Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Friday, February 22, 2013

Meet My Trainer, Alison Maden

Today I'd like to introduce you to another member of Team Steph, my personal trainer, Alison Maden.  I first started working with Alison about 5 years ago just before I got pregnant with baby #3.  I had wanted to lose 5 more pounds before getting pregnant, but got pregnant sooner than expected and ended up working with her to keep me fit during my pregnancy.  I exercised with Alison up until the end, felt and looked the best during any of my pregnancies - and gained the least!  I LOVE Alison.

I recently started weekly training sessions with her again to lose the 10 pounds I can't seem to lose since having Jake (um, four years ago...).  I exercise 4 times a week, using a variety of workouts - fitness videos, strength training, treadmill, and yoga.  Still, I wasn't moving the scale.  Adding Alison back into the mix has been great because she changes up exercises and weight levels as I progress, while pushing me past my safe and comfortable zone.  Every week, I can expect a different, challenging workout that always leaves me feeling energized and super fit.

I asked Alison to share some of her fitness secrets and insights with us.  Make sure you read to the end for a special VeegMama offer.

VM: How or why were you drawn into this field?  Essentially, how did you get on your fitness path?
AM: I was a gymnast in my youth and stopped competing at age 12 after I developed anorexia. My parents intervened and I spent the next year in regular therapy sessions. I never relapsed and learned at an early age that keeping life in balance and your priorities straight is the only way to thrive.

VM: How do you balance being a mom and having your own business?
AM: I am fortunate that I can work part-time and be my own boss. Adhering to a set weekly schedule keeps things flowing smoothly. I try and be efficient in everything that I do. It is not easy and requires no room for procrastination.

VM: Most of us are busy jugglers every day.  What strategies do you have for fitting fitness into one's life?
AM: Designate a workout day and time into your into weekly schedule.   Let go of the other things that need to be done, they will be there when you return and you will probably have more energy to accomplish more.  Try and streamline your transition time.  I am a big proponent of home exercise (including outdoor walking/jogging), because it is one less place you have to be and no wasted drive time.

VM: What is your best fitness secret?
1) Discipline and dedication. Feeling good physically and mentally (self confidence) is much more rewarding than being lazy or making a poor food choice.
2) Improve muscle strength. Muscle or lean body mass has two big pay offs: increased metabolism and join/skeletal stabilization. Both areas become an important factor with aging.

VM: What are your 5 favorite exercises?  
1) squats- a zillion different varieties to choose from
2) assisted pull-ups or pull downs/row
3) chest press or push-ups
4) stomach planks (variations)
5) lunges (variations)

VM: Is there any piece of fitness equipment or gadget every gal should have?
AM: The physioball (large inflated rubber ball) is very versatile.  If you don't go to a gym, you will need to invest in a couple pairs of dumbbells.  You need to add resistance to stress muscles to build strength.

VM: If we could only do one thing a day for our fitness, what would you suggest?
AM: Do different things to better balance your body (cross-training approach).  The 3 components you need are cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility.

2-3 days/week- cardio
2 day/ week- strength exercises

VM: I am on a quest to live the good life in all aspects of the word.  What does the good life mean to you?
AM: Wow-loaded question and answer!  Focusing on the things that bring you contentment is a good place to start.  Spirituality, family and friends, life experiences, and health are some of my everyday commitments. I wake up in the morning thinking of the day's happenings. Throughout the day, I try and do the right thing, so I go to bed feeling good about myself.  For example, the way you treat others,
accomplishments, and learning new things (reading or experiences).

VM: Could you share a 20-minute power workout that we could use at home?
AM: A rotation of above 5 favorite exercises.  A set (15-20 reps) of lower body followed by upper body exercises.  For example: 20 squats, 15 pull-downs, 20 squats, 15 push-ups, 20 lunges, plank, etc.

VM: You work with a lot of moms.  Have you seen any common issues that we could all learn from?

AM: If you are looking at your workout as one more thing on your to-do list, try and change your mind set.  Exercise is YOU time and will be one of the biggest stress reducers in your life.  Doing vigorous physical activity provides a calming effect mentally and physically.

VM: Can you share your favorite quote?
AM: Recently, I was reminded of a Nike advertising campaign in the 90's: "Just do it."  That is so true!

Thank you, Alison!  Below is some more information about my amazing personal trainer.  She is providing a special offer to all VeegMama readers for a strength training basics workshop in her back "fitness" yard in Redondo Beach.  Please RSVP to her at (310) 570-3495 or for more information. 

Alison Maden is a personal trainer based in Los Angeles.  She has over 15 years experience with diverse client experience, specializing in women’s health, including pregnant and post-partum clients, senior wellness, models, and sports conditioning.  

She holds a B.S. in Physical Education and Kinesiology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, as well as Health Fitness Instructor accreditation from American College of Sports Medicine.

Alison lives in the South Bay with her husband and two children.