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Justin Bieber as an Inspiration

Considering that I am trying to convince young people to become more active, I think this video is appropriate. Is it silly? Totally! But we cannot always be serious in life. Everyone in this short 2:43 minutes deserves applause. Have fun!




(Post by Thomai Serdari)



Planning before Doing


As with everything else in life, being fit requires a little bit of energy even before stepping into a gym. This is because you need to plan how you are going to incorporate exercise into your life—which most probably is very busy already. If you keep postponing the planning stage, then perhaps you don’t really want to be fit, so you may as well move on to something else.

If you are committed to achieving a greater level of fitness you need to consider the following points:

You decide why you want to be fit and how fit you want to be

You also need to be honest with yourself and clarify for yourself whether you really want to get more involved with exercise.

You need to give this decision some sort of a rating compared to your other priorities in life. How important is it for you to be fit?

You need to be aware of your other priorities and their demands on your time and energy. You cannot do too much, all at the same time. Decide which priority is really important, in addition to being fit, and work on one or two priorities at a time.

You need to define the steps that will bring you to a higher level of fitness and you need to commit to those steps.

Finally, find an activity that really makes you happy. Would that be window-shopping with a friend? Or perhaps a chat over the phone with your favorite cousin? How about walking a friend’s dog? How about helping your friend with school homework on your favorite subject? When you decide what that activity is for you, reward yourself with time to enjoy it every time you hit your working out goals.

What should your working out goals be? Most probably one hour of cardiovascular exercise three to four times a week and three half-hour sessions of weight training each week. But we will return to that discussion at a later date. For now, think of what’s important in your life and commit to it.


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at :

Motion Starvation


I do find this video motivational and this is why I am posting it here. A couple of thoughts crossed my mind after watching it.

Ken, who is presenting this short speech on behalf of, is correct in his statement that we are not starved for food any longer but rather for motion. The problem is that we have learned to recognize signals of hunger (or starvation) that come from our stomach and we have also found the way to immediately satisfy them. Food provides instant gratification. It satisfies both our stomach (and its physical signs of hunger) and our brain (signaling we are full).

On the other hand, a body that is starved for motion does not warn us the same way. The warnings are there but they are cumulative: we gain weight, we cannot fit in our clothes, we lose flexibility, we cannot catch up our breath, and our joints become stiffer among other things. The worst sign of all: we look flabby and lifeless. Who wants that?

What makes it difficult for us to correct this situation, certainly more difficult than satisfying our hunger, is that even though moving is good for us it does not feel good instantly. In fact, it may feel pretty awful for those who are totally out of shape. As a result, we don’t feel the instant gratification we get from feeding ourselves when we are working out. Gratification comes but it is a long-term outcome and not an immediate result. As such, it requires a mental commitment, which is much more difficult than an emotional commitment (which leads people to food).

What is instantly gratifying however is to know that one is in control. Keep that thought in mind next time you have to convince yourself to work out. Have fun!



(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:

Tracy Anderson Boot Camp in New York City


What’s your motivation in life? Empathy? Competition? Whichever the case, the video I have attached here brings out both.


4:24 minutes of Tracy Anderson’s boot camp in New York City will make you want to try it. If not anything else, just to prove that you can.  Warning: Boot camps are tough!


I tried one a couple of years ago at Equinox. An hour has never felt so long before. But it was worth it. There is a great sense of accomplishment with knowing that if you were thrown on a deserted island and Martians were after you, you could indeed survive because of your agility, strength, and speed. These are great attributes to have. I wonder why we all forget about them in every day life.


Needless to say, the conditioning is intense but the results last only for as long as one keeps exercising. It is time for me to return to boot camp.




(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:

Marin Çiliç: Training to fame


Not everyone is born rich and famous.  Commitment to a sport and enthusiasm that begins at a young age can do wonders and literally change one’s life. Such is Marin Çiliç’s story. The 20 year-old Croatian, who is now competing against all the major tennis players, comes from a humble background but created opportunities for himself.


Marin, who was born in a small Croatian town, was encouraged by his father to try tennis. As a young child, he committed to playing tennis at local courts. He also trained to build up his strength and speed. The family decided to send him to a tennis training school in San Remo at the age of 15. Five years later, he got to be No. 9 on ATP rankings.


I am attaching here a video showing Marin hitting at Wimbledon.




(Post by Thomai Serdari. Emails us at:

Jessica Biel and physical training


Even as a teenager on the TV series Seventh Heaven, Jessica Biel was in top form. Among her siblings, she exuded a sporty personality. In the series, Jessica loved baseball and running. She was outgoing and very popular in school.


Real life Jessica Biel seems to be equally interested in sports. She loves working out and she is an expert skier. What is striking about her, besides her sculpted and healthy-looking physique, is her attitude and confidence. Jessica Biel looks like a person who knows what she wants from life and she goes after it. Her career in Hollywood is evidence of what a person can achieve with determination, planning and perseverance.


 I have attached here two videos. One is an interview with Jessica Biel, during which she explains how she can sustain a four-hour workout and still find it fun. That is truly inspiring even if not feasible for most of us, mere mortals.


The second video is a behind the scenes exploration on how actors train before filming action movies. Both videos are entertaining and motivating. I hope you like them.


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:



Excuses be gone


Many people would like to incorporate changes in their lives and help their children become active and healthy. Yet, they don’t know where to begin. If one has the means to hire a personal trainer or nutritionist the chances of succeeding in adopting healthy habits become greater. Add the services of a therapist and dieting will be dropped from your vocabulary. With the help of these three professionals it is most likely that you will achieve your goals and reach a permanent state of living fully and healthfully.


But what if you cannot afford to pay for these services and professional advice? Where do you turn then? First of all, and if you have access to the internet, you can find plenty of free advice on line, including full exercise programs and well balanced diets. You will even find motivational advice from people who have already achieved what you have set out to accomplish. We hope that you will often turn to blogs like ours because we are truly committed to teaching everyone and particularly young people about the benefits of exercise and about the importance of setting goals for oneself and achieving them.


In addition to these resources, you should inquire with your local hospital. Doctors have finally caught up with the times, both due to professional aspirations and business restrictions. They are now practicing preventive medicine. Plenty of doctors participate in programs that are free to you. These programs are offered in hospitals in your neighborhood. For example, Mount Sinai has an excellent educational calendar filled with interesting lectures and workshops. They have even thought of accommodating everyone in terms of time; certain programs are given in the morning but others in the evening, a few twice a day to fit in everyone’s busy schedule. The message is loud and clear: There are no excuses for not trying at least the resources that are given to you for free.  


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Emails us at:




January 14, 2011


If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you must have seen the article I reposted from The New York Times on The Hazards of the Couch. After reading it,  I felt compelled to continue researching and found the following article,  which is based on studies conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. The author asserts that a teen’s metabolism will slow down much faster than an adult’s . This is because muscles in a teenage body have not developed yet and therefore they do not require the same amount of energy. When no demands are placed on our system it slows down.  This creates some sort of vicious cycle that accelerates obesity among teenagers. For most families, all activities take place in front of the TV and on the couch and in addition to their stationary nature they involve consumption of immense quantities of food. Children get to their teen years having totally absorbed that pattern of behavior and having inadvertently slowed their metabolism down.

Do follow the author's recommendations on motivating teenagers to exercise. What is truly a call to action is the following: “Aerobic exercise, especially running, can help make feelings of depression and frustration disappear. After 20 or more minutes of continuous slow running, your body releases powerful hormones (called endorphins) that start pumping through your bloodstream, producing a strong "runner's high" that does wonders for your self-esteem.” 


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:



Resolutions and challenges


Here is a suggestion for parents, guardians, mentors, big sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles.


January is a time of resolutions.  These usually revolve around us: 1. This year I will have more fun; 2. I will lose weight; 3. I will learn a new language; and the list goes on. Enthusiasm builds up at the beginning of the month, reaches its peak by the third week, and sadly dwindles down from then and on. 


Most of our resolutions require effort on our part. They also require some type of method, or if you prefer a strategy, but generally speaking, a method of marking milestones of progress and accomplishments. According to advice found in popular magazines, it is better to set goals along with a friend so that both get constant support and motivation.


I would like to challenge this because it is usually assumed that your “gym buddy” is your contemporary (best friend, husband, girlfriend). I propose this instead: Choose one of your children, advisees, students, niece and nephews, anyone between the ages of 12 and 18, especially those who would benefit from physical exercise.


Agree to support each other and make a pact.  Articulate and define your resolutions. But each one’s resolution must be different. For example, you cannot both want to have more fun, or want to learn a new language. Since you will be motivating them to work out more, you should perhaps tackle another task, such as keeping organized tax records or fix the garage, anything other than losing weight.


Why is this important? Children are very observant and tend to be critical, particularly with those for whom they care. They will really be on your case if you promise to be organized. According to your agreement, they should be open to receiving direction and guidance from you on how to be more physically active and how to make healthier food choices. You need to come up with creative ways to motivate them and communicate with them the fun aspects of exercise. You are also their role model so perhaps you should mind your food choices as well.


I predict the following: You will both lose weight plus you (the parent/guardian/mentor) will get an additional project done. I truly challenge you to try this. I would also love to receive your thoughts and comments or your suggestions on how to make this idea even more feasible. I would love to hear from those who are parents or those who are close to children. Give it some thought. The irony is that even though you may resist, the young ones are always up for a challenge!


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:


Stick it!


“Gymnastics tells you ‘No!’ all day long. […] I don’t care if it’s nuts. I don’t care if it hurts. I am doing it!” Well… and I don’t care if this is a film for people less than half my age.  I loved every minute of it. It exudes power, determination and tremendous willpower. After all, the best thing about falling is that you can get up again.  Who is ready for a work out?



(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at: