Saturday, December 03, 2005

5 Simple Ways to Tame Holiday Stress

Holidays come pre-packaged with stressthanks to relatives, airports, malls and bills. The usual demands of the holiday season can stretch your physical and emotional limits, and if you are not prepared, leave you so stressed you are unable to enjoy special times. With all the shopping, cooking, planning, spending, and traveling, it is so easy to fall into the trap of doing too much, ignoring our own needs, and ending up in meltdown mode. A sense of control lessens the stress load. Cultivate the conscious intention to care of yourself and those holiday obligations in a more centered way. Here are five simple ways to tame and nurture your own spirit:

1. Start Early. Give yourself plenty of time to get prepared. The earlier you get things done, the more time you’ll have to enjoy parties and other holiday activities. When preparing for holiday events and activities, allow plenty of time to avoid unneeded stress and last-minute rushing.

2. Avoid Caffeine. Coffee, tea, cola, ‘energy’ drinks and chocolate are used so unconsciously in our culture that most users have no idea they are mind-altering drugs. These caffeine containing foods and drinks can make you feel jumpy, anxious, and fearful. They can interfere with your ability to relax and sleep, thus compounding holiday stress. Try herbal teas blended for relaxation.

3. Lighten Up. Some people are especially sensitive to lack of sunlight. Since daylight is scarce in winter months, holiday blues can be amplified. Exposure to full-spectrum lights may brighten your spirits. Try to get outside for a while each day, preferably for some exercise or a meditative walk. 20 minutes outside right now will make you feel better.

4. Exercise. A brisk walk, a group fitness class, or thirty minutes of strength training can naturally relieve holiday-induced tension. also helps neutralize the damage Christmas cookies and eggnog reek on waistlines. Acknowledge that you probably will not always have time for your full workout routine during the holidays, and plan for that. Do what you can, but don’t stop.

5. Breathe. Conscious breathing is the single most effective relaxation technique. When you feel like a Christmas cookie about to crumble, try this simple yogic breathing exercise…it’s simple and can be done anywhere:

~ Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind
your upper front teeth. Keep it there during the exercise as

~ Exhale completely through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’ sound.

~ Next, close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a
mental count of four.

~ Hold your breath for a count of seven.

~ Then, completely exhale through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’
sound to a count of eight.

This is one breath cycle. Now, inhale again and repeat the
cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Knowing the difference between changeable and unchangeable sources of stress does require wisdom. A positive attitude is an invaluable tool. An optimistic focus is essential for enjoying the holidays, or at least surviving holiday stress. After you have done what you can, go with the flow.

© 2005 Karen B. Cohen All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Core Training Basics

is the latest rage in the industry, but not many people really understand what it is. There are many misconceptions about what it is and how it works. People know that core training is smarter training, but they may not realize why that is. Core training represents a more balanced and realistic approach to . For a very long time, the was completely focused on working in isolation. More recently, there has been a realization that we were not born to isolate. Our bodies do not work with one isolated muscle doing all the work. Everything in the body is beautifully orchestrated to work together. People have evolved into wanting their body to function better in their activities and in everyday life.

Core training makes you look better as well as function more efficiently. The structural center of movement is called the "pillar" , and by training the core or pillar you change for the better. You will walk taller in your newly integrated body and have a leaner, more athletic look. A completely new sculpting of the body occurs which is impossible when the muscles are trained in isolation. Despite the notion that core training is just about the lower back and the abdominals, it really incorporates your entire torso and the muscles that attach to your pelvis. The "pillar" includes hip, shoulder and trunk stability offering the ability to build power in your movements.

In core training you focus on multi-dimensional “power” moves calling upon many muscles to work together for maximum training benefit. Many training programs are based on the one-dimensional movements of . There is plenty of pushing and pulling, but rarely are the hips, torso, pelvis or lower back integrated into the movements. You may gain strength, but not the power - the ability to generate force behind your movements. For example, bodybuilders can lift heavy weights, but they cannot generate much force with a tennis racket because they don't work the small muscles that support their hips, torso, shoulders and back, and they tend to have little flexibility. You have got to train movements, not just body parts.

It is impossible to move your limbs efficiently and with force if they are not attached to something solid and stable. You can train the strongest abdominals and low back, but if your shoulders round forward like most computer-jockeys, you can still have shoulder problems or poor, inefficient posture. Less than ideal hip stability will tighten the IT (iliotibial) band and strain the lower back and knees when you run, setting up conditions for pain and possible injury.

One of the best tests to determine the strength of your core is the simple glute bridge. There are some people who can squat 500 pounds, but cannot maintain a glute bridge for five seconds. Lie faceup with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your heels on the floor, toes lifted, arms straight out at about 45 degrees from torso, arms and palms flat on the floor. With the navel drawn in, lift your hips. Only hands, arms, shoulders, head and heels should remain on the floor. If you can't hold a straight line between your knees and shoulders for 30 seconds, your core is not working well. Time to get to the core of things!

© 2005 Karen B. Cohen All Rights Reserved.

Call at Rockbridge Coaching Services to set up a Fitness Assessment and Personal Fitness Program ...540/570-4792

For more info on Fitness Training and Assesments CLICK HERE

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fitness Training and Coaching - Fitness and Lifestyle Assessments with Professional Exercise Prescription


Initial Consultation - Complimentary

Body Composition Analysis ( only ) - $50.

Fitness & Lifestyle Assessments with Exercise Prescription - $300.
...................Seasoned Athlete Assessment…$150.

Individual Training/Coaching Sessions - beginning at $60./hour

For professional coaching fees (not fitness related) CLICK HERE

Enjoy Privacy - Train in the comfort of your home, or a private
Lexington exercise studio!

Ray Cohen has 15 years experience supporting clients to live their best life, and is certified by both ACE and AFAA. He is the former co-owner of the locally-renowned Lexington Fitness Center where he was a motivating and very popular instructor and trainer. Currently Ray teaches Step Aerobics and Kickbox Aerobics at the Rockbridge Area YMCA as well as supporting an array of private personal training clients. Ray ran his first marathon in 2003 at age 42, and is now in training for the upcoming New York Marathon (11/6/05), fufilling a long-time dream. Ray is clear and enthusiastic says, "To get the best return on your workout investment... call me today"

Ray can be reached by E-MAIL or phone at 540/ 570-4792

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

People work with Ray because...

Ray had a 7 a.m. appointment this morning to do a Body Composition Analysis on a member of our local Rockbridge community. The man is someone we have known since he was a member at the center we owned in the 1990's. We often enjoy surveying the community and seeing who started working out with us at the Lexington Fitness Center and are still working out today. Ray started leading a early A.M. circuit-training class over 10 years ago that still meets together today (at a different club). Of course new people have joined in, and others have moved on, yet there is a healthy core group still intact from the 'old days'. This promted further discussion this morning on the people that Ray works best with, the people that have been most successful, and the key reasons people love to train with Ray. Read on for what we came up with...

People work with Ray because they know that being fit will greatly improve their lives but…

…they don’t have excess time and need the most efficient way to exercise

…they can’t seem to stick with their fitness plans and need more support

…they’re overwhelmed by all the information and unsure exactly what to do

…they have a home gym they don’t use and are confused exactly how to use it.

Ray Cohen solves their dilemmas. Ray is your personal fitness advisor and expert, meeting you in your home or office to anchor your commitment to your exercise plans and make the most out of the little time that you have. Yet, his value goes far beyond his expertise and professional support. Ray brings fun and a sense of real accomplishment to your fitness practice. Isn’t it time to invest in your health, wellness, and peace of mind? If not now, when?

Here is a sample of a few of Ray’s most successful clients…specific references always available…

~ E.A. is a busy attorney, mid-fifties and female. She can’t find the time to exercise. She likes the results and knows she needs to exercise but she really dislikes various aspects of working out which makes finding time even harder. Her lower back pain prompted her to make a change and call Ray. They trained at her office at a scheduled time (like any other appointment). Ray kept E.A. laughing and fit.

~ H.J.B is a dynamic, busy, miniature artist in her mid-sixties with her own small museum. She is not sure what to do and feels unsure and unfocused in her exercise attempts. She is both technically and athletically challenged and requires a trustworthy leader. Ray has since discovered a fierce fitness fan.

~ R.L. is a 42 year-old work at home mother. She bought a ‘Bowflex’ and other equipment in great hopes of getting fit, but she almost never used it. With Ray’s support all that changed.

~D.B. is a driven, corporate executive, mid-fifties, and overweight. A former college athlete, he knows he is at high-risk for serious medical problem. He has invested in his ongoing health and hired Ray.

You, too, can experience some of Ray's magic (and expertise), ...
call 540/570-4792 or EMAIL

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Improve Your Health Investment Portfolio...Exercise

The single greatest way to improve your health is to engage in regular exercise. Exercise supports and improves the body, mind, and spirit. Despite the avalanche of studies and real-life testimonials, Americans continue to be overweight and struggle to exercise regularly. No amount of knowledge can compensate for a lack of support and ongoing motivation. This is where a knowlegable, professional coach comes in. A coach creates accountability, provides expert information on exercise and motivation, as well as developing a strategy for your sustainable success. Information without coaching is entertainment. To seriously invest in your health and wellness you must have an advisory team. Contact Rockbridge Coaching Services today to engage a partner dedicated to your ongoing success.

Free Article: Get the Best Return on Your Workout Investment - Six Costly Fitness Faux Pas by Karen B. Cohen

E-mail: or call 540/570-4791

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Connecting with Nature – An Essential Element of Your Wellbeing

Today has turned into an incredibly beautiful day! This is perfect early fall weather, and I am fully appreciating it. I hope that you let the beauty of nature inspire and restore you as well.

Though most of us value nature, few of us actually enjoy a deep connection with it. This is unfortunate as it is through this connection that we both receive and release. We receive a limitless source of energy and inspiration and we release worry, stress, and strain. In fact playing outside, in any form, is a well-known kind of ‘therapy’ to find balance and to rejuvenate. The “Great Mother” soothes the spirit, sharpens the senses, and focuses your thinking.

Humans need to connect with nature, even if just a bit of it. Research now supports what our instincts ‘know’: contact with the natural world is important to our health. The natural environment helps us recognize our oneness with the life process. Taking us beyond our limited and linear view of life, nature celebrates growth and perpetual renewal. This celebratory quality is at once inspiring and energizing.

To read this entire article

Click Here

"There are two ways to look at life. One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is. " _____Albert Einstein

Rockbridge Coaching Services can support you in achieving your personal best...body, mind and spirit. Call Karen at 540/570-4791 to set up a free evaluation, or e-mail her at

The Mind-Body Connection

The phrase "Mind-Body Connection" is encountered more and more frequently in articles and discussions on health, wellness and peak performance. It refers to the relationship between thoughts and emotions to our physical health, as well as the effect of a healthy body on our sense of wellbeing and mental functions. The phrase mind-body connection also refers to “kinesthetic intelligence” or awareness, which is our ability to sense where we are in space, control over our body and balance. The first phase in developing a mind/body connection is practicing awareness – becoming an observer of ourselves.

Observe thoughts, feelings, sensations without judgment (remember, this is a practice…don’t judge the judging…)

Friday, September 09, 2005

College Success Secrets

Attending college is a demanding challenge. We invest large sums of money, time and energy yet we may not know how exactly to enlist all of our resources to succeed at a level we envision. One of the most overlooked components to college success is the ability to summon the full measure of our abilities and talents consistently. This ability is most heavily dependent on the condition of our physical body. The brain is a highly sensitive organ within the body and is greatly influenced by our physical state. Nutrition, hydration, oxygenation, quality sleep and deep relaxation are body issues that profoundly affect the brain, its ability to think and remember. Embrace the secrets of the body-mind connection to tap into an inexhaustible supply of brain power and vital energy for your college success.

To read more on these mind-body secrets for success, Click Here

Rockbridge Coaching Services can support you in achieving your personal best...body, mind and spirit. Call Karen at 540/570-4791 to set up a free evaluation, or e-mail her at