Ask most people what it takes to achieve their ideal body and optimal health and they would tell you that you must exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. However, I am here to tell you that is only part of the story. Many people think that as long as you are doing some type of regular cardiovascular exercise and trying to watch what you eat that you are doing all you need to do.

I would challenge you to look closely at these people, and I would bet that many of them are NOT at their ideal body composition and nowhere near optimal health.

Now, with that said I want to give these peeps their props for doing what they do. After all, in today’s world anyone who is doing regular cardio and trying to improve their eating habits is way ahead of most folks who, unfortunately, are doing little to nothing about their health besides watching it fail and then expecting a pill or procedure to fix them.

However, my point is that the aforementioned health-conscious-eating/cardio-doers are leaving out a very important piece of the fitness puzzle and, consequently, they are making it much harder than it needs to be. In fact, without this missing ingredient weight loss is hugely impaired and total physical fitness impossible.

You see, ideal body weight is not as important as body composition. Body composition is the ratio of body fat to fat-free (lean) mass in an individual. In other words, the amount of fat compared to bones, muscle, organs, etc. It is possible for people to be at an acceptable weight according to height/weight charts but still be overly fat.

While it is true that cardiovascular exercise helps you to lose body fat, it does nothing to improve your muscular strength and endurance. So, along with your weight you need to be even more concerned with your body fat percentage.


  • Our resting metabolism decreases approximately two to five percent every decade after 25 years of age? Consequently, our resting metabolism decreases approximately one-half percent every year.
  • Every year after the age of 25, the average American gains one pound of body weight, yet loses one-third to one-half pound of muscle?
  • Mix that cruel fact with gravity and an unhealthy lifestyle and it is easy to see why the scales go up and the body parts sag as we get older.
  • Weight loss and weight control or maintenance is next to impossible without strength training, especially as we age. Without this key ingredient, your recipe for improved health and fitness will be incomplete and your longevity and quality of life will suffer, especially as you age. You simply cannot be totally fit without it no matter what age or gender.
  • One pound of muscle burns about two to three times more calories a day than one pound of fat.
  • The more toned and conditioned muscle a body has, the higher the metabolism and the more calories are burned even at rest.
This means if we are not happy with our present appearance, level of fitness, weight, or strength level, we CAN strength train and change it. Now that truly does spell good news brothers and sisters!! Still wondering why strength training is so important? I thought not.

So no more excuses! Get busy! Make the time and begin your cardio, strength training, and improved nutrition plan today. There is no time like the present to begin to look and feel better. Take control of your life by making healthy lifestyle changes that will change much more than your appearance.

Happiness is an inside job. It’s a choice. However, it is very hard to be happy when you feel like hell. It’s time to take responsibility for your own health and begin making choices that will pay off in ways that will reward you beyond merely reaching your ideal body weight.

When you are healthy, you feel good, body, mind and spirit. And when you feel good, body, mind, and spirit, you are thriving. I believe that’s what we are meant to do. Not suffer through existence in a self-induced sick body, but joyously thrive in the healthy and fit bodies that are our birthright.

If you need a boost getting started or just want to make sure you are doing things correctly, safely, and hence, more effectively, please don't hesitate to contact me. Just mention The Straightforward Fitness Flash discount and I will give you 10% off the price of any package of personal training! It could be the very thing you need to finally achieve your fitness goals!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

Try this exercise that will frame your body with beautifully defined shoulders to die for!

Prone Rear Delt Raise
Primary Muscle Group Worked:

To see a video of this exercise go to: Prone Rear Delt Raise Video

Preparation: While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lay with your chest down on a slightly inclined (around 15 degrees when measured from the floor) adjustable bench. Position the palms of the hands in a neutral manner (palms facing your torso) as you keep the arms extended with the elbows slightly bent. This is the starting position.

Execution: Now raise the arms to the side until your elbows are at shoulder height and your arms are roughly parallel to the floor as you exhale. Remember: Maintain your arms perpendicular to the torso while keeping them extended throughout the movement. Also, keep the contraction at the top for a second. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position as you inhale. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: You can perform this exercise with just one arm and also keeping the palms of the hands facing back as opposed to facing your torso.

HEREIN LIES THE CHALLENGE: Keep your form strict! No cheating on this exercise.

TIP: Avoid bending and straightening your elbows. Keep a slight bend LOCKED into your elbows throughout the exercise. Pause and squeeze at the top. Avoid letting gravity lower the dumbbells. Instead, resist gravity and get the most out of the entire exercise by not only pausing at the top but also by letting the weight down more slowly than when you raised it.

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This month's video is one that will make you analyze your life and ask yourself what you can do to be a little less selfish and more serving to others. If everyone could do a teentsy fraction of what this angel on earth does, the world would be a completely different place. I challenge you (as well as myself) to think hard about what you can do to help someone less fortunate. Any random act of kindness will do. Something tells me the reward would be much greater for the giver than the givee.

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about Straightforwardfitness.com where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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