Aging Gracefully Blog

Archive for January, 2011

Your Exercise Program: 5 Strength Training “Don’ts”

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Time to get going on your fitness program!  If you're thinking about lifting some weights at home or getting back into the gym, take note of a few strength training "Don't's", beginning with "Don't wait to get started!"

1)         Don't start off too fast or increase too soon because you'll risk muscle soreness and strain.   Do start easy and increase the amount of weight gradually.

2)         Don't set unrealistic goals.  People often become disillusioned and quit exercising when they can't meet the goals they've set.   Do start with a simple exercise plan on which you can build, and which will provide incentive for progressing.

3)         Don't only use seated weight machines that support your body, since they allow the core muscles to be a little "lazy." Do incorporate free weights into your program, since they require you to stabilize using your own core strength.

4)         Don't imitate other people in the gym, assuming that they know what they're doing because often they do not!  Do get some professional advice regarding how to properly perform strength training exercises.

5)         Don't use the scale to gauge the changes in your body because the scale cannot differentiate between fat pounds and muscle pounds.  Do measure yourself by the way your clothing fits – a favorite pair of jeans can be the perfect gauge. Changes that occur with weight training are reflected in your body composition, which is the quality of your weight as opposed to the quantity of your weight.  As you develop lean body mass and shape up, your contours may literally be shrinking even though the needle on the scale doesn't move.


Free Stuff You Can Start Using Today!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Have you gotten a jump on your New Year's resolutions to shape up and get fit?  From my experience, it takes people about three weeks into January to realize they haven't actually taken any action despite their best intentions.  Now is the time to get started, and here is some free stuff to help you get on your way.

Running with Mascara Giveaway (ends 2/3/11) Enter here: Win a signed copy of Strength Training for Women

One of  Fit&Fab Living's sister sites is giving away a free copy of my book Strength Training for Women, which ties into the article I wrote for them--Strength Training: The Anti-Aging Workout! To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment about your experience with strength training on the site (click on the link in the subheading above) by February 3.  The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on February 4.


Interview with Dr. Alicia Stanton, host of "Aging without Limits" web talk radio show, 1/18/11

In my interview (listen here) with Dr. Stanton we focused on practical advice you can put to use today to get your new year off to the right start.  Listen in to discover 4 functional exercises you can start doing at home that can make all the difference in how your body ages.  The best thing is that you already have all the equipment you need – your own body!!


Interview with Kim Pagano (listen here), AM 1400 KKZZ radio, 1/18/11

No, we're not related despite sharing the same last name, but definitely do relate to the mission to help people get fit.  In my interview with Kim, we explored the difference in the way men and women do strength training, and then I shared 5 strength training "Don'ts", including "Don't start off too fast or increase too soon because you'll risk muscle soreness and strain."  Next week I'll elaborate on all 5 "Don'ts" in this column.


“A Session With JJ” – Episode 84, (listen here) – 01/14/11 | Voices On The Net
On January 14, I  joined host JJ for episode #84 of “A Session With JJ” in which we discussed how to keep in shape for a minimal investment of time and money.  We touched on what types of equipment you need to get started on a strength workout program at home, the importance of warming up before every workout, and the differences between weight machines and free-weights.

Tune in for Fitness Tips from Joan

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

On Monday, January 10th, I will be a guest on Joshua Margolis' radio show, "Mind Over Matter" on  We'll be chatting about – what else – Strength Training!  I'll share a bit of my history, like how Jackie Kennedy hired me for personal training and how my British-based publisher reached out to me to write the book, Strength Training for Women.  To listen to the interview live, tune in to from 12:20 – 12:40 pm ET.  And please feel free to call in with your questions to 877-480-4120.


I'm excited to announce my new bi-monthly column, a fun, upbeat website dedicated to women's fitness and weight loss. My first column, "Strength Training:  The Anti-Aging Workout" is live now.  Click below to read up on how strength training promotes good health and defends against the aging process every decade of your life.


On Monday, January 3, I participated in Bonnie Graham's Happy New Year Special on Read My Lips radio, where she invited a variety of guests to call in with their "2011 Predictions and Opinions, Resolutions and Anti-Resolutions".  It turned into a lively round-table discussion of will power, motivation, mental muscle and inertia.  To hear the whole show tune into


At the end of last year, I started writing a blog, "Get Fit, Stay Strong with Joan Pagano" for SHARE Cancer  Every month I contribute a fitness tip that is geared to help survivors of breast and/or ovarian cancer.  Read the most recent post on stretching.

More radio interviews are scheduled in the near future.  Stay tuned!

Mental Muscle: Strength Training for the Mind

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

What is it that makes some people have the resolve to eat right and exercise, while others are continually challenged?  Is it a personality characteristic or can we train ourselves by developing the right mind-set?

I like to think that we can strengthen our resolve with mental training.  We are able to develop a hardy attitude and perseverance to overcome obstacles and take on new challenges.  When we are using our mental muscle, we don't allow fatigue, inconvenience or apathy to discourage us from achieving our goals. 

The New Year is the traditional time to take stock and re-evaluate.  Compare your level of physical fitness to where you were a year ago at this time.  How are you doing?  Have you been able to maintain your weight or have the pounds been creeping up?  Do you have the same stamina and energy you had or is the couch looking more inviting?  When you wake up in the morning, do you spring out of bed or do you have to slowly ease the stiffness out of your body?

 I'm so proud of my husband's resolve to lose weight.  He's lost 23#'s since last July and he lost it very gradually simply by giving up desserts and continuing his normal exercise routine of running and performing calisthenics (push-ups, planks, and crunches).   He knew that desserts were a weakness of his and if he even had one bite, he would eat the whole thing.  So he went cold turkey – walked away from the table when desserts were served at Thanksgiving dinner, politely refused to taste a home made truffle his friend had made and did not indulge in our sister's incredible gourmet desserts at Christmas.

Think ahead:  how will you feel in a month if you continue your present habits?  Exercise your mental muscle to stay rested, eat one less dessert or one less bite, and take an extra 2000 steps every day, even if it's indoors at the mall.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!!