Monday, September 3, 2012


Happy Labor Day everyone. I hope your weekend was full of fun and surprises.

Now that we are down to our last holiday BBQ, it's not too soon to think about autumn and winter and the pesky pounds that go along with it. As the temps drop, so does our energy. All we want to is to stay in, nice and cozy, with a hot chocolate, a crunchy biscotti, or a nice Starbucks coffee with a slice of their pumpkin bread. YUMM! And what about those DELICIOUS pumpkin frappaccino's, chai tea latte's, etc ... you get the picture along with hundreds of grams of sugar.

Don't you think it's time to take charge before IT happens? Time to get a head start on creating a program that works for you? Time to incorporate healthy eating and easy fitness routines into your limited time slots? I say YES! You deserve thirty minutes a day to take care of YOU. That's the best place to start ...

So, today, I am pleased to announce the launch of my new health and fitness bi-monthly post ... so many of you have enjoyed my health and fitness posts in the past, so I have decided to make it a permanent part of my blog.

And so you don't just get my take on this subject, I will also feature guest bloggers with their helpful hints for staying in shape during their LONG hours of writing. We are all writers, we all fall into bad eating habits, and we ALL neglect ourselves for our craft.

I am LIVING proof of that. My story is a common one. For all my new friends who don't know, let me explain. (please forgive me for those who do)

When I started my journey to publication almost four years ago, I was in shape and feeling great, but then IT happened. I became so obsessed with writing my first novel that I gave up going to the gym and didn't even think about what I shoved into my mouth as long as it was fast.  I packed on twenty-five pounds that winter without even realizing it.

I continued for another obsessed year of editing ... and yes, another 25 pounds! Not only did my waistline increase so did my blood pressure. I was the typical overweight middle-aged man with hypertension and if I had continued down that path, the road would have led to diabetes too.

My obsession for writing was literally killing me, so in the spring of 2011, a few months before a monumental birthday, I decided to take my life back, one small step at a time. I began to move, starting with just a thirty minute walk on the beach.

This first small step, put me on the road to a healthier body and mind. In life balance is the key. 

Tip # one ... BALANCING. 

Writing and movement time should be balanced like our novel and short stories. It's the key for success. It's a delicate choreography to create just the right rhythm, BUT it can be done with good planning. Yes, pantsters, you too can benefit from a LITTLE planning.

Tip # two ... MOVEMENT.

This could be done in any form AND at any time. First thing in the morning, after your first cup of coffee, early afternoon, or even after diner(which is good for burning up those heavy calories.) And no, you certainly don't need a gym membership ... you don't even have to leave your house.

My advice is to do something you like. Walk, swim, treadmill, elliptical, or even the dated work out tape/CD. Whatever it is, just move. 

For me, I wake up, grab a coffee, check my emails and a few blog posts ... THEN I drop to my living room floor for a little stretching and ab work. For my arms I use two water bottles and do a few sets of fifty.(they are only nine pounds). But you should have a set of two, five, or ten pound weights available depending on your fitness level. Start with three reps of twelve with a comfortable weight... You don't want to pull anything. 

This is a great way to wake up and stimulate your body to burn fat. For those who have to rush to work, it takes only fifteen minutes to jump start your body. Or if you feel you want something a bit more stimulating .... for those of you who have stairs available, why not, do twenty to fifty flights. I know it sound like SO much, but when I was stranded without a gym in Florida, that's what I did to stay in shape and it WORKED. In twenty minutes I did fifty flights. Yes, it could get boring, but crank up your stereo or iPod and get moving. I suggest starting with just ten flights and work up from there. 

Remember twenty-to-thirty minutes of activity is excellent for your lungs, heart, and overall circulation. Writers can get very stiff from sitting for hours on end. 

Another tip is to seriously walk away from your computer every two hours. Stretch, run in place, do a few flights of stairs, run around the house a few times (inside) or, if the weather is nice walk around the block a few times. It doesn't take long and it will help clear your mind as well.

I've had some of my best ideas come to me during exercise, especially during my power walks on the lakefront. Which brings me more advanced workouts. If you have more time, get out of your home to do your routine. The fresh air will stimulate your senses on all levels. Again, thirty to forty-five minutes does wonders for relieving the stress and tension created by life or plots points that are just no jelling. Walk, jog, run, stroll, hike, or just do plain calisthenics, but make sure to breathe deeply. It's amazing how great you'll feel.

Now, don't you think you can find that thirty minutes of YOU time? Sure you can. 

As a final tip, remain positive. With so much negativity around us, it's an easy trap to fall into ... avoid it at all costs. It will do more damage to you than that Crispy Creme donut.

So, tell me ... do you have any great tips to give? I'd love to feature them in future posts. And if you like this feature, please let me know...

Keep well and enjoy your Labor Day everyone! Stay tuned for my wonderful new friend, Morgan Shamy, ex-ballerina turned Y/A writer, and her health and fitness tips on the 17th.


Unknown said...

Great tips that I could actually follow. :) Although I've lost alot of weight, it behooves me to move more. Plus it's benefit to get away from my computer after too much time in front of the screen. I still have a long way to go as I packed on pounds as a coping mechanism.

D.G. Hudson said...

Fitness tips are a good idea for a feature. Keeping muscles strong also prevents aches and pains, especially for writers or anyone with a desk job.

Morgan said...

Oooo... I'm excited about this, Michael!

And most of my great ideas come to me when I'm out and moving too... it's amazing what walking away from the computer can do for your writing.

Such a great post. I really enjoyed this--extremely motivating and inspirational. But that's just how you are :) I'm excited to share my thoughts on the 17th! I've got plenty of them! <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent tips! I hit the gym four to five times a week for an hour each visit. (I'm also mowing the lawn twice a week, but in our heat and humidity, I'd really rather not!)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips Michael. I so agree with you about watching the pounds creep up with all the sitting. I've also be committed to walking twice a day, standing more, and really watching what I eat to get rid of those unwanted pounds.

Golden Eagle said...

Great fitness advice. Wish there were tall buildings around here--that stair idea sounds like an excellent workout.

Unknown said...

Great tips, Michael! Hope your holiday weekend has been awesome. :-)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Fantastic health tips. Getting up from the computer after an extended stay is a great idea. It flushes your mind clear. I always take the stairs in the hospitals I visit. My own apartment takes two flight of stairs to reach, so I am obligated to do that much at least!

Looking forward to Morgan's post. I once dated an ex-ballerina and entered Tango competitions with her. Alas, I am no longer in that shape anymore! :-)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Very motivational and inspirational, Michael! And I love your tip about staying positive. Nothing like negativity to put one into a funk that makes sugar and sleep seem like the only options. Looking forward to your fitness posts, and thanks for sharing your story.

Trisha said...

I guess it's a little easier for me where I live, 'cause the winters don't really get that cold, and most times I can still manage my beach walks/walks to my car to keep up my fitness during winter. But oh, how I love to snuggle up on the couch to watch a DVD...with some chocolate nearby. hehe. At least it's dark chocolate!

dolorah said...

Shame on you making us all hungry, then talking about exercise :) I guess I need to work off all those imagined calories.

These are great tips Michael, and I feel they are things I could actually do. The weather is cooling here, so getting out an walking is looking pretty good right now.


Danette said...

I am torn between feeling inspired & getting my exercise shoes on and the guilt of "why haven't I been doing this already?" I love summer and I could have walked at lunch time and just didn't. Bah!!!

I am thinking about how I can work a workout into my schedule though- not being paralyzed with guilt Michael! Thanks as always for being an inspiration!

Unknown said...

Glad you are doing these posts now and I am looking forward to reading more of them. I am lucky now that my daughters dog is living with us! My furry friend keeps me company on those walks :)

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Great, Michael! My mother used to say, "If you have your health, you have everything." Good fitness brings good health. I especially love the Tabata class I take at the gym every week. That class along with yoga classes and tennis leagues twice a week are part of my fitness plan. Thanks for a great post!

Mary Montague Sikes

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

I'm breathing heavy just reading this. Just kidding.
I'll be back for more ways to torture myself :0)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I think I've done well with my fitness this summer. I'm down ten pounds and the trend shows no sign of slowing.

Sabrina A. Fish said...

Great post! I am down 10 lbs for the summer and really want to keep it off. I've made the trip to the gym a part of my daily routine. It goes a little like this EVERY day: Wake up, brush teeth, dress, get kid dressed, get kid to school, hit gym.

I love this post! I am a big advocate of fitness for writers. We need to move to keep the creative juices flowing.

Anne said...

I started running five years ago but because of work and changes in my schedule, haven't had much exercise lately. Thanks for the reminder.

Carol Riggs said...

Great advice--and very interesting to hear your backstory. Thanks for the reminder to get AWAY from my computer...been here for 2 hours. Getting stiff and uncomfy!