Friday, 16 January 2009

Run Obama Run

Dear President Obama,

I was recently contacted by a free lance writer, Amy McFadden, whom while researching an article for our local newspaper asked me for commentary on how to stay true to an exercise routine when you have an extremely busy schedule (ala Obama).

Here would be my personal recommendations for you your highness, Mr. President Barack Obama (bowing now):

1. Adopt my personal approach: commit to getting at least 15 minutes of exercise in each day (preferably cardio and definitely not 7 days of toe touching).

Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) --- 60 - 70% of maximum heart rate

Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) --- 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate: The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.

So shoot for 60-80% of maximum heart rate


2. Make at least 5 of those sessions per week cardio/aerobic.

3. Get a cardiopulmonary stress test so that you can determine your true maximum heart rate.

Mr. President, I'm sure your health plan would cover this-- but not so sure for the rest of us if we are otherwise healthy. I believe you can arrange this through the Center for Living at Prairie Heart Institute if you are interested for wellness purposes.

My husband, The Cardiologist, highly recommends you get this test rather than follow a chart to determine maximum heart rate.

IF you must, however, search for the method that makes you take your resting pulse before you get out of bed for 3 days to use the resting heart rate for the equation, it will be most accurate.

The premise is, when time is limited, you want to make sure you are following an exercise prescription that is giving you maximum benefit for your cardiovascular system.

4. Strive to get your exercise in first thing in the morning.

Mr. President, I'm pretty sure they have a gym and maybe even a pool that is very accessible to you; subtly apply the guilt of, "how can I not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity I have been given while contemplating pressing the snooze button."

Research has shown that people who get their exercise in first thing in the morning are more likely to continue long term.

5. Set your alarm half an hour (plus) earlier than you normally would each day.

6. Don't press snooze. If you set your alarm, put it across the room so you have to get up. If you have a Jeeves that is at your beck and call, you could even ask that he awaken you and dress you; you can't break a date and embarrass yourself with Sir Jeeves.

7. Mentally reward yourself for the 9 times out of 10 that you will exercise longer than 15 minutes because once you get started, "hey this isn't so bad . . ." and you probably have an extra 10-20 minutes before you have to shower and be in the Oval Office or help see the girls off to school after all.

Remember the church lady on Saturday Night Live? And remember the superior strut? Now clearly, that would not be a presidential dance for you to actually be doing throughout this presidency when you are feeling really pumped about yourself, but mentally, whoa-- go for it.

When you have that exercise wiped out at the beginning of your day you won't be able to resist having a bit of an internal dance going on as you bask in the knowledge that you have accomplished a wonderfully healthy goal for yourself and gotten your day off to an amazing start. You'll be amazed at the physical and emotional energy taking care of yourself first thing in the day will do for you.

8. Never. Repeat NEVER have said reward be a cigarette. Very bad Presidential form. New mantra to use: "Cigs negate aerobic benefit."

9. Get sufficient rest. This is a real challenge for you, Mr. President. We all know how much sleep we need to function optimally. Set a realistic goal of a bedtime to try to meet so that you will be rested enough to get out of bed and get moving in the morning.

10. Vow to not let travel or war or late night meetings or any variety of distractions throw you off of said plan. Pack a jump rope, just in case a gym is not available or practical, so there are no excuses. Jump for as long as you can hold, walk in place and catch breath, and repeat. Resistance bands are another must for travel!

Not that you will be getting charged for your luggage like the rest of us, but I know you are concerned about your carbon footprint and, hey, the lighter those planes, the less fuel they use!

11. Walk as much as possible throughout the day. Being who you are, you will be offered to be chauffeured ad nauseam (they may even offer the occasional piggy back ride). Wear a pedometer or BodyBugg and make it a game to see just how many steps you can get in throughout the day and how many calories you can burn during exercise. You'll need some distractions and this is a positive one.

For those of us that can stand to drop some weight-- we should stand as much as possible: stand and pace while talking on the phone, stand and work on your computer at a counter. Standing burns twice the amount of calories of sitting.

12. As much as possible insert a daily walk with Michelle into your routine. This will provide you with some important connect time and be a healthy habit for you both as well as for your relationship.

13. Have fun. Make those games you love a part of your leisure. I know you love basketball and I read early on in choosing your cabinet that you have chosen several folks that used to play basketball in college. Have fun with that. Set a routine time (once a month or even more frequently) for you all to meet while attempting to cream each other in a good ole fashioned game of b-ball.

14. Look at food as fuel and attempt to fuel your body with Premium Plus. Attempt to stay away from processed foods and strive to take in healthy calories every 2 hours. Keep your office stocked with healthy snacks. This will help with your cognitive function, energy level, and beyond. Try to put a healthy protein with each feeding. You do not appear to need to lose weight in the least-- the BodyBugg can give you more insight in just how many calories you need to maintain your weight.

15. And don't forget the mind games for yourself. If you are ever the least bit tempted to feel guilty for spending time or energy on yourself with so much going on in the world and around you remind yourself: I cannot take care of others (or a country) unless I am taking care of myself.

We want a healthy president. We want you to take the time to take care of yourself.

Wishing you optimal health and functioning during your stay at the White House~

Coach Becky

Mr. President~feel free to contact me a at my lifejourneycoaches website and we can arrange some convenient email coaching sessions for support and accountability. . . but I think they want you to stop using the Blackberry. (I can, however, keep a secret)

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