the extra money – more leg room, wider seats, better washrooms, great food and wine, quicker entry and exit from the plane and your luggage comes off first. You also get to use their travel lounge on the way back, which was brilliant.

Sleeping pills are another welcome addition to overnight flights. Talk to your doctor about the right one for you, and then try it out before you take your trip. I ended up only needing ½ a pill. It’s lovely to be bright eyed and ready to go when you arrive at your destination.

A reader of the travel blog shared her story of using the tea towel to shine her boots. I used mine as a seat cover on a very cold bench. Next time I’ll take more protein bars and oatmeal packets. Roasted chickpeas are a great light snack – a few go a long way. If you want, check out this earlier post.

Walking up the main hill at the camp/conference site worked wonders for stretching out my overly tight gluts (I think I might have overdone the Elliptical Trainer). The Amaroo Grind, as some of us affectionately called it, got easier each day - the incline was more like North Vancouver’s Lonsdale hill that runs from the water to 19th street. And yes, training for this trip was well worth the time spent.

Unfortunately, the chilly mornings, different kinds of food and lack of sleep due to very cold nights caught up with me when I arrived home but after a round of antibiotics followed by a wonder product called Florastor - I’m feeling great.

Time to start another program regime. This one I’ll call Winter Maintenance. The goal is to continue working on my Five Pillars of good health:

  • Strength - we lose a little each year
  • Maintaining good heart health through walking and lots of fresh air
  • Using the 80/20 rule for making healthy food choices - and not feel guilty about the 20%
  • Finding new avenues of success for the job I both love and created 
  • Volunteering with The Prem Rawat Foundation -

All these things work together to keep me happy and as the sayings go – “Happy wife, happy life” / “When mommy is happy, everyone is happy”.

It was a very good vacation. 

The YWCA PT Meet The Trainer Follow-Up

It was fun to do this short 10-minute presentation of my top five favorite warm-up exercises. Thanks to everyone who participated and the crowd that watched.

#1. Posture Check

It helps to set the intention of the workout, plus, it identifies which areas of your body need some exercise support.

 #2. Sit Down/Stand up

Sitting back when you sit down and lifting both arms overhead at the same time is a good total body type movement.

#3. Wall Chest Press

Engage your abs, lead with your forehead, not your chin, and keep your shoulder blades squeezed together as you release toward the wall and push away.

#4. Inner-Thigh Rock

Lean forward from the hips as you rock from side to side. The goal is to feel a stretch in the inner thigh and not in your knees.

#5 Hamstring Kick  

Stand tall to start these alternating leg kicks.

Dynamic warm-up exercises are a great way to get some physical activity into your busy sedentary life. Spend a minute doing each exercise, including the posture check. That’s six minutes towards more activity in your day. You have to start somewhere.

FITT for Travel – Bon Voyage

The idea to develop a FITT for Travel Program for Jody’s Fitness started to take shape seven years ago when I was invited to go on a vacation that included opportunities for snorkelling, hiking, paddling down a river and climbing up 532 steps to view Machu Picchu.  Most of the people on this trip were older and it became obvious that with a little training, all of the above activities probably would have seen less injury and much less daily discomfort. 

I started listening to my own advice seven weeks ago and developed my own FITT for Travel Program. I’m happy to say it’s been a great success. The goals have been met – I’m feeling stronger and ready to go. 

When I’m traveling, I don’t exercise. All I do is light stretching. Tomorrow is the final workout routine of the program.  It’s time to start making sure I’m well hydrated. Travel day will include a longish relaxing walk and a good amount of time stretching before leaving for the airport. 

I’m off next week and will be back in mid-September. I’ll write a recap post when I’m back. 

Bon Voyage, 

Jody J.

p.s. the picture below is where I'm going. 



Diet | Music | Fitness Routines… Everyday Is Different

Recently I was asked by the good folks over at ETBFit to write a blog post touching on the foods I eat to fuel my workouts, what music I like to listen to when exercising and the kinds of fitness routines I do to stay motivated. It was a fun challenge. 


Breakfast is the favorite meal of our day and I make sure it has a healthy dose of the good fats and lean protein. The rest of the day is filled with quick, small protein snacks to keep my energy up so as not to not overeat at night. 

A protein shake with hemp hearts, chia seeds, almond milk and fruit, or buying an off-the-shelf one, is a great way to start the day. An egg white omelet, home made muesli, a small bowl of oatmeal + some kefir, toast with peanut butter and fruit, home made oatmeal pancakes – are all apart of our morning routine. 

For a pre-workout snack, I like a piece of fruit, or a half protein bar, 20 minutes before the session.  Humus and veggies, or a handful of nuts and dried fruit, are great post workout snacks.  

The other challenge I have is bringing the right food to tide me over on a busy day filled with clients and classes. Steamed edamame beans, hard-boiled eggs, a handful of almonds and roasted chickpeas are all good choices; quick and easy to eat with little muss and fuss. 


The right music is important when you exercise. It can make or break a class, relax you when stretching and motivate you to keep a steady pace. 

Neon Steve, or DJ Kenya, are great steady beats for the Cardio and Resistance sections of the routine. Chet Faker and Hozier are great for Cool Down and Stretching. It’s old fashioned, but taking time to craft the play lists for the weekly Stretch Class I teach has branched out to creating play lists for all my workouts. It might be time to put those lists up on Spotify or some other music sites. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know.

Fitness Routines

The challenge for both my clients and myself is to design programs that are do-able. I’m a great fan of short workouts throughout the day coupled with longer workouts designed for specific goals. 

Longer workouts usually revolve around a goal I’ve set for myself (for instance, camping in the Australian outback or hiking up Machu Picchu) and I like to do these in a gym setting. My gym has a pool too. I’ve added a water workout that is both fun and effective. I find the water much easier on the joints.

When the weather is nice, exercising outdoors is a great way to get some fresh air and mix things up. Chest presses against a fence, squats using different tempos, finding hills or a set of stairs to run or walk up and a stretch using a park bench - all work to create a variety of interesting routines that I look forward to doing. 

Having been a trainer for over 30 years, it is taken time to figure out the right strategy for me. The one lesson I’ve learned – you need a lot of options to keep things fresh, be it diet, music or the motivation to get going. 

What Foods You Might Buy Organic

Last blog talked about what foods work best on the fly. This week I ask the question: What fruits and vegetables are best organic?  Here are some answers.

Last Spring, the YWCA invited a holistic nutritionist, Wendy Akune, to talk at one of their many excellent lunch-and-learns. She talked about using the right kind of oil to cook with (Nutivia Organic Coconut Oil) and introduced a healthy sugar called Whole Foods Fancy Molasses.  Both excellent products have proven to be most effective in the ongoing plan to refine and define an eating plan that continues to work. 

Ms. Akune also handed out a postcard (see below) called The Grocery Hit List.

This is a handy list to have when shopping. To find out more about what foods to buy organic, and holistic eating in general, go to

These foods are best to buy organic (if you can):

  • apples 
  • cherries 
  • green beans
  • bananas 
  • leafy greens 
  • potatoes
  • grapes 
  • bell peppers 
  • milk
  • peaches 
  • cucumbers 
  • animal protein
  • strawberries 
  • celery 
  • soybeans

These are foods are least impacted by pesticides, and thus are not as important to be organic as the above set:

  • melons 
  • kiwi 
  • sweet peas
  • grapefruit 
  • avocados 
  • onions
  • pineapples 
  • asparagus 
  • sweet potatoes
  • mangoes 
  • cabbage 
  • eggplant 

These foods should be avoided whenever possible:  

  • MSG ( monosodiumglutamate)
  • Aspartame (Equal, NutaSweet, Spoonful, Equal Measure)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
  • Artificial Dyes (yellow #5, red#3 and #40, tartrazine

Seeing as Summer and Fall are the best seasons to find local organic fruits and vegetable, it’s good to take this handy list with you when you shop. 

If you live in Vancouver, check out this list of local Farmer’s Markets. Most run till late October. 

Wherever you live, check for your local farmer's market. 

FITT for Travel – What To Eat?

 Finding food to eat when you are traveling is sometimes a challenge. Airports are getting better – offering healthier food choices but it’s just easier to take a few things that you know will work. I’m sure you all have your favorites. Here are mine:

  • Miso soup packets
  • Instant oatmeal packets
  • PG Tips Black tea
  • Green tea
  • A traveling cup and a small plastic spoon * (for all of the above)
  • A package of raw Almonds
  • A small tea towel **
  • Larabar  ***
  • Roasted Chickpeas ****

*A traveling cup is great on the plane. Small cups are useless in turbulence. It’s also handy to have your own cup in the airport. It’s much easier to drink your hot soup or tea when the cup has a handle.

** The tea towel has doubled as a seat cover, hat, tablecloth and towel. It’s small and easy to pack. I’ve also met some really interesting people – offering my tea towel to a gent who didn’t have a hat in 40° weather allowed for a lovely invitation for drinks and a fascinating conversation on a seaside patio.

*** This tasty bar has no trans fats and is gluten, diary and soy free plus its kosher and has no sodium. The 230 calories are dense (food) rather than light (sugar) and will fill you up for two hours. What more could you ask from an energy bar.

**** Roasted chickpeas are a nice crunchy protein snack and they are also good for you.

And last but not least, I make sure to take a daily dose of vitamin D3 - no matter how much sun I get. 

FITT for Travel – Murphy’s Law

As with all well laid out plans, Murphy has come along to play. If you have never met Murphy, here is what he says: “anything that can go wrong will go wrong!” Hello Murphy, I’m ready for you.

This BC summer has been hot and dry. The Lower Mainland is on Level 3 water restrictions, which meant our outdoor pool couldn’t be topped up with water as needed. As a result, the pool I had been using, closed.

Swimming twice a week was a much looked forward to part of the Travel Plan. Let’s call it Plan A. The twice a week aqua-size routines helped to strengthen and balance all of my muscles. The pool sessions kept my massage therapist happy and the best part of a happy therapist was the gold star she awarded me for designing a balanced program – let’s see if the additions get me another gold star.

So, you can see how I might be put off with nature for giving us a hot summer with little rain except, I like hot, sunny weather. Time to tweak Plan A with Plan B, and make it the current Plan A.

Here’s how it’s working: the Yoga Sun Salutation in the morning is the first thing I do when I wake up. I’ve added home tubing exercises to accommodate the lack of water (usually in the afternoon) and a longish walk in the cooler parts of the day in lieu of water walking.

Change is good.  Good life lessons and a strong reminder of what happens when you travel the globe.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin

Next week FITT for Travel – Food Choices  

Time for a stretch break. 

FITT for Travel | Week 4 Check-In | The Plan is Coming Together

It’s always nice when you go to see your massage therapist and she gives you a big thumbs up. All my muscles are balanced which means my training plan gets a gold star. Nice.

Both the Stationary Upright Bike and The Elliptical Trainer have been instrumental in strengthening my knees and butt.

The interval Training Format of 30/20/10 (30 seconds at a moderate pace followed by 20 seconds at a moderate to fast pace ending with a 10 second sprint) has allowed for a cardio workout that is heart healthy, easy on my joints and engaging – not enough time doing any one interval to be bored. I started out doing this interval for 6 minutes and have gradually, over the last four weeks, done 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes is the goal. 

Unfortunately, the outdoor swimming program was put on hold. Bad weather and swimmer’s ear made swimming impossible but the water was warm and as long as I kept my head above water (literally) I could still use the pool for it’s restorative benefits. Water walking is great for core work and water running, hopping and jumping make for a great, gentle on the joints, mild cardio workout.  

Strength training sessions twice a week has made the most difference.

Both posture and balance have increased. And, I feel strong and powerful, which is good, because life, the past week, has been quite stressful. 

Next week, it’s time to add walks with hills and to make sure all my walking shoes are comfortable. 

FITT for Travel Program – Just Start

The hard parts about committing to the FITT for Travel Program have been making the time and then sticking with the schedule. So, I’ve come up with some strategies.

Embrace the gym workout. The nice thing about doing your exercise routine in a gym is that the environment is a controlled one. For temperature alone, it’s been great to be inside exercising where it’s cool. I also like the variety of equipment.  And the YWCA Health and Fitness center is a gorgeous facility.

Make a schedule. If it’s Tuesday, then I know I have to arrive early to work to get my workout in. If it’s Saturday, then I just roll into my workout after training my clients.

Make notes – mental or physical. Keeping track of what is working and what isn’t will keep you both motivated and on top of anything that needs to be tweaked.

Focus on your goal. Too much time to think on “do I work out, or not?” is of no use.

It’s best not to think about it… just start. It works every time. Think of this as a metaphor for life. 

So there you have it. Remaining consistent and sticking to the schedule and plan is a great way to inch toward your goal. Remember to focus, commit and just start. Really, don’t over think this. In all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never heard anyone say, “that workout was a waste of time”. They never are. And just know, you’ll feel better at the end. 

The Travel Plan

It’s good to be active. Not having a car and using public transportation has kept me quite mobile and fit in a number of ways. 

And, even though I maintain good health through active living some FITT training is needed so that this mostly outdoor adventure can be enjoyed. This trip is taking me to Australia, which is a rugged country. More lung power and strength are on the top of the training plan. The hills are steep, the distance between facilities requires lots of walking and the climate there can be harsh. All this equals at least 10km a day of walking, carrying a day pack filled with water, snacks, rain gear– you get the gist. 

Here’s what my 7-week FITT for Travel plan looks like:

  • Tuesday & Saturday: a moderate to hard 45-minute gym workout (that can be done outside or at home) using 15 minutes of interval training to increase aerobic capacity, 15 minutes of resistance training to increase strength and 15 minutes of stretching all muscles used.
  • Thursday & Sunday: a 10-20 minute swim using a mild to moderate pace. Adding core exercises and stretching in the water for a total of 45 minutes.
  • Monday, Wednesday & Friday: an hour of mild to moderate activity – cleaning the house, gardening, shopping or going for a long walk.
  • Diet: will continue to work to make healthy food choices and not be afraid of food. Over the years I’ve learned to eat what I feel like in moderation. That’s the key to having your cake and eating it too. Healthy aging is all about taping into the bigger picture of holistic health.

Trainer Tips

  • My top six exercises for any travel program are chest press, shoulder press, lat pull downs, rows, squats and side leg lifts. They can be done anywhere. When I am doing these, the focus is on 1 set of each exercise to muscle fatigue using a moderate weight and different tempos. 
  • On the day you travel make time for some activity and stretching.
  • Always check with your physician before you start an exercise program.

Do you need help designing your FITT for Travel program or setting it up with reps, weights and sets? Find a fitness trainer in your area, or get in touch with me. 


Jody J. 

FITT (and fit) for Travel

The trip is planned for early September. It is now 7 weeks before boarding the airplane. Time to get myself ready to schlep suitcases, take long plane rides and walk long distances.

As a fitness trainer I’ve developed travel plans for clients, and many for myself. The personal trips included climbing the many steps of Machu Picchu, navigating the very uneven terrain in the Galapagos Islands and hiking up steep Amazon river banks.

My clients have learned training techniques that helped them surf and snorkel, reach the base camp of Everest, walk the West Coast Trail carrying 40-pound backpacks, and more. The formulas used to develop these individual programs were used to organize overall exercise routines based on the goals and level of activity already in place.

The FITT formula

FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Another formula is SMART, which stands for specific, measured, action oriented, realistic and timed. The latter formula says almost the same thing as the first except that it adds the important component of being realistic (R).  What every formula you use, it’s good to start slowly. Give yourself time to build up to fit and strong. Besides, it’s nice to feel smart.

The FITT formula + R

  • FREQUENCY – Stands for the number of times the program will be done in a one-week period.
  • INTENSITY – Mild, Moderate and Hard are examples of the way we use intensity. Do you need every workout to be hard? It’s best to include a variety of intensities into your exercise plan. 
  • TIME – How much time do you have for each session?
  • TYPE – What kinds of activities will be used? 
  • REALISTIC – Be reasonable and work up to that heavy weight, extra rep or level of intensity. Take into account your daily routine and plan accordingly.  

Next week I will spell out how I've built my FITT for Travel plan. 


A Stretching Check List – You & Your Muscles

Use this checklist to help you breath, release and relax your muscles.  I use it all the time both for myself, my clients and in class.

Being aware of the different parts of the stretch will keep you focused and present in the moment, which in turn will calm you down.

If you are strapped for time, hold each stretch for 3 breaths. That’s about 15 seconds.  More time equals more flexibility, relaxation and breathing.  It’s good to note that holding a stretch for 6 to 12 breaths equals about 30 seconds to a minute.

So, next time you find yourself stretching, use this checklist to help you focus your energy:

  • Isolate the muscle – focus on the core muscle you’re going to stretch 
  • Find zero tension – once you’ve found the muscle, you need to relax so you don’t feel any tension
  • Find the first awareness – focus on the second the muscle begins to stretch
  • Use minimal force – keep it gentle 
  • Allow loss of tension – now that you’ve stretched the muscle, focus again on relaxing into the stretch 
  • Breathe – make sure you keep breathing throughout the stretch; it’s amazing how often we hold our breath while doing an activity 
  • Be patient – I know it’s hard. Breathe 


#12 The Action Plan

I hope you all have enjoyed the last 11 days of stretching. I’ve put down a little action plan on how to use them throughout your day. 
  • Do stretch #1 (Warming up the Spine) in the morning when you get up. This will loosen and wake up your spine getting you ready to move. 
  • Stretches #2 (Calf), #7 (Piriformis), #8 (Upper Back and Neck), #10 (Low Back) and #11 (Chest and Shoulder), are great to do throughout your day.
  • Stretches #3 (Hamstring), #4 (Buttock), #5 (Hip Flexor), #6 (Quadricep) and #9 (Abdominal) are best done when you have more time to relax. 
  • Remember to relax your jaw and keep breathing throughout the stretches.
All the best for a healthy and happy New Year! 
Jody J.


#11 Chest Stretch

A good way to work on improving your posture is to stretch your chest muscles. A corner works best for doing this stretch. Adjust your arms so that you feel the stretch across your chest. Do 1 rep. Hold for 30 seconds or six slow breaths. Change legs and do the same stretch. Hold for 30 seconds or six slow breaths. 1 rep = 2 stretches changing the forward leg.