Health // July 15, 2013

This story was originally published on BalancedStrength.com 

Regardless of fitness level, everybody needs help as they embark upon their next level, in order to prevent injury, promote enthusiasm, and ensure continued fitness gains. Seeking the guidance of a qualified professional health and fitness coach is advised, whenever changes are being made to an already- or non-existing fitness regimen.

In researching, then selecting, the most appropriate fitness and wellness coach, there are several points to consider:

1. What degree(s) and/or certifications does this coach carry, and are they current? A gym rat and sexy genetic map translated into physical “perfection” does not make a qualified fitness instructor. Minimally, a qualified instructor should be licensed by a nationally recognized organization.

2. Do you have any chronic conditions or pain, injuries, or other special needs that a coach will need to consider (even if you think they might not need to) when planning your fitness program? The coach you are considering should have experience and success working with others who have the same needs that you do.

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3. Does the coach offer single “trial” sessions? Finding the right coach and trainer is like finding the right therapist. Do not allow yourself to be persuaded into buying large packages before you have been able to meet and “sample” (does not imply free) the coach’s services.

4. Will the coach be able to create a fitness program that is considerate of your other daily commitments, such as work and children, and the time that you have allocated to working out? Having a coach who can customize programs for clients includes customization based on goals and schedule.

5. Does the coach have the right personality attributes that will ensure your success? If the coach has personality traits that invoke negative feelings, guilt, or frustration, you may not continue your fitness journey.

The coach who meets most, if not all of the above (and some of your own) criteria, will be the most appropriate person to coach you toward successfully meeting then exceeding your fitness and well-being goals.


Published in Health

September 26, 2012

Hands down, Albert “Chalky” White is my favorite character on Boardwalk Empire. Partly because he's portrayed by the brilliant Michael K. Williams, but mostly because he’s a hardened and illiterate black man living in the 1920’s, yet he’s still able to command the respect of bootleggers and politicians looking to smuggle booze in Atlantic City.  After Chalky was absent in the premiere episode I all but had a tantrum, but thankfully the television gods answer prayers. For once he had plenty of screen time on the latest episode, “Spaghetti and Coffee.“

There are lots of rich characters on Boardwalk, so it’s hard to be too mad at the writers for occasionally keeping a few out of each episode -- but Chalky should never be one of them.  Last season when we learned he couldn’t read, I became obsessed with finding out how this man managed to become the leader of Atlantic City’s black community.  It’s not much of a leap to assume that a violent streak helped Chalky gain his name but it also doesn’t hurt that he’s married to the wealthy, educated, and fair-skinned Lenore (Natalie Wachen). Themes of class and skin color are bound to be explored even more this season with the addition of Samuel, the soon-to-be doctor and suitor of Chalky’s oldest daughter, Maybelle (Christina Jackson). Played by the easy-on-the-eye Ty Michael Robinson, Samuel musters the courage to ask Chalky for Maybelle’s hand in marriage (even after this compelling season two scene).  Following an awkward, quasi-medical exam, Chalky welcomes Samuel to the family, but we find out later Maybelle wants no part of the marriage.

Apparently, young women loved bad-boys in the 1920s too. Not wanting to marry a dude because he’s a bore is one thing but not wanting to marry a dude because he’s not an exciting, murderous criminal like your pops is a whole other scenario I wasn’t expecting. It seems a bit far-fetched considering Maybelle’s background, but I’ll believe anything to see more of Chalky White. Maybelle quickly gets to find out if the gangster lifestyle is for her, though, when Samuel’s face is sliced up (now he’ll have a scar just like Chalky!) by a drunk man at her daddy’s juke joint.  I’m hoping the scare will get Maybelle to smarten up, but anyone who’s brave enough to stand up to Chalky White (she has no problem telling her father she doesn’t want to marry Samuel) might not be that easy to shake.

“Spaghetti and Coffee” also saw the return of Nucky’s younger brother, Eli (Shea Whigham). It’s hard to feel sorry for him ever since he conspired to have his only brother killed, but this episode exposes us to a different side of Elias Thompson.   It was tough watching him attempt to convince his oldest boy to quit work and return to school now that he’s back home.  To make matters worse, Eli’s been relegated to work for the idiotic Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks).

Elsewhere in Atlantic City, Margaret is moving forward with her plan to provide women at St.Theresa's Hospital with proper preventive care. While she’s crusading for women, standing up to a very handsome Dr. Mason (Patrick Kennedy), and pretending not to want to jump Owen Slater’s (Charlie Cox) bones (am I the only one rooting for these two to hook up again?), her husband is in New York City trying to pay his way out of jail.

Nucky’s also catching feelings for his mistress, Billie, who is everything Margaret is not – free, bold, and charming. He’s so preoccupied with Billie that he’s MIA when Gyp Rosetti manages to intercept the liquor his men are transporting to Arnold Rothstein – a power play that will likely push Nucky to want him dead.  Surprisingly, there was no bloodshed in this episode, but that’s probably because Richard Harrow, hot-headed Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano were missing. There was no Gillian or Agent Nelson Van Alden either.

Boardwalk Empire isn’t terrible when a supporting cast member is absent, but there has got to be a way to knit all of these storylines together in a single episode. These characters are too good to completely leave out. Now that Gyp’s proven to be a worthy adversary to Nucky, my wish to see all of the best characters in one sitting might come sooner than later. The impending war likely means the Boardwalk body count will rise, leaving even fewer characters to keep track of.  As long as Chalky isn’t one of them, I’ll still be watching. 

Published in Entertainment