Blogs > Simply Fit

Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Trending Senior Fitness

Older adults who exercise regularly are able to maintain their independence and perform day-to-day tasks with ease.

For today's older adult, images of days spent as a frail senior citizen confined to a rocking chair are long gone. Now-a-days, individuals who are advanced in their years are more active than their peers from past generations. According to the findings from the Del Webb 2010 Baby Boomer Survey, more than 50 percent of adults ages 50 years and older engage in regular exercise. Data from this study also indicate that Baby Boomers perceive themselves to be much younger than their chronological age, with older Boomers (64+ years) stating that they feel 13 years younger than their actual age.

Why the difference in perception versus reality? Mindset is part of it, with the majority of those surveyed indicating that age is just a number. Many of the participants of the survey reported that a state of "happiness" and maintaining a "good sense of humor" were the main factors for feeling young. In fact, having a positive outlook on life is one of the major traits of fit and healthy older adults according to Darren Capik, Founder and President of Watch It Now Entertainment (WIN). WIN is the leader in fitness production and Capik directed two of Jane Fonda's fitness DVDs for seniors -- Jane Fonda Prime Time: Fit & Strong and Jane Fonda Prime Time: Walkout. During our phone interview, Capik noted that fit and healthy older adults, in general, tend to look on the bright side and are not hard on themselves .

Other traits consistent with healthy aging according to Capik include:
  • Keeping Busy: "They are constantly doing something," stated Capik. "Whether it is pursuing an interest in yoga, the Arts or healthy food, they are mentally active and engaged," he explained. The Del Webb study also addressed the need for older adults to keep busy in order to maintain their youthfulness. It reported that brain function is improved when the brain is challenged by new experiences.
  • Staying Active: "They all move," noted Capik, who is also a certified Crossfit Instructor and an expert in senior fitness. He recommends that older adults engage in some form of exercise at least five days per week to promote healthy aging. Exercise is very effective in offsetting the development and progression of certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease that are often found in unfit, inactive older adults.
Capik recommends that older adults who are interested in increasing their activity level follow the steps below:
  • Step One: Do a self-evaluation. Ask yourself questions such as these: "Who am I?"...."What is currently going on in my life?"..."When was the last time I worked out?". Capik advised that you be honest with your responses. Answers to these questions will help you to understand your current status and will also help you to determine what you need to do to live a healthier life.
  • Step Two: Check with your doctor. If you have been inactive for a while or have risk factors for heart disease or question the safety of exercise, you should get the approval of your doctor. During the doctor's examination, he will be able to identify and advise you on the treatment required for any potential problems that could put you at risk.
  • Step Three: Start moving. Capik recommends that you go to an exercise class that is geared toward senior citizens. These classes will introduce you to simple, basic movements. As your body tolerates and becomes accustomed to this form of activity, he noted that you can start to lift light weights, which will help build your muscles and maintain your bone density. Capik stated that you need to continue to challenge your body even as you get older in order to counter the physiological elements that are changing with age.
If joining a group exercise class is not possible, there are many fitness DVDs available for seniors to use at home. Capik notes that the Jane Fonda Prime Time: Fit & Strong and Jane Fonda Prime Time: Walkout DVDs are a great introduction to exercise for seniors. Capik and Fonda held a focus group to create these DVDs. This allowed them to talk with seniors about the issues they face. Capik and Fonda had the focus group test out various exercises. From the outcome of this pilot study they developed a program that worked for seniors. Throughout the videos, Fonda talks to the user and communicates pertinent health and fitness information geared for the older adult. "Jane's philosophy is that seniors need to get moving because it will help improve quality of life," remarked Capik. There is truth to this philosophy. Exercise wards off debilitating health conditions which interfere with maintaining independence; and, exercise can manage and improve existing health conditions, allowing the older adult to be able to perform day-to-day tasks with greater ease.

Darren Capik, Founder and President of Watch It Now Entertainment, directed Jane Fonda's Prime Time: Fit & Strong and Prime Time: Walkout DVDs.  (Photo Courtesy of EFG:: Entertainment Fusion Group)

What is the key to acquiring and maintaining fitness into the later years? "Its not the quality of the exercise, but the quality of the motivation," noted Capik. "By becoming very engaged and active with the world, it gets your mind moving and opens the gateway to want to exercise and to eat better, which ultimately leads to you wanting to live," explained Capik.

Phone Interview: Darren Capik, Founder and President of Watch It Now Entertainment; January 25, 2012.

Del Webb 2010 Baby Boomer Survey

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Avoid a Fitness Plateau

As the turning of the New Year becomes a distant memory, so can your enthusiasm for maintaining your New Year's resolution to become a healthier, more fit you. Boredom sets in and time constraints take over your good intentions. As fast as the clank of champagne glasses toasting the New Year, you've found yourself in a fitness rut.  Here's how to avoid the workout plateau:

  • Switch it Up: Your body is an efficient machine and it readily adapts to consistent, predictable demands. To avoid plateauing, frequently update your routine by adding new exercises and switching out the old. Try jump roping instead of stair climbing. Do push-ups instead of the bench press. You can also prevent a fitness rut by varying the intensity and duration of your favorite exercises. For instance, try running at a faster speed for a shorter duration; or, change your running route to include hills. Cross-training is also an effective method for navigating a fitness plateau because the variety eliminates boredom. It also optimizes muscle development because your muscles have to respond to the change in demands brought on by a new exercise mode.
  • Make it Social: Exercising with others prevents boredom and provides motivation. Join a team sport, group fitness class or dance club. Or, recruit family members and friends to go in on hiring a personal trainer for small-group training sessions in your own home. This option not only makes your training session social, it's cheaper than hiring a personal trainer for individual sessions.
  • Go Tech: Technology can keep you fit and inspired. There are numerous smart phone apps and online fitness programs that can help you stay on track by offering virtual and peer support, fitness tips from internet health professionals and personal health tracking tools, such as BMI and calorie calculators. Pedometers and GPS units are other effective gadgets for overcoming a fitness plateau.
  • Mind Your Meals: What you eat can have a direct effect on your motivation. A poor diet can make you feel sluggish and too tired to exercise. Avoid refined carbohydrate and sugary foods such as cookies, donuts, chips and soda pop. Include complex carbohydrate sources instead, such as oatmeal, beans, and whole-grain pastas. Add protein from chicken, tuna fish, nuts and legumes.
  • Think Before You Drink: Alcohol interferes with muscle gain when consumed in excess. It impairs the blood flow to your muscles, decreases testosterone, facilitates the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and can lead to increased body fat stores. It can also result in dehydration, which impairs exercise performance. Caffeine can also lead to dehydration and, therefore, should be consumed in moderation as well. Both alcohol and caffeine can interfere with sleep. An adequate amount of quality sleep (about 7 to 8 hours per night) is needed so that your body can heal and repair itself from the demands of exercise and day-to-day tasks. Try drinking ice water with a bit of lemon juice for flavor or sparkling water to quench your thirst instead.
American Council on Exercise Fit Facts


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Actress Sheila Kelley Puts the Female Factor into Fitness

Sheila Kelley is credited with creating the pole dance fitness craze. Photo courtesy of S Factor fitness.

Fitness can be sensual. It can be seductive. It can be sexy. It can be liberating. It can be empowering. It is found in the natural. It is found in the organic. It lies within. It encompasses all. For women, it is what actress Shelia Kelley (Gossip Girl, Lost, L.A. Law)  defines as the S Factor -- "the deep, rich 'dark chocolate' of a woman's bodily movement, her S curve."

"Women move differently than men," Kelley stated during our phone interview earlier this week. "Men move in a linear way. Women have a curvier range of motion," she explained. It is this "S" shaped motion that first captivated Kelley when she was learning how to striptease and pole dance for her role as "Stormy" in the film Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000). It inspired her to develop a fitness program designed specifically for women which infuses striptease and pole dancing with ballet, Yoga and Pilates.

In preparation for her role as "Stormy," Kelley visited strip clubs in L.A. "I learned the curvy, organic, hyper-exaggerated movements [of erotic dance]," she noted. The mental, physical and emotional results of performing these motions are what hooked Kelley. "I became taughter and leaner quicker than I have from any other movement I have done in my life," explained Kelley, who was a dance major at New York University's Tisch School of Arts and who was a classically trained dancer with the Westmoreland Ballet Company at the age of 15 years. "I have always done movement...I love body loves to move, but nothing gave me the peace and confidence that I had in myself at the age of 36 years as did these organic movements. I learned to walk within the movement of the integrity of the feminine body. My husband (actor Richard Schiff of The West Wing) dropped his jaw, because he was so turned on by how tuned-in I was with my body," Kelley elaborated. Her demeanor and life changed so much from her experience that she wanted to share her journey with other women, so she created S Factor fitness and, as a result, has become credited with founding the pole dance fitness craze.

"The S Factor is about moving your body into its organic movement. You are curving your motion where your body naturally curves and pushing in where your body naturally goes in and pushing out where your body naturally pushes out," Kelley described. "It's about stretching out to the edge of your body's potential for movement. This is how you will become long, lean and curvy," she explained.
S Factor fitness allows a woman to get in touch with the movement of her own body. Photo courtesy of S Factor fitness.

S Factor fitness is about the experience of movement. "Runners like to see themselves get from here to there, but S Factor puts you into the movement. It is all about the journey of movement rather than the destination," stated Kelley. "Pushing your body into its curves heightens your sexuality," she noted. This is empowering for women and this confidence carries over into everyday life.

Humans are sexual beings and women should be free to embrace their sexuality. To embrace it doesn't mean you are exploiting it. To be sexy is to be healthy, it is inherent to your being. S Factor creates a wholesome sexuality because you are visiting the organic you. Research findings published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (2008) revealed that a woman's gait is naturally altered based on what stage of her menstrual cycle she is in, to which men are attuned to these changes in her walking pattern.
To be sexy is to be healthy. Photo courtesy of S Factor fitness.

Kelley's S Factor fitness workout is a copyrighted sequence of movements that are taught in studios located in Los Angeles, Encino, Costa Mesa in Orange County, San Francisco, New York, Houston and Chicago. The studios are dimly lit and contain no mirrors to ensure women can explore their "S" uninhibited. She also currently has six DVDs for sale for home use. Her original series includes feminine movements designed to accentuate a woman's S Curve and to awaken what Kelley calls the "Erotic Creature." Her "Soulfully Sexy" DVD series expands on this concept and introduces new routines of varying intensities. Coming out this March is a new S Factor workout program called "Fluid Feminine Movement" which Kelley describes as a strenuous program that uses a woman's own body weight to push her body past the boundaries. This latter series does not introduce the striptease and pole dance aspect, but concentrates more on learning about the female body and how it is built to move.

Kelley's advice to women who may be leery about embracing their wholesome sexuality is this: "Every and any woman can find her "S." It is the voice of her body and it is a crime to not awaken it. You are the definition of your own beauty. If you choose to ignore it, it will be ignored. If you choose to acknowledge and explore it, it will blossom. You cannot go through life without letting your body live to its fullest potential of movement, because within that movement is joy."

To learn more about Sheila Kelley's S Factor fitness, register for a class or retreat, or to purchase her DVDs and books, visit her website at

Phone Interview: Sheila Kelley, December 19, 2011.

Arch Sex Behav (2008) 37:598-604.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fitness Tips for the Holidays

You've got the list, but when you check it twice this holiday season, make sure your name is on it too. Regardless of whether you have been naughty or nice, fitness is one gift you can give to yourself that serves the dual purpose of whipping you into shape while rewarding your mind and body with good health. Fortunately, fitting exercise into a busy holiday schedule can be done when you plan ahead and have the right mindset, according to David Krainiak, owner of Michigan's Adventure Boot Camp.

"During this time of year, our lives can get very hectic, so workout routines can get disrupted or ignored," says Krainiak. "It's easy to say, a few weeks without exercise won't harm me or, I'll catch up after the New Year's. However, it will be more difficult to re-start exercising later, when you might have a few post-holiday pounds to lose," he explains. Krainiak offers these tips for staying in shape over the holidays:
  • Visualize: Envision your future self. Have you become overweight? Have you developed a chronic disease, such as diabetes? How much stamina will you have to do the things that you love? "Often, when you think of the consequences of your actions ahead of time, that will be all of the motivation you'll need to keep exercising," he notes.
  • Make it Manageable: If you cannot fit in a long exercise session, Kraniak suggests that you break it up into two or three, 10 to 15 minute sessions performed throughout the day. You can still reap the health benefits without a huge schedule commitment at any one time.
  • Schedule it Early: You are more likely to exercise if you get it done and out of the way for the rest of the day. Krainiak points out that early morning exercise can help you to become more energized for all other activities. If you are not a morning person, Krainiak suggests that you include a mini-workout while you are on your lunch break.
  • Make it Count: "Use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is shorter in duration, but extremely effective at burning fat and keeping you in shape," recommends Krainiak.
  • Don't Say "I Can't": Often we waste more time coming up with excuses as to why we can't exercise than we would if we just exercised in the first place. Mindset is key. Krainiak says to tell yourself that "You can and will."
  • Make it Social: Grab a friend or family member and get moving together. "Statistics show that people who exercise with a friend or in a group are more successful at exercising consistently, states Krainiak. "Make a pact with friends to encourage each other should one of you feel like slacking off," he suggests.
Additionally, be creative. Think outside the box when it comes to finding ways to stay fit this season. For instance, host the office holiday party at an ice skating rink or a banquet hall with a dance floor where you and other party guests can get up and moving throughout the celebration. Or, consider a new holiday tradition that gets you active, such as cutting down your own Christmas tree.

For more information about David Krainiak and his services, visit or call toll free at (866) 861-5423.

About Michigan's Adventure Boot Camp for Women: A former personal trainer, Krainiak launched Michigan's Adventure Boot Camp for Women in October of 2007 and has added 6 other locations since. Krainiak is known as the "Go-to-Guy" in the fitness industry specializing in weight loss for women and fitness jumpstarts. Schedules and client testimonials are available at Krainiak, with over 15 years in the fitness industry, has an impressive resume listing over a dozen certifications, and has appeared or been mentioned numerous times on TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, books and various media. He has been "Voted Best Male Trainer in Hour Magazine 2010, 2011."

Press Release: DKE David K Enterprises, Inc.: November 21, 2011.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dasha Astafieva, a Woman with a Beautiful Soul

Dasha Astafieva was Playboy's 55th Anniversary Playmate and she is a Spokeswoman for

I learned the true meaning of beauty this week from my phone conversation with Dasha Astafieva, who was Playboy's 55th Anniversary Playmate and the Playmate of the Month for January 2009. Astafieva, a Ukrainian who was born from humble beginnings, has achieved success as a model, a singer for the Ukrainian pop group NikitA, and as a Spokeswoman for,* the world's largest international online dating community with approximately 80 million members. The driving force behind her success goes beyond her outward appearance. Her beauty runs deeper -- it is within the depths of her soul.

Astafieva's inner beauty is expressed through her healthy outlook on life. Her goal is happiness for all. "As a little girl I dreamed to be happy and to see people be happy around me," she explained. She wants to make a difference in the lives of others and to make the world a better place. Here is what she had to say during our interview:

Simply Fit: Who has inspired you to become successful?
Astafieva: "I admire people with history. Hugh Hefner is interesting, kind, a gentleman and he is very talented. He has dreams for the world. He is a great example. [He taught me] that I need to be more free and to dream like him.....Marilyn Monroe had imagination. She is an idol. She was womanly, very kind and talented. And, [she was] so beautiful -- not like candy, only on the outside -- she had a beautiful soul."

Simply Fit: How has becoming a Playboy Playmate changed you?
Astafieva: "Years ago, I was like a child. I always was a bit scared with my dreams. When I met Hef, he tried to make me more sure with myself. He helped me to stay more womanly and to be more self-confident. [Being a Playboy Playmate has helped me to] be more useful and to do something good for people around me. I don't want to be just a beautiful woman, I want to be useful."

Simply Fit: Why were you interested in becoming involved with
Astafieva: "I have always felt that I am a real woman with a real life. I am not just a popular girl. I have a real life behind the stage and dream to find a man to my heart and soul. I travel a lot and I don't have a lot of time. is a very good chance [for me] to try to communicate with gentlemen and great men who are trying to find a woman."

Simply Fit: As a model and singer, you have to keep your body in great shape. What are your secrets and tips for keeping your figure?
Astafieva: "I eat healthy, do not smoke, do not drink, and try to sleep in healthy [amounts of] time..... My favorite exercise is Yoga.....In my free time I try to do Yoga. It is not only for your body, it is exercise for your soul and mind. I start with Yoga everyday with my teacher. He is a very smart man and a great example and a strong teacher.....I try to be happy and to be happy with work hobbies. I try to speak with interesting persons to try to learn good information."
Yoga, Astafieva's favorite exercise, is exercise for the mind, body and soul.

Simply Fit: How do you manage to keep balance in your life when you have so many demands placed on you?
Astafieva: Yoga helps me to concentrate. It is good for me because I travel a lot and it can be done anywhere and whenever. It can be done in the morning or in the evening."
Yoga helps Astafieva to concentrate.

Simply Fit: What advice do you have for other women who want to be successful like you?
Astafieva: "Run like me! Run with soul and heart! Be more natural and remember where you were born and who your parents are. It is not about yourself, but about others around you. Live for friends and people around you. Every woman needs to know they are born to be beautiful, brilliant, and shining to make people around them more happy."

*About Anastasia International is the world's largest international dating service with portals for Russia and the CIS, Asia, South America and Africa, and has helped thousands of men from the U.S., Canada and Western Europe find the women of their dreams.

Phone Interview: December 7, 2011; Dasha Astafieva; Kiev, Ukraine.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tips to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

The season is upon us when homes become all a buzz with conversation and laughter as families and friends gather together to give thanks for life and for one another. This time is filled with joy, but it is also full of temptations that can derail your efforts to be healthy. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the sweet and savory treats of the season without negating your healthy ways. By following the suggestions below from Leah Britt, a personal trainer at the five star fitness boot camp resort, Premier Fitness Camp in Park City, Utah, you will be able to stay on track this holiday season:
  • Remember Your Goals To Stay Healthy: Write down your goals and note any obstacles that may interfere with them during the holidays. Next, come up with a few solutions to help you stay the course. Then, put them into action.
  • Portion Control: The key is to balance your calories. It is okay to eat pie, but keep it to one slice (if you can't decide between the pecan and pumpkin, take a half slice of each).
  • Schedule Your Workouts in Advance: If you do not specifically plan for exercise, it can be all too easy to say "I'll just take the day off," especially amidst the hub-bub of the holiday season. To prevent this from happening, set aside a specific time of day that you will stop doing everything else so that you can go exercise. Or, make exercise a part of your celebration (e.g., walk/run in a holiday road race, etc.).
  • Be Selfish With Your Health: Often, peer pressure is prevalent during celebrations. Don't allow others to tempt you in to getting second and third helpings. Put your well-being first. It is okay to say "No thank you, I am full."

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alcohol Drinkers May Be More Likely To Exercise

If you drink alcohol regularly, chances are that you engage in exercise more often than your teetotaler counterparts. A study published in the September/October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion found that drinking alcohol was associated with a 10 percent increase in the likelihood of engaging in vigorous exercise for both men and women. Researchers from the University of Miami and Cornell University studied 230,856 individuals between the ages of 21 and 65 who were part of the 2005 cross-section of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System--an annual, state-administered telephone survey devised to assess behavioral risk factors in the U.S. adult population.

Subjects were divided into four categories based on their frequency of alcohol consumption:
  • Abstainers: No alcohol consumption within the 30 days leading up to the test date.
  • Light Drinkers: Females who consumed 1 to 14 alcoholic drinks and males who drank 1 to 29 alcoholic drinks in the preceding 30 days.
  • Moderate Drinkers: Females who drank 15 to 45 alcoholic drinks and males who consumed 30 to 75 alcoholic beverages in the 30 days prior to the interview date.
  • Heavy Drinkers: Females who consumed more than 46 alcoholic beverages and males who drank more than 76 alcoholic drinks within the 30 days leading up to the test date.
The results of the study showed that:
  • Women drinkers exercised approximately 7.2 minutes more per week than female abstainers and that male drinkers exercised an estimated 5.5 minutes more than their teetotaler counterparts.
  • Ten extra drinks per month increased the likelihood of engaging in vigorous exercise by 2.0 percent.
  • Light, moderate and heavy drinkers exercised 5.7, 10.1 and 19.9 minutes more per week, respectively, than abstainers; and, they were 9.0, 14.3 and 13.7 percent, respectively, more likely to engage in vigorous exercise than their abstaining peers.
The researchers suggest the following causes of the positive relationship between alcohol drinking and exercise:
  • Risk-loving individuals follow a sensation-seeking lifestyle which could include both heavy drinking and participation in high-risk physical activities (e.g., mountaineering, deep sea diving, etc.,).
  • Group sports participation often results in socializing post-game, which frequently includes gatherings where alcohol is served.
  • Knowledge that alcohol is highly caloric may result in engaging in exercise to offset the extra calories consumed.
Researchers' conclusion:
  • Although increased alcohol consumption is associated with a greater probability of engaging in health-promoting exercise, the risks of problematic drinking can outweigh the benefits of physical activity. Care still needs to be taken to drink in moderation and responsibly.
AM J Health Promot. 2009; 24(1): 2-10.

Labels: ,