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Toing and motivation
DianneCFO posted:
I am a 49-year old woman and have tried everying to begin an exercise pprogram, from a personal trainer, running with a friend, walking on a treadmill. My problem is two-fold: 1) I simply don't know what to do. My weight is great, I just want to tone my body. I don't know what exercises to do. My personal trainer pused me as though I were training for the olymics. Then, when I get home at night from a high-stress executive position, I just want to lay on the couch and unwind. I've read several articles on line, but there is no theme, everyone has a different idea. Help, please?
brunosbud responded:
Being a CFO of a company, you have certain core responsibilities...One, may be to oversee the financial reporting of recent performance of the company. Another might be to prepare budgets and maintain reasonable cash flow throughout the business. Whatever your responsibilities may be, you are expected to set goals and establish clear criteria so you may evaluate performance for those you manage...

"...I just want to 'tone my body'..."

The reason why you're stalled is you have yet to define, precisely, what you want to achieve. Is there a specific "criteria(s)" that quantifies what it is you wish to do? Of course! So, tell us...and more importantly, tell yourself.

As the saying goes, "If you not quite sure where you're going, any road will get you there."
DianneCFO responded:
That is a very good point, brunosbud. (BTW, I am embarrassed by the number of typos in my first post - I must have been very tired). What I want is to have is the body that I had when I was twenty. I know that the aging process makes this impossible, but I want the muscles in my legs, arms, stomach and butt to be tighter. Even though my frame is small and my weight is ideal, I still have the flab under my arms and cellulite on my butt. But my biggest complaint is that stomach pouch that refuses to go away. I had a child 27 years ago, so I know that there will always be a little pouch there, but I think it could be flattened somewhat. I don't want huge muscles - just firm ones. Does that make sense?
brunosbud replied to DianneCFO's response:
I read a recent article about US Olympic swimmer, Dara Torres, recently. What impressed me the most about her story is how she has made adjustments to her training and workouts to allow for the changes that have taken place in her 45 year old body...and it is a hard rockin' body, to say the least! She speaks, frequently, of scaling back her workouts, allowing for proper rest and recovery times from workouts and preventing injury by being sensible and listening to her body...

Rich Weil is the expert so I defer to his vast experience. I only suggest a sensible and patient approach to your program that allows for as much rest and recovery time as possible. Great things happen to people who sleep, well...Good luck!
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi Dianne,

A simple solution is get another trainer. One bad experience shouldn't discourage you. Now you know more what you want, and what you don't, and so you can share that with the new trainer. It's your money, your time, and they work for you. Be clear with them what happened last time and a good trainer will listen to you and adapt (brunosbud is correct - your workouts need to match where you're at). You hired a trainer the first time for a good reason, and so you owe it to yourself to give it another shot. Interview them and make sure you guys click. They don't have to be your best friend, but it's nice if there's chemistry.

For toning your body, you do cardio for 30-40 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week, and 3 days of resistance exercise, 10-15 reps (select weights that you can lift 15 times — trial and error -- to fatigue at the beginning - that way you won' get injured, and 15 reps will work on tone) , 2-3 sets per exercise, 8-12 exercises per workout. You can do circuit training if you like where you move from one station to the next, doing 45 seconds of reps at each (a station is a machine, dumbbells, or even just your own body weight like pushups, dips, lunges, abs, etc.). The muscle groups are chest, back, shoulders, abs, arms, legs (hips and butt included). You can go here for exercises for every muscle group.

Here's an example of some "splits" (the way you split up your workout, by the day and/or the week)

Day 1: Chest (e.g., bench press with bar or dumbbell press, flyes, pushups), triceps (bench dips, kickbacks, )

Day 2: Back (bent over rows) biceps (curls, standing or seated), deadlifts

Day 3: Shoulders (lateral raises, front raises), legs (squats, lunges), abs on all days if you like

You can experiment with different splits. For instance, you could try the following

Day 1: Chest (bench press with bar or dumbbell press, flyes, pushups), Back (bent over rows, pulldowns),
Day 2: biceps (curls, standing or seated), triceps (bench dips, kickbacks)

Day 3: Shoulders (lateral raises, front raises), legs (squats, lunges)

There are dozens of exercises for both your lower and upper body. I've given you just a few. has the pictures and videos of exercises organized by muscle group.

Here are some excellent WebMD resources for starting exercise: (This article has superb fitness resources at the end about getting started)

The government also does a great job with physical activity resources.

But again, I suggest you try another trainer. And avoid trainers with nicknames like "killer"!

Feel free to post back if you have more questions. Rich

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