It’s January, everyone is recommitting themselves to “getting in shape,” and becoming healthier. Most of the time this translates directly to “being skinnier.” I am a firm believer that strong is the new skinny. I went skiing this winter, after having taken twenty years off until last winter, and let me tell you, I was grateful that my trainer believes strong is better than skinny. Skinny isn’t necessarily getting you down the double blue or help you traverse the flats.
If ever there was a super-fly poster girl for the motto “strong is the new skinny,” it’s Holly Rilinger. You lucky New Yorkers have probably taken her class at Fly-Wheel or done her training camps in the park. I am determined to make it to one of her Destination Training Camps at some point. Holly is the most energetic person around. Her positive energy is beyond contagious; I dare you to walk away from an encounter with Holly and not feel ready to take on the world. She played for the WNBA and if you have seen her, you know it’s not her height that got her here. She may not be tall but she’s a total baller.
I have been known to vacation in Sag Harbor just to get to her summer Fly Wheel Classes. So when I thought about doing some fitness posts that really meant something to me, I hoped that Holly, a Nike Master Trainer, might answer some questions. She’s the real deal!
What are the three biggest training mistakes you see women make?
- Workout routines that only include cardio (especially steady-state cardio). Cardio is great, but best when combined with resistance and interval training.
- Uneducated nutritional decisions. Juicing for example has become extremely popular. So many of these juices are loaded with sugar and calories. Don’t blindly follow fads. Know what you are putting in your body. I believe in real whole foods. There is no substitute.
- Lack of Intensity. If you are going to workout, give it your BEST. GO HARD. Knock the breath out of yourself. Sweat through your clothes. Lift more weight. The more intense the workout, the greater the results. Don’t waste your time cruising. You don’t need to look cute during the workout. The less cute you are you in your workout, the more cute you’ll be in LIFE 😉
I read that you said if you are eating well and training hard, but getting less than seven hours of sleep a night you are undoing all of that hard work. Can you elaborate?
Sleep is the unsung hero of health and fitness. The real magic happens when we are at rest.
I’m not going to say that 7 hours is the magic number, but I will say somewhere in between 6-8 is the sweet spot. The best workouts break down our muscle fibers and force our bodies to rebuild stronger. This entire process elevates the metabolism while we are at rest. When we sleep, our body produce GH (growth hormone). This is the magic sauce of protein synthesis (our body’s way of rebuilding what we broke down). When you don’t get enough sleep, this process is compromised. Therefore, your workout is not as effective as it could be. I hear people say all the time “I can get by with 4-5 hours of sleep.” Fine. You are doing exactly that. GETTING BY. I want to be my best. I give my best in my workouts. So getting my BEST sleep is important to me.
You are so amazingly encouraging, what motivates you to get out of bed and GO during these winter months?
First of all THANK YOU. My role in this world is to cheer people on to be their best. I consider myself one of the best when it comes to motivating and inspiring others. It comes from a background of sports, both collegiate and professionally. When I LOVED my coaches I wanted to do my best for myself and FOR THEM. People tell me all the time they “don’t’ want to let me down.” GREAT! Because in the end that means you won’t let yourself down.
Back to your question: I have a DREAM BOARD in my apartment. It takes up an entire wall above my desk. It’s filled with my dreams and aspirations and includes anything from the house I want to buy in Sag Harbor to beautiful vacation destinations and professional goals. When I wake up, I come face to face with my dreams. I am reminded WHY I get up and do what I do. I then take 15 minutes to meditate and get ready to bounce into my day. Our mindset is everything. At any moment we can CHOOSE how we feel.
If you had some advice for women who have hit the forty mark and feel like their metabolism is slowing down a bit, but they don’t want to be held back or dragged down by their age, what would it be? Should they focus on nutrition? Working out? Help!
First of all let me say: “I’m FORTY!!!!” (Helen interjecting own opinion, WTF, She is forty??? I am totally doing what she says). I turned 40 this year and I have to say…I’m in the best shape of my life. There is no doubt that as we get older our bodies go through hormonal changes. It’s a fact. Let’s deal with it an move on and not let it be an EXCUSE to let our bodies go. I’m so tired of hearing women say “Get ready…when you get to be my age, your body will change and your muscle will turn to fat.” First of all, I’m older than you think. Secondly, muscle cannot turn to fat. Muscle is muscle. Fat is fat. Lastly, I will fight to the bitter end to have my best body at every age. THAT is why I will I always have my best body.
These are the top three things to consider as you head into your 40s and beyond:
- Tighten up that diet! This is for all ages. Eat real foods. Make sure the majority of your diet consists of organic vegetables and quality animal proteins
- Lift Weights. As we age we lose testosterone and our bodies produce less growth hormone. These are the building blocks of lean muscle. We can boost these hormones by lifting weights. Resistance training also helps our bodies produce calcium. Calcium keeps our bones healthy and strong.
- Reduce STRESS! Most women in their 40s are hitting their stride in their professional lives. This is exciting and at times stressful. When our bodies are stressed they can’t do other things well (like metabolize food and build lean muscle). Get plenty of sleep, meditate, take a yoga class, get OFF social media for hours at a time. Take care of YOU.
Where can we find you and some of your short workouts? And with so many online workouts what makes yours different?
Log onto Healthination.com for some of my intense short workouts. I filmed ten Kickstart Workout Videos with this company and each workout is under 12 minutes. What makes my workouts different?? ME!! The truth is that there are tons of workouts to choose from and most of them are just like the next. I pride myself in being a great coach. I’m a positive but intense coach that will pull your best out of you. As an athlete the coaches that I admired most were the ones that encouraged me but would NOT accept anything less than my best. Finding that balance is not only an art, but a gift. I believe I was born to help people build the life of their dreams. Check out my videos and tell me if you feel the same way 🙂
For someone who is an athlete but hasn’t worked out in years, how would you go about getting back in the saddle?
If you were an athlete at one point in your life, you understand commitment and discipline. You also know what it’s like to be passionate about something. Most athletes LOVE the sport they play. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you LOVE to practice everyday! However, every athlete knows that the hours of practice put in is what makes great players. You have to find a way to tap back into that mentality. Remember how great it felt to be on top of your game, to make that shot, run the ball into the endzone or hit the winning shot. THAT’S what it feels like to have control of your body and be in great shape. Think of the working out as practice and JUST SHOW UP. Pretty soon, you will be back in the game!
And I have it on good authority that Holly will be hosting her Destination Training Camp in Costa Rica next fall!! It’s on my bucket list.