Friday, February 26, 2010

Save Time with Better Results?

Good news for the millions and millions of people who say they don't have 2.5 hours to exercise every week? Some recent studies suggest working out more intensely but for less time is more effective. According to the article, "intense bursts of activity are what the body needs to build stronger muscles."

To echo the warnings required in our litigious society: Everyone should get a doctor's clearance before beginning any exercise program, particularly a high-intensity program.

The bottom line:
  • Some exercise is better than none
  • More exercise is better than less
  • Variety (cardio, strength and flexibility/balance) is better than boring
  • You will feel better, sleep better and be more happy

Now is the time. We have a weekend upon us... Get some exercise!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Are you Certain?

I am a grateful student of Bob Duggan at Tai Sophia Institute. During the TLSC Master's program, Bob teaches a class on New Science, New Thinking. For a taste of Bob and his teaching see his TEDx speech here.

During class Bob speaks of certitudes. For clarity, a certitude is defined as freedom from doubt. This seems like a good thing. Many people believe if you are free from doubt, life is good. You know your boundaries, what to believe in and what to expect.

There are countless examples of certitudes. In fact, I'm almost certain all things are certitudes (irony anyone?). The best way to find a certitude is to listen for something like "It has always been that way" or "Things will never change."

With over 66% of people in the US overweight or obese, I wonder how many think things won't ever change. How many are certain they can't lose the weight and change their health and, therefore, don't take any action to do so? How many are certain eating a salad drowning in thousand island dressing is a healthy choice? How many think a package labeled "low fat" means it is healthy and they can eat more? How many are sure they don't know how to exercise and are too embarrassed to do so? How many fear their own kitchen and don't know how, or what, to cook for a healthful meal at home? How many people believe a soup made of kale, chard and sweet potatoes would be awful (for the record, it is rather tasty!)?

The point being, until we help ourselves and those around us to identify and set certitudes aside, we have little hope for real change. I, for one, happen to believe anything is possible. The only doubt I'm free from? To quote Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

PS - Want to join, or watch, a group about to change the world? Visit my friend Andrew and his blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Health Reform and You

Tomorrow is the bipartisan meeting on health reform which begins at 10:00 AM Eastern.

Click here for more information and to watch live. And, remember politics is politics.

Your best approach to health reform? Be your own primary care physician. Take responsibility for, and care of, your own health.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exercise or Xanax?

What a wonderful world it would be if our medical system prescribed exercise instead of prescription drugs for anxiety. A recently published study showed regular exercise reduced anxiety symptoms by 20%.

Is this a big deal? Here come some stats from 2008 US sales data:
  • $14.6 billion in anti psychotics
  • $9.6 billion in antidepressants
  • $4.8 billion in ADHD meds

Grand total: $29 billion.

The 2008 budget for US National Parks operations: $2 billion.

Does anyone else see something wrong with this? It borders on criminal.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Green, Yellow, Red

The U.K., well ahead of the U.S. in many public health policies, is using a very simple method for food package labeling.
  • Green - your best choice
  • Yellow - an okay choice
  • Red - not a good choice

Wouldn't it would be great if the FDA and USDA implemented a similar system for food in the US? All food should have these labels (meaning fruits and vegetables as well). We could educate most anyone to not eat things with a red dot.

And, while I'm making a wish list, I would like an actual real list of everything a food contains. There shouldn't be exceptions for percentages, there shouldn't be "made up names" for the sake of marketing, there shouldn't be any exceptions. Is this really too much to ask?

Until it isn't too much to ask, don't eat things that come in cardboard packaging. Michael Pollan's number 1 food rule: Eat food. Things in boxes are, 99% of the time, not food.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do Squirrels Call the Vet?

Mobile phones are ubiquitous. The number of Americans with a mobile phone is 89% (as of June 2009). How many wild animals have mobile phones? Zero. Or at least I have not witnessed any animals with mobile phones. Google doesn't even know what to do when I seek such data. Go ahead and try it... interesting results.

When Americans feel sick, we call a doctor. Not only do we call a doctor, but we expect the doctor to cure us. And cure us NOW. Give us a pill, a shot, a surgery, a something (an anything!) to make us feel better.

Here is an interesting thought... What do squirrels do when they feel ill? Do they call a veterinarian? They cannot, even if they had the desire. They don't have mobile phones.

What they do is perhaps the best model for what we humans might consider. They rest, they eat a specific plant or root (proven effective by eons of squirrel experience), they drink more water, or their animal family gathers to say goodbye.

I'm not proposing we stop calling our doctors when we don't feel well. I'm not suggesting we walk away from our American medical system in favor of walking into the forest and eating plants. I'm also not suggesting we call a vet when we're not feeling well (though I do contend my animals get far better health care than many humans I know).

What I am suggesting is each of us (yes, I mean you and me) consider our bodies intuitively know what is best for us. I am suggesting we stop assigning responsibility for our health to someone else. Be your own primary care doctor. Be your own caretaker. Make the choices you know are best for your health and well being. Not the choices some "expert" suggests, certainly not the choices a marketing campaign suggests, and, in many cases not the choices your family exhibits.

Health is personal. Take a hint from nature. Make your own health your own first mission.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What to Eat?

A Facebook search on "Nutrition" returns about 2,900 pages and 18,000 group results. An "old school" Yahoo search returns 503,000,000 results. Google? A mere 101,000,000.

Food is, perhaps, the only thing all humans have in common. We all choose the food we eat. The simple act of picking up food and putting it in our mouths renders each of us the supreme ruler of our bodies. How well do we rule? Depends. Our food choices are impacted by where we are born, when we are born, to whom we are born, how we are educated and the culture in which we live.

What we actually choose to eat, day after day, has a greater impact on our health than any other factor (and perhaps all other factors combined). The only big question that remains: What to Eat?

The answer is really rather simple. If you're a quick study and just want the very basic answer here it is:
  • More vegetables and fruits

  • More water

  • Appropriate protein

  • Less meat, dairy and sugar

Getting people to follow the answer proves to be more difficult. Add to the difficulty, different things work better for different people.

What to do? Our first advice: follow the simple answer above. For more detailed advice... stay tuned. I'm currently enrolled in the Professional Training Program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. If you read and follow along, you too can enjoy the benefits of this world-class program.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Work While Laughing

We are ever so grateful to be able to do work that makes a difference in the world while we're having a blast. We are testing a motion capture program so we can create new content more quickly than animating by hand.

Here are two of the people behind the scenes at Cybercise having one heck of a fun day at work.

Watch here and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Three is News

Three is the theme of the day, apt for the third day of the week. This blog is a a great 3 minute investment in your day. Watch it. Per Derek's wisdom, "Three is a crowd. Three is news."

Exercise improves at three as well. The first time you do a new program you feel uncertain and awkward. The second time? You're trying too hard - you want to own it (and you can't, you're not first). The third time? The magic three? You know what to expect, you have nothing to prove and you're there for the experience.

Perhaps the 2nd following (the thing that shows everything else how to follow) is the one that really matters because it is there to be fully in the moment, enjoying the experience.

The moral of the story: Before you give up, take it to three.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two to Too Many

For some, somewhere after two the choices become too many. When faced with too many choices most people either choose the same thing over and over again or choose nothing because deciding is too hard.

Deciding what to eat used to be easy. In 1970, the average number of products on grocery store shelves was 7,800. In 2008, that number jumped to 46,852! Is this a good thing? I promise we didn't discover we could start eating rocks and therefore a new world of food opened up. By and large, these foods are manufactured.

Your choices in how to exercise have also experienced huge growth. Have we also manufactured too many exercise choices thereby rendering most people unable to do any exercise? Exercise used to be simple... calisthenics, running, pumping some iron. Some of us fondly remember the Jane Fonda aerobics debut (pun intended). Today, there are thousands, if not millions of different ways to exercise. One could assume this would encourage more people to exercise because everyone can surely find something they actually like to do. The obesity numbers tell the opposite story.

Perhaps we are better off going back to the tried-and-true, simple ways of exercising our bodies. Perhaps all we want is a gym coach to tell us what to do so we can follow along and be healthy. Thoughts anyone?

Monday, February 15, 2010

One To Two

Sometimes the most simple of ideas can go a long way on your path to health and wellness. Yes, it takes a commitment to finally lose the weight and get in shape. It can be easy done one step at at time. And yes, it is worth it.

We recently blogged about "The Moment" and the long term improvement we can realize if we make the choice for health 80% of the time. Today's idea is how the right choice in one moment sets the stage for the right choice in the next moment.

A few examples:

A good strategy for improved health is to drink enough water each day. According to these stats, only 34% of Americans drink the recommended 8-8oz glasses each day. If you make the health choice to get out of bed and exercise on Sunday morning, you are more likely to drink more water. Why? You'll be thirsty from your workout.

If you take a 10 to 15 minute walk before your lunch break, you're more likely to make better choices for your lunch menu. Why? Your body will feel good from the exercise (aka happy endorphins) and you are less likely to seek the comfort of a burger and fries.

Sure, being well and healthy requires vigilance. You have to be aware of The Moment and make the right choice. For one day, tomorrow perhaps, make the choice for health in The First Moment of the day and just pay attention to the impact it has on the remainder of your moments. One to two...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Moment

Perhaps all of life comes down to the moment over and over again. Successful people act in the moment, others don't. What is the moment? How would you recognize it?

Here are some examples:
  • Sunday morning, waking up and feeling rested - Do you get up and exercise or lounge around in bed watching TV?
  • Weekday 3 PM, sitting at your desk and feeling tired - Do you go the vending machine for a soda or do some stretching at your desk?
  • Weeknight, before dinner - Do you stop and get pizza on the way home or do you toss a salad and cook dinner?
  • Weeknight, after dinner - Do you sit on the sofa and watch reality TV or take a walk with your spouse, kids, pet?
By and large, people that are healthy and fit use the moment to make the choice that best supports their health. Health doesn't come in one big dose. There isn't a pill to take and you're not going to wake up one day 20 pounds lighter. Health comes from making the "right" choice 80% of the time. The other 20%??? Have some fun and be aware you're doing it on purpose.

Health comes in the moment. Each and every one of them.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Are you thinking about joining our Fourteen for Fitness program? Starting Monday, February 15, we invite you to sign up for a free 14-day trial membership on Cybercise and join our 14-4-Fit! program.

14-4-Fit! is a great way to sample many of the Cybercise programs while enjoying a little friendly competition and encouragement from other 14-4-Fit! members.

If you're curious what is on the menu, here are the programs for the 14-day challenge:
Day 1: Total Body Stretch (10 M)
Day 2: Cardio Warm up (10 M)
Day 3: Arms I (5 M)
Day 4: Relax Breath I (5 M)
Day 5: Glute and Hamstring I (5 M)
Day 6: Chest I (5 M)
Day 7: Lunchtime Yoga (10 M)
Day 8: Chest I (5 M)
Day 9: Upper Leg I (5 M)
Day 10: Lower Body Stretch (10 M)
Day 11: Abs II (10 M)
Day 12: Lower Leg I (5 M)
Day 13: Back I (5 M)
Day 14: Bedtime Yoga (15 M)

When you join, set up your personal profile through our Community section and send a pal request to Jane Cybercise. We'll take it from there. Join us!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fourteen for Fitness

We recently launched a free 14-day trial membership on our website. This trial is a full-featured look into Cybercise to give you a chance to try us out and see how easy it is to fit more fitness into your life.

By all reports, over 50% of people who began a New Year's Resolution this year to get more exercise have already stopped. We all know we want more exercise in our lives and sometimes it is hard to stay motivated. So, we're happy to introduce an easy-to-follow program called "Fourteen for Fitness." The Fourteen for Fitness challenge will begin on February 15, next Monday and will run through the end of the month (conveniently 14 days!).

Start by signing up for a free 14-day trial membership on Monday. Once you are signed up, set up your profile in our Community section and be sure to send a "pal" request to Jane Cybercise. Jane will send you a challenge that contains one of our video programs on each of the 14 days of your free trial. You and all of our other "Fourteen for Fitness" members will race against each other and the clock to exercise each day for 14 days.

We know you'll love our programs and enjoy working out with a little friendly competition. Plus, this will give you a great way to get a sampling of many of the video programs we have on Cybercise and, even better, it will get you started on a daily habit of exercise.

Join us! Tell your friends!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What is the Buzz About?

Google is either very lucky or very brilliant or very powerful. Most of the East Coast from Virginia northward into Maine is being pummeled by a blizzard. The second one in a week for many of us. Gratefully, we still have power and have grown bored with our usual places to visit on the web.

Today, the buzz is about Buzz. Yes, I realize Google didn't create this blizzard for the release or Buzz (or at least, I don't think they did...) but their timing is pretty good. I've been buzzing with some friends today and the buzz rumor of late is it will be the downfall of Twitter.

We're a bit skeptical about that and yet we have created our Buzz profile already. If you're buzzing about, feel free to buzz along with us!

PS - If haven't found them yet, check out the TED talks now going on in California.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

E = mc2

It would seem many Americans are in search of the one easy answer to achieve and maintain health and wellness. I think the vast majority of people would happily take a pill to stay thin if they could continue eating fast food (we spend billions of dollars each year on weight loss pills and surgeries). We could continue to treat our bodies poorly and wait for the magic cure to make us better (or end up like the humans in Wall-E). I, for one, don't want to live that life. There really is a better way. And, the answer is something far more simple.

Let's invoke the wisdom and intelligence of Einstein with his theory of relatively. E=mc^2 where E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light squared. Could we perhaps modify the equation just a bit for health? I propose: E = Health and Wellness, m= food and c squared = exercise. Therefore we'd achieve Health and Wellness if our approach looked something like this:

In other words, exercise more than you eat. You would have more energy (health and wellness) if you ate moderately and exercised more.

There are a few things to keep in mind here. Whole, natural, organic (aka non-processed) foods are better for us than the things stored in the interior aisles of the grocery store. And, every little bit of exercise counts. Sure, it is great if you spend an hour a day doing cardio and lifting weights. And, if you don't do that, don't be discouraged. The best approach to exercise is to start small, do a little more each day and include lots of variety so you (and your body) don't get bored. You can make a huge difference in your "E" by simply taking a walk every day during your lunch break.

So can we have this diagram as a subtle reminder to take better care of ourselves. Perhaps you'd like to print it and put it on your refrigerator. Magnets anyone?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Change and Signs

For those of you on a break from conventional news, the DC-Maryland area was hit with more than 2 feet of snow last weekend. It started on Friday and many Federal Government offices began closing at Noon, schools closed early, businesses allowed staff to leave before 5 PM.

By the time the snow stopped and the clouds parted on Saturday evening, it was fairly clear this storm would have significant impact on the area for several days. In fact, at this writing (9 PM on Monday), some of our roads have still not been plowed. And almost all of them are risky - Interstate 95 included.

The forecast is predicting another 10-20" of snow tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday. Schools remain closed, the Federal Government will be closed tomorrow and many private businesses have already told their staff to work from home.

I am curious how much commerce has stopped. Granted, retail and restaurants are suffering. A local steakhouse was closed for 3 days and had to throw away a significant amount of food - that amount of loss will hurt any business. Most everyone else I know continued to work. We worked through the weekend with email and conference calls. We here at Cybercise got quite a bit accomplished without the regular demands (or distractions) vying for our time. We also had time to play in the snow, take photos, cook, read, chat with family and friends, and enjoy the wonder of it all without anywhere we had to be. While getting more work done!

Could blizzards be a way for us to recognize change is needed? Do we have to drive 30+ miles to the office each day wasting our time and polluting the environment only to sit in a cubicle or, worse, in a meeting for 8 hours?

I, for one, think we can take Blizzard 2010 v.1 and inbound Blizzard 2010 v.2 as a sign for change. What if we each telecommuted 2 or 3 days a week? I theorize we would: get more actual work done, help the planet, improve our quality of life, have more time to exercise, have the energy to cook a healthful meal for our family, save money (our money = gas + clothing + lunch out and our employers' money = power + office supplies, etc.). With all of that we would be less stressed and have time to take better care of ourselves... therefore we'd be more healthy, therefore saving our health care system.

Can we all simply realize there is a much better way to live?

Friday, February 5, 2010

City on a Diet

A little encouragement from friends and family go a long way in helping us make better choices for our health. What if an entire city was focused on losing weight? Amazing things can happen with that kind of support!

The Mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett, has launched a program called "This City is Going on a Diet." Mr. Cornett is setting a good example with his own weight loss and is now encouraging everyone in the city to do the same. They've developed and launched a web portal to help support all Oklahoma City citizens to join the effort.

Kudos to you, Mr. Mayor!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The most effective way to eat well is to only eat things that come in their own packaging (aka skins and peels). We know food that comes in boxes and arrives wrapped in plastic aren't the best food choices for our health.

Sometimes, making good choices is hard. We are lured and tempted by the colorful graphics and health claims that appear on many boxes.

If you're too tempted (and happen to live in London), visit Unpackaged! This store only sells things that come in their own packages or come in bulk. What a great idea!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We've heard some feedback theorizing $10 a month for a Cybercise membership is too cheap. Some ideas about how if you want more people to recognize something has value you have to charge more for it so people think it is worth it.

In the "old world" this was proven in many arenas. Now? Now I'm just not sure. I have hope we are changing the value proposition of delivering products and services to the masses. Cybercise doesn't need to charge you as much as the average gym membership ($40-50 per month).

Why? We don't have the expensive overhead. We don't have to pay multiple people to keep our "gym" open from 5 AM to Midnight. We don't have to always buy the new, best, fancy equipment to keep our high maintenance members happy. We don't have to wash the towels (and fret over the ones people take home with them). We don't have to provide child care services.

At $10 a month, we actually provide more value for less money. We're open 24/7 when you're ready to workout. We let you choose what kind of exercise you want to do without standing in line or getting a spot at the machine or in the class. We let you connect with your friends while you're on Cybercise and yet we don't trap you into talking to the gym rat who always wants to bend your ear.

We deliver all of this for $10 a month because we can. Our mission is to make exercise available, easy and fun for everyone. Sure, we could charge you $50 a month and perhaps you even might think you're getting something of value. The fact is at $10 a month you're getting new value. New value in the web-based world (pretty soon, bookstores will be hard to find, too).

We've opted to stick to our mission. We're helping regular people fit more fitness into their lives at an affordable price. We're helping people realize each and every little bit of exercise can make a difference. We want you to be more healthy and well. And, we're working to make it possible.