Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Depression? Fitness helps!

Plenty of people experience situational depression and anxiety during the 'Happy" Holiday season. Sometimes it is because they are lonely, miss loved ones, or have no loved ones to miss. Whatever the reason, even a brisk walk around the block can make a difference in mood.

Research shows that even ten minutes of vigorous exercise can make a significant difference in your attitude, and significantly relieve situational depression.

So, just pretend I'm chasing you around the block, and you will feel much better!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Start your  day with a brisk morning walk -- a great way to begin any day. I'm not alone in offering this advice: 

Susan Finn, PhD, RD, chair of the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition: "Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together."

When eating that  big holiday meal
 eat slowly, savor every bite! Put down your fork between bites, and really enjoy the flavor.  And don't worry about saying 'No,thanks" when someone offers you a particular part of the meal that may be a "pound packer" for you -- a simple friendly "Wow -- not right now -- I'll get to it" will suffice.

Going to a big holiday dinner?

HAVE A BITE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE -- yes, it will spoil your appetite!
Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive for a holiday feast takes the edge off your appetite, and prevents you from over-eating!  Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. After all, there is  more fat and sugar in most Holiday recipes than is really needed.  You can revise those recipes and no one will notice that they are healthy versions of family favorites. 
You can stick to your fitness plan without being a stick  in the mud.  Of course, the most important things is being thankful.  Gratitude is good for your human fitness.
Remember, I'm YOUR fitness consultant and personal trainer. If you need help getting back in shape after the holidays, I'm here, and I do have room for new clients. :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

70% of College Women feel worse about their bodies after doing THIS...

Studies at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts found that 70% of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women’s magazines. 
<<< that's my real body..if It were on a magazine cover, the picture would be manipulated so that I would appear to have more muscle, bigger breasts, and legs up to my neck! 
A  study published in the journal of Psychology of Men and Masculinity showed that not only did watching prime-time television and music videos appear to make men more uncomfortable with themselves, but that the discomfort led to sexual problems and risky behaviors. 
“People see the same images over and over and start to believe it’s a version of reality,” says Deborah Schooler, one of the researchers. “If those bodies are real and that’s possible, but you can’t attain it, how can you not feel bad about your own body?”

Research indicates that for African-American, Asian-American, and Latina women (and men) increased assimilation into the “white culture” results in higher levels of body dissatisfaction. 
Very few women possess the genetics to naturally produce the ultra-long, thin body type so widely promoted, and when they do, it isn’t usually accompanied by large breasts. Moreover, there are limits to how little body fat a woman can possess and still have normal hormonal functioning. Below a certain level of body fat and dietary fat, a woman’s body cannot produce the estrogen needed for ovulation and menstruation. A woman also develops a higher risk of stress fractures because normal bone breakdown is accelerated in the absence of estrogen, and osteoporosis becomes more likely.
The same thing goes for 6-pack abs and the “ripped” look being promoted to men; the ability to have very defined abdominal muscles is genetically endowed, and the hyper-muscled physique of action figures and male fitness models is impossible to achieve without illegal anabolic steroids. UCLA’s Student Nutrition Action Committee (SNAC) webpage on Body Image and Eating Disorders puts it very succinctly:
“It’s physiologically impossible to gain unlimited pounds of pure, bulging muscle mass while maintaining an ultra-lean, ripped body – even when following the “perfect” training and diet program."
So, what's girl (or guy) to do? Be a fit, healthy and happy YOU.  The real you, the best you, is not a false manipulated image.  You need never strive for a false image of "perfect" -- it doesn't exist. Instead, strive for excellence and authenticity -- two things that you inherently possess and can be made manifest as a result of your own volition -- you can do it -- you can be you. 

I'm both a certified fitness trainer and nationally certified yoga instructor. I'll work with you to bring out your best! 

Special thanks to UCLA and Brown University for information included in this blog post,

Friday, September 4, 2015


"When there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always enough time." - Abdul' Baha

The one thing we have in this life is time, and none of us knows how much. Lives are cut short by accidents, carelessness, crimes of violence, civil wars and sudden death by natural causes.  

Time is precious -- yet, it is also an illusion.  When we have fun, time flies by! When we stand in a long line, time takes forever.  Time heals all wounds, and time after time, we run out of time...or we run our best time ever.

Contemporary research indicates that thinking of others instead of ourselves has a direct effect on our health in general and our heart in specific. This gives us more time to be alive. 
Psychological Science suggests that empathy,  kindness and thinking of others has a stimulating effect on the vagus nerve. 

"The vagus regulates how efficiently heart rate changes with breathing and, in general,
the greater its tone, the higher the heart-rate variability and the lower the risk for cardiovascular disease and other major killers. It may also play a role in regulating glucose levels and immune responses."  Maia Szalavitz,  neuroscience journalist for and co-author of Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential — and Endangered.

Science confirms what all the great spiritual teachers have proclaimed: Let your vision be world embracing rather than confined to your own selves.  Only when you see beyond yourself will you have peace of mind.

A human being devoid of empathy, compassion and kindness is neither fit nor healthy, no matter what shape they sculpt from muscles and tendons. 

All the push-ups, leg lifts and/or isometrics in the world will not compensate for a heart hardened by disregard for humanity. INCREASING IN KINDNESS INCREASES YOUR FITNESS.

Felicia Lawson -
Your Personal Fitness Trainer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues? Let's Have Fun and Stay Fit!

It is easy to procrastinate when Summertime makes us lazy -- we can overeat and let our fitness slide....or we can have lots of fun while staying fit and healthy. 

Stay hydrated of course, and don't go running in the mid-day sun. When it cools down a bit, go for a run with your favorite playlist on your MP3 player -- you'll notice that when one of your favorite up-tempo songs comes on, your energy level pumps right up.   Make sure you freshen up your "mixtape" or "playlist" every couple weeks to make sure it keeps you energized!

Get out of the gym!  If you live near water, go to the beach!  Head for the woods, the fields, anywhere in the great outdoors!  Swimming, boating, dancing, romancing under the moonlight!
There are so many fun things to do in the summertime that keep you healthy and fit both physically and mentally.

Have fun and stay fit!

Felicia Lawson


Monday, July 6, 2015


Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated, and the most common cause is over exertion in hot weather.

As much as you may love your outdoor physical fitness regimen, you must avoid becomeing dehydrated and avoid vigorous physical activities in hot weather.

Either begin your outdoor fitness regimen early in the morning before it gets too hot, or wait until the cool of the evening to go for that run. 

Symptoms of heat stroke can include:
    confusionagitation,  disorientation, the absence of sweating, and coma.
    • Heat stroke is treated by cooling the victim. This is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. Always notify emergency services immediately if heat stroke is suspected.

    • Athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke.

    • Heat stroke is sometimes classified as exertional heat stroke (EHS, which is due to overexertion in hot weather) or non-exertional heat stroke (NEHS, which occurs in climactic extremes and affects the elderly

    Remember, your health may depend upon staying fit, but don't endanger your health by over-exertion in hot weather. 
    Stay safe, stay healthy, stay fit!

    I always enjoy reading your comments and answering your questions.

    Felicia Lawson

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    You Don't Have Time to Excercise? No problem! Try this!

    Okay, you say you just don't have time to excercise, no time to do a workout.  No problem. I'll give you a simple thing you can do anytime and anywhere that will strengthen your abs, improve your posture, and flatten your tummy.

    Here it is: Just pull in your belly button as far in as you can! Imagine you can pull it all the way to your spine..and then HOLD IT....and HOLD long as you can.   You can do this excercise anywhere, anytime...standing in line, riding in an elevator, sitting at a desk, anywhere anytime...and you WILL se results.  Once you get into it, you will find that you DO have time to make yourself feel and look better!

    Try it!

    Any questions?  Get hold of me here, by email, or phone.

    I'm here for you


    Monday, May 25, 2015


    You don't have to be flexible to do yoga, but yoga will make you more flexible, and it is an excellent addition to your fitness routine. Yoga is simple, effective, beneficial and non-competitive.

    Yoga has many incredible benefits
    • Raises heart rate - making it a great fat burning workout
    • Works the muscles fully, but in a low impact way 
    • Increases cognitive function, coordination, and balance
    • Greater flexibility, reduced tension, and stress
    Performing yoga postures regularly offers a number of physical benefits
      • Increased flexibility, 
      • Detoxing the body,
      • toning your muscles.
      • Yoga also is wonderful for relieving stress, and it honestly does help your brain work better,

      Felicia Lawson

      Wednesday, April 29, 2015

      Compulsive Gambling and Exercise -- an important aspect of recovery

      As a fitness expert and coach, I have clients come to me from many lifestyles. Each person is a universe unto themselves, and some of them have special challenges such as anxiety, substance use issues, and or issues related to problem gambling.  

      The term "problem gambling" takes in a broad spectrum from mild and occasional impulse control issues to, at the extreme end of the spectrum, true compulsive or pathological gambling - sometimes referred to as Gambling Addiction.   

      Compulsive Gambling and Anxiety

      Relaxation Exercises Can Relieve the Gambling Urge

              A simple exercise program can release underlying anxiety.

      • Gambling problems are related to other underlying issues such as anxiety, stress, and difficulties with impulse control or substance abuse.
      • Easy-to-apply strategies can end the impulse to gamble, as well as avoid slips and relapses.

      Gambling and anxiety

      Many people gamble as a way of managing anxiety. As they gamble, people often report being separated from their anxious feelings or projecting their feelings of anxiety onto the excitement they feel when they partake in their gambling activity of choice.

      As a result, gambling can work its way into the fabric of their everyday life, and the impulse to gamble can overwhelm the rest of their lives.
      Thus, for many gamblers, reducing anxiety is a prerequisite to making any changes in gambling behavior. Fortunately, there are several techniques that can make a tremendous difference in alleviating anxiety.

      Relaxation exercises, teach people to break the cycle of anxiety. It's best for people to commit to daily practice, even if the exercises don't appear to help at first, because the more people do these exercises, the more positive effect they will have.

      Practice progressive muscle relaxation

       By slowly tensing and relaxing each muscle group in the body, people can teach themselves the difference between a relaxed muscle and a tense one. Once people learn this skill, they will have better body awareness in situations that make them tense. Over time, and with continued practice, they will learn to cope with tension by training their muscles to relax while calming the mind. After all, it is not possible to be tense and relaxed at the same time.

      Someone can get started by setting aside 15 uninterrupted minutes in a quiet, distraction-freel ocation. It may help to dim the lights, or to sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

      The idea is to hold and squeeze each area of the body for 15 seconds (about 10 slow counts), feeling the tension build up. Then release the tension and completely relax, allowing the tension to flow out of that area and away from the body. For every muscle group, the person doing this exercise should take a moment to notice how different it feels when it's tensed compared to when it's relaxed. Repeat the exercise at least once, and as many as three times, before moving on to the next area of the body.

      Try the following sequence:

      • Hands: Squeeze them into fists and then relax.
      • Front of upper arms: Tighten all of the muscles in the front of the upper arm and then release them.
      • Back of upper arms: Tighten all of the muscles in the back of the upper arm and then release them.
      • Shoulders/neck: Raise both shoulders and tense up the neck before dropping both shoulders and releasing the muscles.
      • Forehead: Raise both eyebrows enough to wrinkle the forehead and then lower both eyebrows to relax the forehead.
      • Jaw: Clench then release both the upper and lower jaw.
      • Cheeks: Make a forced smile, then relax it.
      • Abdomen: Tighten the belly and lower back muscles, then relax them.
      • Upper legs: Stiffen and straighten the thigh muscles and then relax them.
      • Lower legs: Tighten the shin muscles by pointing the toes to the ceiling, then relax the feet and muscles.
      • Feet: Curl the toes and tighten the muscles in the bottoms of both feet, then uncurl the toes and relax the muscles.
      As people seek to change their relationship with gambling, they will need to sort out many aspects of their lives, gain new perspectives, and acquire new skills. 

      There are therapists and counselors with expertise in helping people effectively deal with problem gambling.  It is interesting that where gambling is legal, there are fewer problems related to gambling. Experts say the reason is because when gambling is illegal, people are ashamed to come forward and ask for help. When it is legal and socially acceptable, people feel safe in sharing that they would like some help with gambling related problems. This is why gambling related crime goes down when gambling is legal. 

      When you or your treatment provider would like me to create a custom crafted exercise and fitness regimen for you or others, please contact me and we will work together to increase recovery.

      Felicia Lawson

      Portions of today's blog were adapted  from Change Your Gambling, Change Your Lifeby Howard Shaffer, Ph.D., a book published by Harvard Health Publications.

      Wednesday, April 1, 2015


      FACT: Physical activity has been shown to be associated with decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. 
      Physical activity has been consistently shown to be associated with improved physical health, life satisfaction, cognitive functioning, and psychological well-being. 
      Exercise compares favorably to antidepressant medications as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression and has also been shown to improve depressive symptoms when used as an adjunct to medications. While not as extensively studied, exercise has been shown to be an effective and cost-efficient treatment alternative for a variety of anxiety disorders. 
      For your personal activity plan, custom crafted just for you, call or email me.
      Initial free consultation.
      Eager to hear from you,
      Felicia Lawson

      Tuesday, March 24, 2015


      Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. Some studies show that exercise can work quickly to elevate depressed mood in many people. Although the effects may be temporary, they demonstrate that a brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.

      Science has also provided some evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.

      Read all about it: Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, by Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2011)

      Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress

      If you have an exercise program already, keep up the good work. If not, here are tips to get you started.
      • 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
      • Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It's better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.  
      • Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
      • Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
      • Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It's often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
      • Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.

      Thursday, March 19, 2015

      Physical Fitness Keeps your Brain Young

      The American Heart Association presented results of new research suggesting that people with poor physical fitness in their 40s may undergo accelerated brain aging.

      Yes, poor fitness may lead to lower brain volumes by the time a person reaches age 60. don't want a brain that's down a quart!

      “Many people don’t start worrying about their brain health until later in life, but this study provides more evidence that certain behaviors and risk factors in midlife may have consequences for brain aging later on,” said Nicole L. Spartano, Ph.D., lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston University School of Medicine.

      In the longitudinal study, researchers reviewed and then updated data taken from a group of individuals who have been followed for over three decades.

      The study group included a subset of 1,271 participants from the Framingham Offspring Study who had participated in exercise treadmill testing in the 1970s, when their average age was 41.

      Starting in 1999, when their average age was 60, they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of their brains as well as cognitive tests.

      The participants did not have heart disease or cognitive problems at the beginning of the study, and none were taking medication that alters heart rate.

      In individuals with low fitness levels, the blood pressure and heart rate responses to low levels of exercise are often much higher than in individuals with better fitness.
      “Small blood vessels in the brain are vulnerable to changes in blood pressure and can be damaged by these fluctuations,” Spartano said.

      “Vascular damage in the brain can contribute to structural changes in the brain and cognitive losses. In our investigation we wanted to determine whether exaggerated blood pressure fluctuations during exercise were related to later structural changes in the brain.”
      The researchers found:
      • People who had a lower fitness level or greater increase in diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) or heart rate a few minutes into the low-intensity treadmill test (2.5 miles an hour) had smaller brain tissue volume later in life;
      • People who had a larger increase in diastolic blood pressure during low-intensity exercise also performed more poorly on a cognitive test for decision-making function later in life.
      Apparently the best way to not  lose your marbles later in life is to keep fit and healthy with exercise.

      Stay fit,

      Felicia Lawson

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015


      Withdrawal from opiates can be more dangerous than using them.

      I strongly suggest a supervised medical detox such as that offered by the Waismann Method 

      Laughter also produces endorphins, as does sex. Laughing at your partner, instead of with your partner can cause depression which requires more exercise. 

      Exercise is great not only for withdrawal  but for depression, insomnia, lack of appetite, and feelings of helplessness.

      "Fitness is not only popular, but is good way of producing endorphins and fighting depression. The endorphins can block feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and can treat some symptoms of depression, such as insomnia and lack of appetite. In addition, those suffering from depression will feel better about themselves knowing that they are accomplishing something good for them and are taking an active role in their treatment."

      If you are taking opiates now, make yourself exercise. Start out as much as you can and build towards a longer, vigorous exercise. It will be the best thing you can do for your body. Even if all you can do now is a short walk, that's fine, it's a start and if you continue forcing yourself to exercise you will get into great shape.

      Today, there are opiate cleansing methods that are safe and devoid of the dangers associated with non-medically assisted detox.  For more information on the Waismann Method of rapid detox,
      call (310) 773-5385.

      YOUR PERSONAL FITNESS PLAN ~ I'll work out a plan that fits your budget.  I also offer fitness programs for inpatient and outpatient treatment programs
      No matter where you are in the USA, I can consult you and help you. 

      Friday, February 13, 2015


      An important new medical study, based on an analysis of more than 200 pieces of research, found that regular physical activity was more beneficial than many drugs in treating or preventing breast cancer, dementia, strokes, heart disease and type II diabetis.

      The study concluded that exercise could reduce the risk of breast cancer by 25%, bowel cancer by 45%, dementia by as much as 30%, a stroke by up to 30% and the chance of developing heart disease could be cut by more than 40%

      Professor Dame Sue Bailey, chair of the Academy of Medical
      Royal Colleges, which commissioned the report, said:
      There really is a miracle cure staring us in the face..."  
      She is referring to 20-30 minutes of "low-level" (not extreme) fun simple exercise five times a week -- exercise such as a brisk walk, bicycle ride, dancing or even sex (but not while riding a bike) can actually save your life, prolong your life, and help guard you from life threatening diseases.
      You don't need to join an expensive gym or invest in pricey equipment.  In fact, I will gladly help you put together a fun and easy exercise plan that is perfect for you.
      One of the great things about the Internet is that I can work with you and for you no matter where you are in the world. 
      If you are right here in the Los Angeles area,  I will work with you in person on a schedule that fits your lifestyle and budget.  
       "Felicia Lawson's dedication to her clients makes her a California favorite"  -- TCU Review 9/2014

      Writers in Treatment