Don’t End Up Like Elvis Presley

WARNING! Today’s post deals with yeck-inducing subject matter, and
is not for the easily grossed out.

On the other hand, I will share with you one of the bext things
you can do to improve and maintain your overall health. So you
might wish to take a chance and read on

What is this “secret” for achieving and maintaining robust health?
Well, it has to do with your lungs. Yes, your lungs, givers of
life, disposers of wastes. Just as you regularly replace the air
filter in your car or your heating unit, you need to regularly
clean out your body’s most important filters, your lungs.

Of course, there is no special long-handled brush you can use to
reach down in there and scrub.

Fortunately, nature provides us with some tools…which work
marvelously, if you will use them. These tools are pretty easy
and take a reasonable amount of time and effort. I’ll discuss
a few today.

Deep breathing performed on a regular basis can really help you
clear out the mucus and get those airways singing again. If you
do some deep breathing every day for a week to 10 days, you will
see a phenomenal difference.

When you breathe deeply, you can expect to expectorate. In other
words, the deep breathing gets things moving in there and propels
the mucus out of your airways. You then have to complete the
last step, which is to use controlled coughing to bring it up
and out.

(Hopefully you’re not eating while reading this. If you are,
better stop reading ’til you’re done, because it only gets worse
from here…)

If you are really having a hard time with mucus and mucus plugs,
you may need to percuss yourself. This refers to hitting areas
on your chest and back, which creates a percussion effect in
your lungs. The vibration helps dislodge the plugs and move them
out of the airways.

Although there are different ways to percuss, one of the best
ways is very simple. Picture Tarzan drumming his chest with both
fists as he yells.

This is actually an exercise that many of the oldtime physical
trainers and health enhancement specialists used to recommend to
their clients and students. Percussion is also an important tool
in Chinese, Korean and Japanese medicine and health practices.

Not only does it help clear out your lungs. The percussing and
yelling also generate a tremendous surge of energy in the body.

Try it for yourself. Don’t be too self-conscious. A minute or
two and you will see what I mean.

You can use percussion when and if you need to, when your lungs
are really gunked up, like from seasonal allergies or colds. You
can use this technique when you have been inactive for awhile.
Better yet, you can percuss once a week or once a month as a
preventative measure.

When your lungs are functioning normally, they clear out 70% of
the toxins and waste products your body produces.

When your lungs are compromised, for whatever reason, they need
more help from the other eliminative organs: kidneys, liver,
colon and skin.

This is one reason why it’s so important to drink a lot of
filtered water every day. The water helps all of these organs
do a more efficient job of processing and eliminating waste

A good habit to get into is to add some lemon or lime juice to
your water. Lemon juice in particular has a very cleansing
effect on the body.

A great time to drink it is first thing in the morning, when you
wake up, after you do your breathing exercises. Add a quarter
cup of lemon juice to 16 ounces of cold water.

Not only does it feel refreshing going down, it helps wake you
up too.

Turning now to your colon: a lot of problems people have with
allergies, sensitivities, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders,
and so forth, can be traced to inefficient elimination.

The more regular you are, and the faster you are at processing
and getting rid of waste, the healthier you are.

Here’s one famous example – and please forgive me Elvis fans!
I am a fan also, in fact I am looking at my favorite Elvis
clock I picked up in Las Vegas and bowing in apology as I write

When they performed the autopsy on Elvis Presley, they found over
40 pounds of fecal matter and gunk in his colon.

He basically ate, drank and drugged himself to the point that
his body could no longer process everything and his system went

Next tip, I’ll talk about what you can do to help clear out your
digestive system and colon. I’ll also discuss fasting and whether
it should have a place in your health regimen.

In the meantime, do some deep breathing every day. This simple
practice alone can have a dramatic impact on your energy levels,
quality of breathing, and general health.

You Can Do It!


P.S. Performing deep breathing every day, even for just a couple
of minutes, can have a profound impact on your lung health and
energy levels. If you’ve wanted to start a program but aren’t sure
where to begin, let me recommend the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy
Exercise Course, Volume 1; Invigorate and Rejuvenate
. When you
do the exercises  in this program, you’ll open up the breathing
spaces of your body, experience clear controlled breathing, and
feel completely energized. For more info on this program, 
visit the Best Breathing website.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Want to Lose Weight…Having Panic Attacks? Help is Here

A little change o’ pace in today’s blog post. We’ll hear from
several dear readers of my Best Breathing Exercises “Energy, Fitness
and Personal Power” email newsletter. (Which, by the way, you can
subscribe to by clicking on this link to the Best Breathing

Dear Karen,
I nearly ordered your book, the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program,  
but thought it would be a waste of money because
its for “fighting fit people”, or those who haven’t had medical

Please write back and tell me how you see it.

Many thanks!

KVN: Thanks for your inquiry, Auriel. The “Fire Up Your Metabolism”
Program is not for “fighting fit” people. One of the goals in
designing it was to make it accessible for everyone, regardless of
whether they are in good shape, bad shape, or somewhere in between.

In fact, when I first used the series of exercises I teach in the
program, as well as the other recommendation on diet and exercise,
I had been through a period of inactivity which had led me to gain

I had lost some weight but wasn’t seeing the results I thought I
should be, relative to the effort I was putting in. When I used
the program, it made a huge difference!

Most of the exercises are done from standing position and the
movements are pretty simple. I provide you with adaptations which
enable you to modify the exercises to make them either easier or
more challenging, depending on what you can do right now.

I also provide diet recommendations, the key ingredient for
enhancing any type of exercise to promote fat burning, and give
you tips on simple things you can do every day to keep your
metabolism humming along.

Whether you are severely overweight, need to lose 20 pounds, or
have been trying to lose that last 5 to 10 pounds….this program
can help you.

Hi Karen,
I agree with you here regarding keeping a journal [referencing an
earlier email tip, “One of the  Most Powerful Things You Can Do
to Ensure Success”]. I just finished one for my first week of
weight watchers. I kept a journal faithfully, and lost 4.1 pounds
for my first week of journaling! I was amazed to say the least! I
am so pleased that I did it. I have vowed to keep on journaling
in spite of my other difficulties. I am going to change my
thinking as well as my behavior too!

Take care and thanks for the encouragement.


KVN: Congratulations, Dee! That’s a phenomenal start to your
weight loss program. I truly believe recording what you eat,
your exercise or other activity, and even how you are feeling,
is a surefire (and proven) method for enhancing your focus and

If you know you have to write it down, you think twice before
eating it. If you complete that workout, you feel good about
recording it.

You also touch on a key point: “Change my thinking as well as my
behavior”. When you think about it, your results come from your
actions (or inactions); your actions are triggered by your
thoughts. Journaling regularly forces you to come face to face
with whatever is holding you back – as well as those things that
reinforce and support you. Keep up the great work!

OK, one final question for today:

Hello my name is Judy the breathing exercise seems like a great
idea. I have anxiety and I just started having panic attacks. I
need to find ways to relax I’m always on the go and I feel like
I have no time to stop. If you have any more ideas please send

Thank you,

KVN: Judy, it sounds like you are really stressed out. First off,
the fact that you “have no time to stop” means that you have to
do just that: stop! If only for one or two minutes to collect

Take 10 deep breaths: inhaling through your nose, exhaling through
your nose. Without straining, try to make each breath deeper and

If this doesn’t help, you can also inhale through your nose,
exhale quickly through your mouth with more force. Sometimes this
can break through the anxiety more effectively.

If you take just a minute or two to breathe deeply, you’ll help
yourself relax and get a bit of perspective on the situation. You’ll
come back to the task or challenge with more energy and focus.

Also, I recommend you get the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy
Exercise Course, Volume 1: Invigorate & Rejuvenate
. In this
course, I guide you through breathing, energy and stretching
exercises that help open up your breathing, relax you, and
relieve built-up stress and tension.

If you’re interested, you can visit the Best Breathing Exercises website
for more details.

If, after trying all this, the anxiety attacks continue or get
worse, you should see a medical professional for help. No need
to take chances, there are plenty of options for you.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van  Ness

P.S. Start this year out right! For clearer breathing and relief
from stress…for increasing your focus, internal energy and
health…or for help in reaching your ideal weight, I’ve got the
program for you. Check ’em out at the Best Breathing Exercises  

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Saying Goodbye to One of My Favorite Fitness and Health Heros

One of my favorite fitness and health heros of all time, fitness
guru Jack LaLanne, died yesterday of pneumonia.

He was a young 96.

Jack LaLanne is an icon to many people. He is, perhaps, best known
these days for pushing the benefits of his “Jack LaLanne Juicer”,
as well as the annual strength and endurance feats he performed
until recent years.

Like swimming across from Alcatraz to Fishermans Wharf in San
Francisco – a difficult enough feat – while handcuffed, AND pulling
several boats tethered together – with his teeth!

Or doing 1000 pushups in a row.

I love Jack LaLanne for very different reasons.

First off, think about his story.

Jack was a self-proclaimed sugar addict as a kid, weak, pimply,
prone to illness. A neighbor gave him and his mom two tickets
to attend a session by one of the leading health gurus of the
day, Paul Bragg.

That meeting changed Jack’s life.

As the story goes, Bragg told him, quite bluntly, “You’re a
walking garbage can.” This must have hit a nerve somewhere.
Because Jack immediately went home and built a gym in his
backyard.He devoted himself to training with weights, body weight
calisthenics, swimming, AND…deep breathing.

He reformed his eating habits and went from “sugar addict” to
vegetarian, pushing the benefits of eating and juicing raw
fruits and vegetables for superior health and energy.

(See, there is always hope for us chocolate lovers!)

Jack LaLanne was also a trailblazer in the business of fitness
and health. In 1936, he opened his first health studio and
revolutionized the gym industry. For example, he insisted
on including women in his gyms and programs. He believed that
women could benefit immensely from strength training, and
perhaps needed it even more than the menfolk. Remarkable for
that time!

He accepted and trained athletes, which was also revolutionary
at the time. You see, back then, sports coaches frowned
on weightlifting, because they thought it would make their
athletes too bulky and slow.

My how times have changed!

In addition to the advances and new approaches he advocated,
Jack also motivated hundreds of thousands of people over the
years to begin a fitness and health program. His attitude
was infectious and, as he said, he never had a “down day”.

My own fascination with him began during my childhood, in the
late 60s and early 70s.

At that time he had his own daytime TV show. My mom stayed
home with us when we were young, and she would watch his show.
We would often participate by mimicking Jack’s exercises
(and my mom’s exhausted reactions!).

There was Jack, moving, jumping, exhorting…wearing that
dark jumpsuit thingie. Because he was preaching to a
predominantly female audience, he would tailor the exercises
to include quite feminine, graceful movements. But I don’t
think anyone ever gave him any trouble for doing those
movements. The guy had some guns on him!

With just a few props, such as a chair, a towel, a broomstick,
he would instruct his audience on how to do simple yet
effective exercises that worked the entire body. He did the
exercises to music too – presaging a popular approach to
fitness classes.

I liked the fact that he would emphasize breathing with the
exercise. “Breath in, now breath out”, he would say.

And he didn’t just stick to exercise and diet tips in his show.
Jack had a wonderful philosophy of life which he shared over
the years through his shows, guest appearances, and the books
he wrote or co-wrote.

His wife, Elaine, was always front and center in everything
Jack did. They had a true partnership in every sense of the
word. Something else for all of us to emulate.

One of my favorite bits of advice is what Jack called his
“Ten Point Self-Improvement Plan”:

1. Exercise
2. Nutrition
3. Positive Thinking
4. Good Habits
5. Grooming
6. Smile
7. Posture
8. Help Others
9. Relaxation
10. Faith

We’re sad to see you go, Jack. But your example, your
inspiration, and your enthusiasm live on!

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

One of the Most Powerful Things You Can Do To Ensure Success in Your Fitness Program

Article first published as One of the Most Powerful Things You Can Do To Ensure Success in Your Fitness Program on Technorati.

One of the most powerful things you can do to ensure success with any kind of weight reduction, fitness, or self-improvement program, is to keep a journal.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as a coil-bound notebook, or even loose papers that you place into a folder or notebook. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate, either. In fact, the less elaborate, the simpler, the better. If it’s too complicated, you’ll stop using it.

In this journal or notebook, you record your activity, what you ate, perhaps what you weighed (once a week). You might also write down (and re-write each week) what your goals are.

For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, write it down. Then make it even more specific by placing a deadline on it. “I will lose 20 pounds by March 31st, 2011.” With a deadline, you can then work backwards to determine where you need to be in relation to your goal, each month and each week.

Use each week’s goal as a driving force as you plan your week ahead. Then do the workouts, and follow the eating plan, which help you toward that goal.

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So simple that it probably isn’t a big deal.

Not so fast, though.

I read somewhere (seemingly eons ago, so this is not new information) that recording in a journal is highly correlated with success.

Not just success in losing weight, or achieving high levels of fitness…success in all areas of life, including financial, personal relationships, self-development, and so forth.

I’m not sure what it is about writing something down that supports, perhaps even propels, a person to greater levels of effort and, ultimately, success.

I’m sure the simple act of measuring what you are doing and where you are in relation to your goal has a lot to do with the power of keeping a record. You may be able to delude yourself from day to day — but reality is all there in black and white in your notebook.

Perhaps it’s the embarrassment of having nothing to fill in if you have not done the tasks or items you planned to do on a given day.

It may also be the wonderful sensation you feel when you record something you have accomplished. If you keep a “to-do” list, you know what I mean. There’s something really satisfying about scratching some pesky item off your list.

Several weeks ago, as I was cleaning out closets, I rummaged through a couple of boxes I had not looked at in about five years. I found an old spiral-bound notebook that I had used as a training and nutrition log some years back.

It’s funny, but I never looked through the log or looked at previous entries during the time I was using it. But looking through it now, some years later, I could actually remember what I was doing and how I felt at that time.

As I flipped through the notebook, I could see the periods when I was making great progress, as well as the periods when I was not doing so well.  During the periods in which I was making progress, there was consistency in the regularity of activity recorded, as well as in progress being made. On the other hand, the not-so-great times corresponded to more days with blanks in them, or written notes about what got in the way of my training. Some of the excuses I came up with were very entertaining!

You may already journal on a regular basis. If not, I highly recommend it. You can keep a record of just about anything in your life. It’s a great way of keeping yourself on track and focused.

It’s also a great way of memorializing the stresses, failures, advances and victories you encounter along your journey in life.

This practice can keep you on track today. And, with the perspective of time, it can make for some good reading in the future.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness

P.S. If you have a goal to lose weight and “finally” get in shape this year, it’s time to put a deadline on it and get
cracking! If you’d like some help in wittling down the waistline and blasting off the flab, then check out the “Fire
Up Your Metabolism” Program
. Limited time offer – get your copy today!

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

First Things First

Boy do I feel great this morning!

I did a full session of breathing and energy exercises – before I
started work. It feels wonderful to do this type of exercise first

But sometimes I fall out of the habit.

As those of you with young kids know, they are usually “up and at
’em” pretty early in the morning. And your weekday routine probably
involves some combination of getting yourself ready for work or
school, getting your kids ready and off to school, making sure the
pets have food and water, and so on and so forth.

It’s easy to get caught up in the morning rush and….forget to put
yourself first. If you skip your breathing exercises in the morning,
you may find it difficult to fit them in later in the day. And this
can make a real difference in your energy levels and your breathing.

I notice an immediate difference. When I do my exercises first thing,
I feel energized, I feel enthusiastic. I am more focused and
productive when I sit down to work. I feel more creative.

When I don’t do them first thing…very different experience.

In the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume 2, I
recommend you do the Dynamic Energy Routine in the morning, before

Mornings can be a low energy time for many people. Working with your
breathing first thing can help you establish control over your
breathing, your outlook, even your stress levels, for the rest of
the day. The exercises in the Routine also energize and focus you.

I make the same recommendation in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism”

The exercises which form the core of the program are also best done
first thing in the morning. From a weight loss perspective, performing
the exercises before eating your first meal forces your body to reach
into fat stores immediately.

You also jumpstart your metabolism and keep it running higher
throughout the day.

Not to mention, you have more energy right off the bat. This is a
big deal if you have to be off and running every morning.

The other benefit of these exercises is that they help improve
digestion and elimination. Within a day or so of beginning them, you
will become a lot more “regular”, if you know what I mean. And this
is an infrequently discussed – yet critical – “secret” to losing
weight AND keeping it off.

So,  if you’re not already doing this, give it a try. Wake up
15 minutes earlier than usual and do your breathing exercises.
Experience the difference it makes in your energy, outlook, and
how smoothly your day seems to go.

As for me, I have re-committed myself to taking the advice I so
readily give to others. “Do as I say and not as I do” just doesn’t
fly, does it.

You Can Do It!


P.S. If you’re serious about finally dropping the weight, losing
the paunch, and strengthening your core, then the “Fire Up Your
Metabolism” Program
is for you. Learn how dynamic breathing exercise
can help you unlock the fat burning potential of your body at
the Best Breathing Exercises website.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Pay Yourself First: The Key To Wealth and Weight Loss

Note: This was first published as an article,  Pay Yourself First: The Key to Wealth and Weight Loss on Technorati.

How would you like to increase your net worth dramatically this

And….how would you like to trim down and get in your best shape
ever this year?

Interested? I thought so. Most of us would like to do both.

One of the oldest, most hallowed recommendations for investing and
increasing your net worth – even to the point that you can become
financially secure and independent – is to “pay yourself first”.

This one principle is so important, it’s biblical in nature.

The idea is to invest in yourself first, before you pay the first
bill. Take money right off the top and put it into some sort of
savings or investment account. If you can set this up to be
automatic, even better.

Then, the power of compound interest will work its magic for you.
And, over time, your initially modest monthly savings will grow
and grow into a substantial amount.

The same principle can also help you if you wish to enhance
your health and fitness.

In one of the newsletters I receive, a contributing physician
discussed a study that was done by Ohio State University’s Center
for Human Resources.

They found that significant decreases in weight are associated
with significant increases in wealth. For example, people who
shed 50 or more pounds saw an increase in wealth of $10,000. (Not
sure whether this was an increase in income or net worth.)

The researchers make the point that workplace discrimination
against obese or overweight people is the cause. And I’m sure
that’s part of it.

But I don’t think that’s the entire reason. There are plenty of
pleasingly plump, overweight and obese people around these days.
In fact, 60% of the population in this country is overweight or
obese. So working with an overweight person is pretty common.

Here’s another possible explanation:

I would venture to guess that the people they surveyed in the
study felt entirely different about themselves after they lost
all that weight.

Not only did they feel better about themselves, they probably
had more energy AND more confidence.

These are the kind of benefits you can expect when you put the
“Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program to work.

It’s not only about losing weight, leaning out and looking
better. The more important benefits are the intangible ones:
the way you feel about yourself, the increased energy you have,
the feeling of wellbeing you have when you do something good
for yourself.

At any rate, this study got me thinking about the subject of
compensation. Not monetary compensation, but giving yourself
some thing or some experience as a reward.

You could call it “managed compensation”. Here’s how it works:

There is a natural cycle of work and struggle followed by rest
and reward. You see it throughout nature. For example, the
gardener tills, plants, fertilizes, waters and weeds for many
weeks or months. The reward is the beautiful garden of
flowers, or the delicious fresh vegetables.

You can see it throughout history, going back to biblical
times. The Hebrews wandered for 40 years in the desert before
they were allowed into the “promised land”. God worked for six
days, then rested on the seventh. And so forth.

You probably see it in your daily life as well.

You crank and crank on an important project for work. When it’s
finished, you not only have the satisfaction of a job well done,
but you or your company may be rewarded as well. (Hopefully you,
but most companies don’t work that way.)

So, how can you apply this to getting active, exercising,
eating better, or taking any other type of action that can help
improve your health?

Well, as you plan your day or week, build in little rewards
for yourself – to be enjoyed IF you complete the activity or
task you assigned to yourself.

After you work out, allow yourself a nice meal to replenish
your muscles and energy levels. And /or take a nice hot shower
and relax for a few minutes.

If you’ve eaten really healthy all day, allow yourself a nice
dinner. Maybe even  a glass of wine or some dessert if you’ve
been really good.

I am an avid reader of all types of books and magazines. My
better half will attest to this. In fact, I’ve been accused of
being a “book hoarder”. (I like to think of my books as
worthwhile investments.)

Anyways, when I have completed a project that took a lot of
effort and time, I like to reward myself with a trip to the
bookstore. Browsing through the shelves can be very relaxing.
I enjoy purchasing a new book I’ve been wanting to read, as
well as the serendipity of discovering an interesting book I
was unaware of.

As a twist on all this, you might make the activity itself
your reward.

For example, most people look at exercising as something they
“have to do”. So how about flipping this? Make your workout
your reward.

After a hard day at work, frame your workout as your chance to
get away from all the crap and do something just for you. See
yourself moving those muscles and breaking a cleansing,
de-stressing sweat. Think about how good you will feel when
you are done.

It’s worth a try. Let me know what you think.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness

P.S. If you’ve been telling yourself you should get started
on an exercise program…if you’re ready to lose weight….if
you’d like more energy and control over your body —  then the
“Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program may be just the ticket. To
discover how the combination of deep breathing and dynamic
movements can help you reach your weight loss goals, click here.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

The Most Important Number If You Are Trying to Lose Weight

What’s the most important number if you are trying to lose weight?

You probably answered, “My weight in pounds, of course.”

Good answer, that IS an important number.

But your weight in pounds isn’t necessarily THE most important
number. Many people underestimate their healthiest weight.

Plus, the main consideration is how you look after you’ve lost
some fat and put on some muscle. When they go on a weight loss
program, most people think about losing flab in their waist and
hips, because this can have the most dramatic impact on their

They want to lose the beer belly and the love handles. They want
smoother curves. They want a trim waistline and hips.

Some even want to be able to see their abdominal muscles, a la
Brad Pitt, or Janet Jackson (when she’s performing on tour).

For a long time, doctors and other health experts would laugh at
or ridicule this obsession with the midsection. They pushed the
BMI, or body mass index, as the most important number to be
concerned with.

The problem with the BMI is that naturally big people, people
with lots of muscle, can actually have “bad” (too high) BMI’s.  

Plus, I’ve known plenty of thin people who have great BMI’s, but
actually have a fairly high bodyfat percentage because they
never exercise.

The other issue with it: it’s so darn difficult to calculate.

So the BMI has fallen out of favor somewhat.

Guess what? Many doctors and health professionals have come around
to our way of thinking. Wanting a trim waist is a worthy goal,
after all.

Currently THE most important number is your WHR: your waist-to-hip

It turns out that your gut size, not your weight, appears to be
the best measure of health risk.

It’s been known for some time that extra fat around the midsection
is correlated with increased risk of heart attack. This is thought
to occur primarily because this type of fat is concentrated around
the internal organs.

However, recent studies have implicated a high WHR with increased
risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

So, if you are planning on losing weight, improving your fitness
levels, and/or getting healthier — be mindful of the fact that
extra fat around the midsection increases your risk for some of the
most serious diseases.

Before I forget, here’s how to calculate your WHR:

Grab a tape measure and measure the circumference at the point where
your waist is the smallest. This usually just above belly button
level. Then measure the circumference around your hips where they
are the widest.

Next, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.

Here’s an example:
Waist measurement is 32″
Hip measurement is 40″
WHR = 32 divided by 40 = .80

So what does this number mean?

Well, the ratios at which increased risk for heart attack,
diabetes and high blood pressure starts is 0.95 for men, and 0.80
for women.

For men, a WHR greater than 0.95 indicates increased risk. For
women, a WHR greater than 0.80 indicates greater risk.

Getting back to the vanity thing: some years ago I developed a
program to help me bump up my metabolism in a safe, natural way. I
was trying to improve on the weight loss I had achieved through
more “conventional” means.

This became the heart of the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program,
which I recently made available again as an Ebook.

In the program, I emphasize deep breathing and dynamic exercises
that concentrate on the torso muscles, including the abdominal,
back and hip muscles.

Why? Three primary reasons:

(1) the focus of most people trying to lose weight is to get as
lean a waistline as possible, for better appearance;
(2) the muscles of the torso are the largest in the body, so
working these can have the greatest impact on your metabolism;
(3) combining deep breathing with movements that focus on the
core area improves appearance more dramatically through toning and
strengthening these muscles, as well as improving posture and
the health of the internal organs.

Now I can add a fourth very important reason: because improvements
in the waist and hip area can help avoid increased risk for heart
attacks, diabetes and high blood pressure — the three major
scourges of modern living.

So, while your current weight and goal weight are important
numbers, be mindful of your waist-to-hip ratio, your WHR, as you
plan and implement your weight loss program.

And if you’d like to kick start your efforts, get the “Fire Up
Your Metabolism” Program.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness
P.S. Get yourself on the right side of your body’s energy equation.
Instead of starving yourself to try to lose weight, try boosting your
body’s energy requirements with the exercises and strategies in the
“Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program. Get your
copy today!

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Every Six Months

We’re still in the every beginning of the New Year. So today, I’d
like to share with you a thought of renewal.

Did you know that, every 6 to 7 months, every cell in your body is

Pretty amazing, huh? Just think, by this time next year, you will
have an entirely new body at the cellular level — perhaps twice
over, at that!

This clues us in to a great way to think about this year. Instead
of thinking only of what you want to accomplish, or what you have
to get done…think also in terms of renewal.

How can you begin to take the actions to renew yourself; to become
the person you want to be; and to make your life the way you
envision it to be?

How can you get that old energy and enthusiasm back; or get it to
begin with, if you never had it?

Use this same idea to help gauge your progress during the year.
At the six month point, the end of June, assess how you are doing.
Are your progressing on schedule toward your goals? If not, you’ve
still got time for course correction, or to re-evaluate and perhaps
re-set those goals.

According to surveys, the number one goal for most people is to
lose weight and get in shape.

This means the two major areas people are focusing on are exercise
and diet.

We’ll look at both areas in some depth in the coming weeks. I’d
just like to offer a note of caution.

Most of us start on a new project, like starting an exercise
program or a new diet, with lots of enthusiasm and motivation.
That’s to be admired and appreciated.

Unfortunately, we typically make such sudden and drastic changes
to our routine, that we actually cause excessive stress to our
bodies. We get sore, we get tired, we get sick of eating a more
programmed or rigid diet all the time, and so forth.

Everyone has a different threshold. But usually within 3 to 4
weeks, our enthusiasm begins to wane. We begin to find excuses
for not being able to work out. And we “cheat” so frequently on
the crazy diet we decided to try that we…well, we stop following
the diet.

Now, I’m not trying to dampen your enthusiasm. Not one bit.

I’m just advocating a more realistic way of starting. One that
accepts the fact that the most profound changes in our lives,
especially in our health, require consistent effort over time.

In other words, I recommend you look at changes to your lifestyle
that you can live with for the long term.

This means NOT saying you are going to exercise for three hours
a day, when you know there is no way in he** you can keep that
up. This also means NOT going on some crazy diet that guarantees
you will lose 5 pounds a week, but severely restricts the foods
you can have.

Make the most of your enthusiasm with small to moderate changes
that you can make today, AND that you will be able to live with
6 months from now. You’ll be surprised and delighted at the
progress you make.

By the way, if one of your goals is to lose weight and achieve
the awesome physique you deserve, but you feel like you’re in
rut, or unsure whether you can “finally” take off the weight…I
can give you a tool and a system to break out of that rut and
actually achieve your ideal weight — without struggle or
deprivation. It’s the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program, and you
can get more information at the Best Breathing Exercises site.

You Can Do It!


P.S. One of my favorite quotes is, “What would you do if you
knew you could not fail?” Set lofty goals for yourself. Then
follow through with action. Here’s to a great 2011!

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Finally! Achieve Your Goal to Lose Weight in 2011

If you’re like 80% of adults, you probably made a resolution to
lose weight and get in better shape in 2011.

If you want to lose weight, or have been told by your doctor (or a
significant other) that you ought to lose weight….I’m here to
help you.

But first, full disclosure.

I’ve battled my weight, off and on, for many years now, going back
to college days.

Yes, even though I’m a fitness trainer, producer of information
products that help thousands of people improve their health and
fitness, a black belt in two martial arts, and a former collegiate
athlete – I too have had a few periods in my life when I have been

When I was overweight, I resolved to diet and exercise in order to
lose the pounds and firm up. I typically would join a gym and
embark on a conventional program of doing cardio, lifting weights,
stretching, and doing lots of abdominal exercises.

I even tried yoga and pilates (before pilates was popular!). I also
put myself on a diet and was very careful about what I ate.

I experienced success for a time. I would lose weight, usually up
to 10 or 15 pounds. I would be feeling good about myself. Then, I
would inevitably hit one of those momentum-stealing,
motivation-sapping plateaus, and the weight loss would stop.

It was hard to stay motivated at these times, because the pounds
just didn’t come off as quickly as I expected. I felt like I was
working so hard and depriving myself. I should have been seeing
better results.

Each week, I stepped on the scale. And each week, I was disappointed
at my lack of progress. Even worse, I sometimes found that I had
gained weight! Maybe it was just “water weight”, but who cares? I
was so frustrated and heartbroken that I would cry whenever I
looked at myself in the mirror.

I knew there was a beautiful body – MY beautiful body – in there
somewhere. But how could I get to it?

If you’ve tried and failed to lose and keep off a significant
amount of weight, I’m sure you can understand my frustration and

This is the point at which most people say, “Aw, what’s the use!”
and give up on their quest for a great body.

I wasn’t done yet, though. I decided to investigate and try one more
thing – something I thought could accelerate my results and melt
away the pounds.

Here’s what I discovered:

Through my training in martial arts, energy disciplines and
breathing methods, as well as research I have done into old-time
methods of physical training and health enhancement, I came to a

All the exercising and dieting I had been doing was good for me,
and I was getting some results. BUT I was missing a key ingredient:
deep breathing.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to lose weight:

One of the primary actions of deep breathing is to provide the body
with ample quantities of oxygen. Oxygen provides the spark which
heats up your metabolism, which in turn increases your body’s
need for energy, or calories.

When you engage in deep breathing on a regular basis, you pull more
oxygen into your system. This causes your body to more quickly burn
the calories you take in from food and drink. It then goes into a
deficit, and turns to fat stores as an additional source of energy.

Priming this mechanism is the secret to dramatic and lasting weight
loss. And the key is oxygen: the more oxygen you take in, the
faster the results.

So I leveraged this information I already had, but had taken for
granted. I put it to use. And my results were fantastic!

Not only did I lose the weight, including those last 5 or 10
stubborn pounds that you can never seem to get off…I also
toned my waistline and core to the point I could actually see my

Later, I shared the exercises and recommendations in this program
with a few of my private training clients. They also achieved
wonderful results using this method.

Maybe you have a lot of weight to lose. Perhaps you would like to
radically improve the results you’re getting from your current
fitness or weight loss program. Or maybe you want to lose that last
5 to 10 pounds so you can see your abs.

Whatever your situation, you can put this program to work
immediately to help reach your goal.

I call this the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program, because that
is exactly what it does.

I encourage you to check it out and put it to work for yourself.
You can read more about it at the Best Breathing Exercises  

You Can Do It!


P.S. Another full disclosure: I’ve let myself slip – yes, me,
the so-called health nut – and I have some weight to lose. One of
my priority goals for 2011 is to get back into fighting trim. I
will be following this program to enhance my results. Why don’t
you join me? Click here  to learn more. 

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Setting goals for the new year is an important step in preparing
yourself for success.

As we discussed yesterday, new year’s resolutions don’t work — at
least not for anybody I’ve ever heard of or spoken with.

But setting goals for the coming year — now you’re talking. It’s
been proven that the act of setting goals alone can lead to the
achievement of most or all of your goals.

Think about it: just taking the time to think through and write down
your goals one time, at the beginning of the year, can help you
achieve most, or even all, of them.

Of course, it’s a good idea to review your goals, and your progress
relative to them, at regular intervals.

But back to setting them in the first place. What is the optimal
number of goals to focus on for each year?

I’ve read or heard advice advocating one supreme goal for each year.
I’ve also heard people advise three or four, or 10, or as many as

Personally, I’ve tried each of these approaches, and each has merit.
But I’m a big believer in focus. I think if you have too many goals,
you end up dissipating your energy, time and resources trying to get
them all done.

Having too many goals ends up being more like a project list, full
of stuff you wanna or gotta get done. Not very inspiring.

On the other hand, having only one goal is a “make-or-break”

You could end up having a pretty awesome year in various aspects of
your life. But, if you fail to achieve that one goal, you may end
the year feeling like a failure, rather than celebrating all that
you did achieve.

Here’s an approach that has worked for me in the past. Think about
it and, if you are so inclined, give it a whirl this year.

You need to work with the number of goals that gets you excited.
And your goals should be balanced across the different areas of your
life that are important to you.

Anywhere from 3 to 10 goals is a good number to work with. And I
would say you should really, really focus on the top one to three.
These will be the goals that truly excite and energize you and that,
if achieved, will make the achievement of the other goals much more

Even more to the point: Your number one goal should be the goal that,
if achieved, will have the most profound, positive impact on your

As an example, let’s take a look at a typical health goal.

Many people set the goal of losing x number of pounds. This is good,
but I’ve learned that goals like this — just numbers — may not
excite you enough to truly change behaviors for the long term, which
is critical to achieving the goal.

Instead of just focusing on taking up less room on the planet, add
some details to your weight loss (or other) goals that truly get
you revved up and emotional about them.

For example, instead of a simple “lose x pounds or kilos” goal, add
the goal of fitting into an old pair of jeans, or a suit or dress
you haven’t worn in months or years.

You can also include activity-related goals. For example, one goal
could be to work out an average of four days per week throughout the
year. Or to train for and run in an 8K road race. Or to perform deep
breathing exercises every morning before breakfast.

You get the picture. Using a mix of measurement and activity-based
goals helps you add flavor and depth to what you are trying to achieve.
It gets you more excited about getting to work on them.

And, I think it helps sustain you when that initial excitement winds
down, which inevitably happens. Activity-based goals keep you focused
on the process. So even when you seem as far away as ever from a goal
or goals, you can still focus on the process, the activity, and be
successful with that.

As many of the great thinkers have pointed out over the centuries,
the process by which you work towards a goal or destination is just
as, if not more, important as the achievement of the goal itself.

Through the process, you gain in knowledge, experience, and
self-understanding And you prepare yourself to take on even more
challenging goals.

I promise you, you’ll never lead a boring, dull life if you
continually engage your brain, body and spirit towards the attainment
of worthwhile goals.

You Can Do It!


P.S. What is your most important goal for this year? What goal
resonates with you the most, or if achieved, would make the
greatest difference in your life?

If your goal includes improving your energy levels or health, let
me help you. Get started today with the Secret Power of Dynamic
Energy Exercise Courses
. Make this the year that good things happen!
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011