Sunday, December 30, 2012

new health

Well, I've got a new reason for blogging. I'm making a change. A complete lifestyle change.

Let me rewind a little...

Remember a couple weeks back when I posted about going to this chiropractor with my mom? Turns out this guy is changing my whole life!

He is not just a chiropractor, he is a Maximized Living doctor. And without going into loads of detail about what that is, just check it out for yourself at http://maximizedliving.com/

I will warn you ahead of time though, they are different. But different is good! Trust me!

I will also warn you that I've read a few things on the internet that claim Maximized Living clinics are a scam or a cult. I can honestly say I understand why they think that. I myself even thought the same thing on my first couple of visits. But this isn't just a chiropractic clinic. They don't just align your spine, they want to get you better, inside and out. It's a wholistic approach. They teach you how to eat properly to feel your absolute best. And how to exercise to get the best benefit. Unfortunately, for many, it won't be what they want to hear, but it's what you NEED to hear. I believe that 100%. I believe that we are in control of our health and either because of convenience or taste or laziness or lack of caring, or just plain stubbornness, we go through the motions day after day, not caring one iota about what we are doing to our bodies, and we are slowly killing ourselves.

I've just finished two amazing books. They have taught me so much. And I thought I knew just about all there was to know about proper nutrition. I was wrong! My plan was always going to be to eat healthier after the holidays - cut out sweets, more veggies, etc. But I've decided to take it even farther. I'm cutting out sugar completely. That includes anything that turns to sugar like grains and most fruits. I'm detoxing my body and I plan on making the lifestyle change....for good! Knowing how much I will improve myself in so many ways makes me so excited!! I am not caring at all that I don't eat bread. I don't care at all about not eating candy. What I do care about is getting super healthy and preventing debilitating diseases later in life.

We have a crisis in this nation. We are the most unhealthy people and our healthcare isn't helping. We go to the doctor when we have problems and we are prescribed a pill. All that is doing is masking the real problems. If this country would just realize that most of our problems are avoidable simply by making some lifestyle changing, we would all be happier. We would save TONS on healthcare and overall just be happier healthier people.

But it always seems to be that whenever something really promising shows up, people shoot it down because it's different and frankly they just aren't willing to give up their pizza and pop and sugary foods. It would be too much of a sacrifice. They wouldn't enjoy life. But the only thing you are sacrificing is your health. Live how you want - I plan to. But to the naysayers, let's see who's living better, happier, healthier lives. You or me? Come find me a month, 3 months, 6 months from now. I'm going to be the healthiest, happiest and fittest I've ever been. And I owe it all to Maximized Living.

I've only just begun my journey. I'm day two without sugar. Like I said, that means no grains, not even healthy grains like sprouted grain bread or oats. But I jumped into the Advanced Plan. I wanted a total change. A total detoxification. I knew it would be hard. But I embraced it willingly. So far, planning ahead has been my savior. And the food I get to eat is AWESOME! The recipes leave me wanting for nothing! I can eat "bread" that I make completely without flour. I can eat bars and cookies and it's all organic, natural, grain and sugar free. Very few ingredients. Very tasty recipes!

I'm going through BIG time withdrawals though. I knew I would. I was prepared for it. I've had an absolutely excruciating headache for the past 24 hours. And symptoms could last 2 weeks, although I'm guessing my headache will subside in a few days. That's my hope talking. But it's just my body's response to being without sugar. Sugar is like a drug, it's just as addictive and just as bad for you. It may not kill you fast, but it will kill you. I'm taking action now. And I'm cleansing myself from all the nasty, horrible things I used to put into my body. I've stocked up on the proper foods (including specific veggies and meats) and I'm ready for the healing to begin. I know this pain is temporary and necessary. It's a small price to pay for the big return I will get!

One thing I've learned is that we don't get enough healthy fats. And our hormones are so out of whack because of how we're eating, that we are getting fatter and fatter. See, we have become sugar burners, not fat burners. We have to train our bodies to burn fat again. And the only way to do that, is to stop eating sugar. And that includes starchy carbohydrates. I was someone who worked out harder than ANYONE I know....by far! I ate better too. I was so meticulous at one point that I counted every single macronutrient that went into my body for weeks on end, all while working out enough to produce super fat loss, without seeing an iota of change. Of course this left me frustrated and worn out. Why? Why wasn't I seeing any improvement? Well, I was a sugar burner. No amount of exercise was ever going to help me rid myself of the last of the fat. I had very little, but it was enough to be bothersome. I didn't know where to turn. I was burned out. So I gave up. And just as I was feeling about as miserable about myself as I ever have, a miracle happened. My mom asked me to try out this Maximized Living clinic. And do you know what it was? God's answer to my prayers.

I'll be documenting my progress from now on. This is important to me. I've never felt so ready for anything in my life! This was my wake up call. This is part of my purpose. I can't tell you how excited I am for the change. I literally get goose bumps thinking about it! Call me crazy, call me extreme, call me obsessed, call me weird....but you won't be able to call me unhealthy. And my health is important to me for so many reasons.

We all hold our own definition of health. For some, it may be to quit smoking. Others, to exercise 3 days per week. And still others, just not having any aches or pains. But if you are still eating refined, processed unhealthy foods on a daily basis, it doesn't matter if you "feel" fine. You know, you don't usually feel pain until it's too late. Damage done. I'm not going to wait. I'm going proactive. My definition of health used to be consistent exercise (and the "right" kind too) and healthy eating. Now I know that while I was on the right track, it wasn't good enough. So I'm changing it.

I am changing my life for the better. My mind, my body, my health, all of it. 2013 is MY year!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

chiropractors

I went to a chiropractor yesterday. My mom had an appointment (she's trying something new) and they asked her if she knew of anyone who would like a free consultation. Of course she asked me, since I was driving her anyway. I said, sure. Why not.

I seriously dislike getting "adjusted". I've only had to visit a chiropractor at one point in my life. That was many years ago, after I hurt my back shoveling snow. I couldn't bend over for a month. It was scary going there. Having some guy quickly jerk your body every which way wasn't my idea of fun. Anything but relaxing. Especially when he got to my neck. I knew it was coming and I'd tense up. Then he would tell me to relax. Yeah...sure....I'll relax when it doesn't feel like you are about to break my neck! Needless to say, I was more than a little bit apprehensive about my appointment yesterday.   

This office is unlike anything I've seen before. First of all, they are playing Christian music on Pandora and the doctor is walking around singing the songs. He obviously knows them. That in itself isn't all that strange (although with all the sensitivity to anything religious nowadays, you never know who you are going to offend, it's quite ballsy to play Christian music in a public business). The weird thing is this doctor singing Christian songs is tattooed. Big one down his arm. And there are all these books like, "Body By God" and he is apart of some organization called "Maximized Living". It's just not your ordinary doctor's office.

There are two adjustment tables in the back. In an open room, together with a bunch of exercise equipment. So anyone can watch you getting adjusted. There are machines you stand on that bounce you up and down, side to side at a fast vibration and a bunch of chairs with spiky looking balls on them. And traction ropes and pulleys on the walls - whatever that is. I'm just not sure what to think at this point.

I had my consultation. He talked to me and asked me why I was there. I didn't really know what to say because I didn't have back pain. I was basically just there for my mom. But I mentioned that sometimes I don't sleep well and have anxiety. BINGO! He said he could definitely help with that. I was surprised. I never would have thought in a million years that a chiropractor could help with night terrors and panic attacks! He had me stand straight and after looking at me for all of 3 seconds, he could tell that my head juts forward about two inches, I cock my head slightly to the right side and my left hip sticks out more. All this, he could see, even though I was wearing my coat!

Then he had me bend over forwards. I was really tight from working out (I'm always tight). I could barely make it half way. Then I had to bend to the back. He said, "You realize that's not normal, right?" Uh....no? Apparently, I should be able to bend way more. For my age, it's not good. I just assumed I wasn't a flexible person. Also, every time I moved, my neck, shoulders and back would crack. He asked, "Do you always crack like that?" Yep. That's not normal either. Dude, my knees have been cracking like a 90 year old lady's since I was 6. Cracking is just a part of my life.

I also have something weird going on with the right side of my neck. He could feel it right away. Most of my problems are at the base of my skull. And it makes sense since my problems appear to be nerve related. He is positive that once I'm better aligned, I will feel SO much better. I'll sleep better and he is confident that I won't need my axiety meds anymore. He even took xrays so that next time he sees me (on Wednesday) he will have a better idea of what's going on inside.

I have to say, I was surprised at first to realized how messed up I am. But then after we talked and I thought about it, it really does click. I put a lot of strain on my body lifting weights and I never feel 100%. I just thought all the stiffness was due to the weight training. I'm excited to think how much better I could feel. I bet I will be able to take my training to a whole new level!

I didn't have an adjustment. My first one is Wednesday. I'm still nervous but this guy really seems passionate about helping and certainly knows his stuff! He's earned my trust. Now I just need to get my hubby to join me. He needs it pretty bad, I think.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I did it

An entire week {5 days} of getting up early for the gym. I was SO EXCITED to be able to sleep in and have 2 glorious days off training. But, of course I couldn't sleep in longer than 6am. So I'm up. Darn!

My entire body hurts. EVERYTHING except for my face and feet. Right now, the most painful spot is the inside of my elbows from bicep curls two days ago. Gotta love DOMS {delayed onset muscle soreness}. My daughter didn't believe me when I told her that, yeah, you'll be sore the day after a good workout, but the second day after is even worse. She had to do the insanity workout in school gym class and she came to me two days later and said, "OMG! You were right!". Well, of course I was. If there is one thing I know well, it's muscle soreness.

I haven't been super strict with my diet, but I haven't been bad either. I just haven't been craving lately, which I'm thankful for. Usually about this time I'd be baking up a storm and stuffing my face with all kinds of Christmas goodies. And get this, despite having chocolate in the house, I haven't even wanted it. That's virtually unheard of for me! Because when it's in the house, I'll eat it. No self control these days.

I wonder if it has anything to do with SENSA. Have you heard of this stuff? You sprinkle it on your food and eat like you normally would and it's supposed to stop you from craving and overeating. My mom bought the first two months worth of the stuff and she didn't like it. She thought it kept her up at night - although I'm 99% positive the two are completely unrelated to each other. So she gave the rest to me. I have a problem overeating. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I can eat more than my 210 pound husband most days. I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a whirl.

At first, I would forget about it. I would usually only put it on maybe one meal a day. But over time, I've gotten used to it and almost never forget to use it. And by golly, I SWEAR it helps! I am still hungry around the same times, like always, but I don't eat half an animal at dinner and I DON'T CRAVE! It's wonderful! Now, if only it worked on my blossoming wine addiction......

I used to only drink a glass, maybe two, of wine a month. Now, it has become a nightly ritual. Every night at dinner. I'm not freaking out about it because I know it's actually good for you. And it just makes me feel so dang good! I've been more relaxed than ever!

So strange how we change. I am such a different person than I was a year ago. So very different. For the better, I'd like to think ;)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

4 days so far

Well, today was my FOURTH consecutive day of getting up at 5:00am to get to the gym and back by the time the kids get up for school. This is nothing short of a miracle for me. It's never happened before. Not even once. Ever. Actually, Monday I got up at 5:30 and I've been up at 5:00 every day since. That sort of happened on accident, and I just like it better because I have time to eat something before I go.

Today, I'm dragging. Not gonna lie. It's not the actual getting up or working out that is the hard part. But the sheer exhaustion later in the day is what gets me. Today, I could feel that my sleep has been cut a bit, so I laid down for an hour and a half after everyone left for the day. Yesterday, I had to stop working for a while in the afternoon to lay on the couch for a half an hour. That is SO NOT like me!

But my friend, Kristy, assures me that my body will get used to it (if I choose to continue). She gets up at 3:00am M-F!!! I just don't know how she does it. But I hope I can stick to it and my body adjusts because I REALLY like getting it done that early and knowing that I have the entire day to work. Because I love my work so very much! I literally can't sleep some nights because I'm excited for the next day to arrive so I can work some more. I kid you not. I love it THAT much! I'm so very lucky!!! Making money of my own for the first time in about 9 years feels amazing!! I feel like I'm actually contributing to society and to this family. I'm so much more fulfilled and satisfied these days.

So anyway, just thought I'd update you on my progress with the early mornings. The only one who isn't liking it so much is my mom. Because she doesn't like to get up early. And she won't go to the gym without me. So I kind of feel guilty. But I have to think about what's good for me too. Can't please everyone, might as well please myself ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Something new

Yep, I tried something new today. I actually set my alarm, got up at 5:30 to go to the gym and was back before the family was out of bed. I have to admit, it wasn't hard to get up. I usually don't have a problem waking up in the morning. I used to, but having had a child to be up with for the past 15 years of my life has turned me into a morning person. So it wasn't the actual getting out of bed part that had me concerned - but the excessive movement...haha.

Well, I was wide awake. I got to the gym and did my thing like usual. It was no different. Although there were quite a lot of people there. I was surprised and I wasn't. I figured there would be a lot of people who liked to get their workout in before work, but I didn't count on THAT many.

I didn't eat before I went but I figured my workout would suffer if I didn't have something. So I had a protein shake before. And one right after. I did get really tired about 40 minutes in and quit at 45 minutes. I think it will be something that I have to get used to. I had an egg and half a bagel and a clementine when I got home. I was a little shaky. I could feel that I needed food but didn't feel hungry. It was hard to eat.

Then, I got extremely tired. After the kids were all fed and dressed, I layed down on the couch. I probably could have taken a nap! But, I walked the kids and Lizzy to school. Then came back and showered. I'm sitting here, ready to work, dressed, hair done, make up on, ready for the day at 8:30!

This is a first EVER. Trust me. And it feels great!

Going to have a healthy lunch with another health conscious friend today. It's nice to hang out with someone who doesn't want to stuff their gullet with burgers and fries. And I'll be busy busy busy working today. As always. I love it! I'm so happy these days.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

fasted cardio

How many of you do fasted cardio? How many of you do it because you've read that it burns MORE fat?

I have done fasted cardio in the past. I bought into a program that assured me it would burn up to 300% more fat to do my cardio in a fasted state - or, first thing in the morning.

Well, you better believe I jumped on that bandwagon! Even though I hated it. I don't particularily care for cardio. And I really don't enjoy it on an empty stomach. But I tried it. And never saw any measurable results from it.

I had read yet another book that suggested not only should I do cardio fasted, but that I should even do my weight training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach! This seemed incredibly absurd to me. How could anyone train heavy without eating first?? Well, I tried that too. Once. And I didn't even make it through the whole session.

Fasted cardio was supposed to be such a great way to burn fat. It was thought that because you don't have carbs readily available to burn, your body would take energy strictly from fat stores. Not the case, according to an article on Bodybuilding.com.

Not only do the benefits of eating before training out weigh the so-called benefits of fasting, the logic of cardio done in a fasted state seems flawed. Many factors determine which fuel stores the body will tap into at any given time. It's not simply one source or the other.

As far as studies go, research has suggested that unless you are planning to do cardio for an hour and a half, your fat loss will be no greater on an empty stomach than a fed one.

From an exercise perspective, it's far better to eat before workouts. If you try to do high intesity exercise on an empty stomach, your performance will suffer. And if your goal is muscle growth, eating is especially important. Fasting just sets you up for muscle loss.

I eat when I get up in the morning so I get my metabolism fired up right away. And an hour later, I hit the gym. In fact, I eat breakfast, then I drink a protein shake on the way to the gym and have another one immediately following my workout. And I have tons of energy to make it through my workouts.

Friday, November 2, 2012

what's for lunch?


I had a great idea for lunch today and wanted to share it with you. How many of you like a creamy sauce (like hollandaise) to go with your asparagus? Well, I decided it would probably taste just as good to throw a couple of eggs over the asparagus instead, and you know what? It was great! A lot healthier too. So that was my lunch today. And a pear.

Diet so far today:

Upon waking: green tea
Breakfast: 1/2 avocado
Pre Workout: protein drink
Post Workout: protein drink
Lunch: see above

Not sure what I'll have for snack today, Greek yogurt maybe? And I have a chicken slow roasting for dinner tonight. I love how it makes the house smell! What are you eating today?

And how many of you succumbed to Halloween candy? We did good this year. We bought the kind of candy that I can stay out of (suckers, bubble gum, taffy, etc). No chocolate! And the girls didn't get the usual insane amount trick-or-treating, just a small bag each. Hanna was part of my spooky decor so she didn't bring any candy home. I'm thankful for that! I've been turning into a chocolate eating zombie every day around 2-3 o'clock and it needs to stop! haha...

Friday, October 26, 2012

5 ways to get stronger WITHOUT lifting weights. (you heard me)

5 ways to get stronger WITHOUT lifting weights. (you heard me)

Consider the pullup: It's the standard by which all body-weight exercises are measured. And even the most hard-core lifters will agree that there's no better muscle builder for the upper body—with or without weights. The reason for its effectiveness: It takes full advantage of the scientific laws of motion and leverage, placing your body in a position that forces your back and arms to lift your entire body weight. Call it applied science at its finest.

Now imagine if all body-weight exercises were as challenging as the pullup. You'd be able to build muscle anywhere, anytime—at home, on the road, or even in a public park. Physical science makes it possible. So with that said...the Five Laws of Body-Weight Training.

1) The Longer Your Body, The Weaker You Become


The science: By increasing the distance between the point of force (your target muscles) and the end of the object you're trying to lift (your body), you decrease your mechanical advantage. Think of it this way: An empty barbell is easy to lift off the floor if you grab it in the middle. But try moving a few inches in one direction and it instantly seems heavier—even though its weight hasn't changed. The same is true of your body: Lengthen it and every exercise you do becomes harder.



Apply it: Raise your hands above your head—so your arms are straight and in line with your body—during a lunge, squat, crunch, or situp. If that's too hard, split the distance by placing your hands behind your head.

2) The Farther You Move, The More Muscle You Work


The science: In physics, "mechanical work" is equal to force (or weight) times distance. And since your muscles and bones function together as simple machines—they form class 1, 2, and 3 levers—the same formula applies to your body. It's the most basic of principles: Do more work, build more muscle. Of course, in a weight-free workout, you can't increase force (unless you gain weight). But you can boost your work output by moving a greater distance during each repetition.

Apply it: Each of the following three methods increases the distance your body has to travel from start to finish, increasing not only the total amount of work you do, but also the amount of work you do in the most challenging portion of the exercise.

Hard: Move the floor farther away. For many body-weight exercises—lunges, pushups, situps—your range of motion ends at the floor. The solution: Try placing your front or back foot on a step when doing lunges; position your hands on books or your feet on a chair when doing pushups; and place a rolled-up towel under the arch in your lower back when doing situps.

Harder: Add on a quarter. From the starting position of a pushup, squat, or lunge, lower yourself into the down position. But instead of pushing your body all the way up, raise it only a quarter of the way. Then lower yourself again before pushing your body all the way up. That counts as one repetition.

Hardest: Try mini-repetitions. Instead of pushing your body all the way up from the down position, do five smaller reps in which you raise and lower your body about an inch each time. After the fifth mini-repetition, push yourself up till your arms are straight. That counts as one repetition.

3) As Elastic Energy Decreases, Muscle Involvement Increases


The science: When you lower your body during any exercise, you build up "elastic energy" in your muscles. Just like in a coiled spring, that elasticity allows you to "bounce" back to the starting position, reducing the work your muscles have to do. Eliminate the bounce and you'll force your body to recruit more muscle fibers to get you moving again. How? Pause for 4 seconds in the down position of an exercise. That's the amount of time it takes to discharge all the elastic energy of a muscle.

Apply it: Use the 4-second pause in any exercise. And give yourself an extra challenge by adding an explosive component, forcefully pushing your body off the floor—into the air as high as you can—during a pushup, lunge, or squat. Because you're generating maximum force without any help from elastic energy, you'll activate the greatest number of muscle fibers possible.

4) Moving in Two Directions is Better Than Moving in One


The science: Human movement occurs on three different geometric planes:
1. The sagittal plane, for front-to-back and up-and-down movements
2. The frontal plane, for side-to-side movements
3. The transverse plane, for rotational movements

Most weight-lifting movements—the bench press, squat, curl, lunge, and chinup, to name a few—are performed on the sagittal plane; the balance of exercises—for instance, the lateral lunge and side bend—occur almost entirely on the frontal plane. This means that most men rarely train their bodies on the transverse plane, despite using rotation constantly in everyday life, as well as in every sport.

Case in point: walking. It's subtle, but your hips rotate with every step; in fact, watch a sprinter from behind and you'll see that his hips rotate almost 90 degrees. By adding a rotational component to any exercise, you'll automatically work more muscle—since you'll fully engage your core, as well as the original target muscles—and simultaneously build a better-performing body.

Apply it: Simply twist your torso to the right or left in exercises such as the lunge, situp, and pushup. You can also rotate your hips during movements such as the reverse crunch.

5) The Less Contact Your Body Has With the Floor, the More Your Muscles Must Compensate


The science: The smaller the percentage of an object's surface area that's touching a solid base, the less stable that object is. That's why SUVs are prone to rolling, and tall transmission towers need guy wires. Fortunately, humans have a built-in stabilization system: muscles. And by forcing that internal support system to kick in—by making your body less stable—you'll make any exercise harder, while activating dozens more muscles.

Apply it: Hold one foot in the air during virtually any exercise, including pushups, squats, and deadlifts. You can also do pushups on your fingertips or your fists.

CREDIT: Men's Health online http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/body_weight_exercises/

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

yes

The more I read this, the more I realize how true it is. I'm changing. Every year I evolve. Last year's goals are not this year's goals. Right now, I'm not so focused on every flaw I have or how I'm not this or that. Instead, I'm trying to focus on being happy. I just want to be happy.

I watched a video Jamie Eason posted on FB a few weeks ago when she was having a bad day. She was sad because her husband lost a job because of some racey pictures she had taken in her past. She is the same age as me. She has a phenomenal body. She has always inspired and motivated me. But recently she got me thinking. She said that even though she had a great body, was getting on the covers of all kinds of magazines and sounded like she had it all - she wasn't happy. I'm not sure why she wasn't happy, only that she said she wasn't. And I've heard this story time and time again from models and other seemingly "perfect" people who are unhappy. I started to think maybe it was time to stop stressing over trying to obtain MY "perfect" body and start LIVING with the one I have! Because aging is inevitable. One day, I will look back on these days and wish I had the body I have now. It makes me think....

And what will I really have accomplished if I achieve the body of my dreams?
 
 And to give you an example, Dana Linn Bailey is pretty much my dream body.
She is SMOKIN' hot!!
I've watched some of her training videos and she really is awesome.


Sure, I would be super ecstatic if I had a body like hers. BUT, what would I use it for? I mean, I'm not going to be in the fitness industry. I'm not going to try and get on magazine covers or win figure competitions. So WHY why why why why is it important? And the answer is....it just isn't. I'm far happier when I can enjoy dessert with my family once in a while. When I don't have to stress about making sure I'm swallowing all the right supplements, getting my macros just right, eating enough protein and timing my meals just right, bringing food with me everywhere I go. All so that I can try to achieve a body that will ultimately do absolutely NOTHING for me except probably give me an ego boost. I think if I keep my focus a little more chill about my body, and just eat and exercise for health, I will be the most happy.

That one little saying made an impact. "sometimes the things we can't change end up changing us"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

how to shape up that butt

 
"I like big butts and I cannot lie...."
 
Well, I do. Not BIG butts. Not FAT butts. Nice round, muscular butts.
This is one of the reasons I use strength training as the main focus of my workouts. Because, while any and all forms of exercise are good for your health, not all are going to help you get a but like this:
 
In fact, some workouts get you a butt like this:
 
 
It's funny to me how a company trying to sell fitness clothing would choose a model with a saggy flat butt to show off their gear!
 
I'm on a little butt kick today because I got a HUGE compliment yesterday. I asked my husband to tell me what he liked best about me and he said my sense of humor and my butt! I never expected that in a million years! Sense of humor, yes. Butt, no. So I thought that made me "qualified" to share my butt shaping tips with y'all ;)
 
Look at this picture:
 
 
skinny and flat
YUK!
 
So, how do we avoid the flat saggy butt? Here are some suggestions:
1) Take it easy on the cardio. It does nothing to help the flat and saggy issue.
2) Stop sitting so much
3) We all know that squats and lunges help our butts. But many of you (like me) have done more than your fair share of squats and lunges over the years. Your body needs change from the same old same old. Try these VERY helpful variations:
 
All of the following are included in my arsenal of butt shaping exercises
  • single leg squats - hold onto a chair if you're a beginner
  • bridge butt lifts - I do tons of these (single leg it if you can and use a ball!)
  • step ups - the key here is to only use your front or stepping foot. Don't push yourself up with the foot that remains on the floor.
  • split squat/single leg static lunge
  • single leg bent knee touch downs
  • get on the treadmill at MAX incline and walk. GREAT butt exercise.
  •  
Remember, you don't even need weights to do these movements. But don't just go through the motions. Use SLOW and CONTROLLED movements so you feel the burn. It can be just as hard as using heavy weight!
 
4) Drink a whey protein shake with BCAAs and creatine after your workouts. This will help you build your butt. You can't be in "diet" mode.
 
 

 
Don't go for skinny. Go for muscular and strong. Which do you think you're husband would prefer?
 

 
 




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

happy happy joy joy

I don't know if this is a fluke, but I'm gaining weight!!!!!

It can't be a fluke though because I am in the leanest part of my female cycle right now. Meaning, I'm not bloated, holding onto water, etc. My stomach is nice and flat, I don't feel blubbery, and strangely, I am still able to fit in my size 2 skinnies. Which can only mean that I'm gaining MUSCLE!!

I can't tell you how excited I am, but I'm sure you can probably guess. I don't remember the last time I weighed myself. It's been a looooong time. I got so frustrated seeing 112 all the time, no matter how much I eat, that I just gave up. So on a whim, I decided to just check it out. I'm up to 117lbs!! Up 5 pounds! Woot!

My new training schedule and workouts have definitely busted my plateau! Thanks Jimmy! Although I haven't been following the macro nutrient rotation very closely (this is always my biggest problem) it seems as though I'm doing just fine.

Today, my mom AND my niece are going to the gym with me today. It's always so much more fun to workout with someone. Not that we workout together, per se, just that we are all there at the same time. It's like silent support, if that makes any sense. Oh, and I have to tell you, Chelsea lost 2 pounds last week!!! I'm SO stinkin' proud of her! And she was excited about going to the gym again, which made me totally happy. I hope she joins.

Things are DEFINITELY going good here!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cellulite

 
This is not a picture of me. But I feel it closely resembles me because the girl in this picture is "skinny fat". She is obviously small, and I bet she looks great in skinny jeans (other than having no butt), but at the beach, she's a hot mess! This is probably the result of cardio and dieting.

I, too, feel like a hot mess at times. I don't like my legs. I have big hips and skinny legs. I've got what are affectionately referred to as "good birthin' hips". HAHA.....haha.....ha....eh

And, of course, like 99% of women on the planet, I have cellulite. So I was looking for inspiration. I found a little here: http://www.sherunswild.com/2011/05/these-legs-were-made-for-running.html#!/2011/05/these-legs-were-made-for-running.html It was about how even the most in shape people have cellulite.

And from there, I went here: http://www.mile-posts.com/2011/05/my-thighs-rub.html
I shared this link yesterday, about the woman with 3 kids who has run 20 marathons. She says even after all that running, she still has cellulite. But she doesn't care. Her attitude is very inspiring.

Hats off to the dedicated ones who are running with cellulite concealed beneath their under armour running tights, and not caring one single bit.

My problem is that I DO care. If that makes me superficial or vain or whatever the word - so be it. It bugs me more than ANYTHING in the world - having cellulite. I hate it and I want to get rid of it. It's always been my goal to shape my legs so as to make cellulite less noticeable. After running and dieting all those years ago, and just ending up looking worse, I started training with weights in hopes of building muscle that would push up against my skin and iron out the lumps. But, as you all are well aware, I don't gain anything very easily.

My mom is forever trying to convince me to give up. "Genetics just aren't on your side with this one." I'm destined to be lumpy, no matter what I do. Her doctor even gave HER this same advice. Well, I call BS on that one. I don't care what some doctor told her 30 years ago. I don't believe it. I think there is something that can be done. A lot of hard work in the weight room and enormous control in the kitchen. I believe if I can get myself to consistently stay on track with those two things, I will win.

What do you think? Can it be done? Especially when one has such a hard time gaining muscle?


And on a totally unrelated note...

I really like these sarcastic cards on someecards.com. Here's one of my favorites, since it applies to me so well...lol:

 
and here is one of my own creations. Haha....
I'm sure this is how a lot of people feel.


someecards.com -

Monday, October 8, 2012

I want something better...

Why don't I do this?

 
 
Because it will NOT get me this ...


 
 
 
Dana Linn Bailey...
This chick is bad ass!
I love her.
She is MY inspiration.
 
Check out this video
 
 
And, in my effort to be fair, here's some inspiration for you runners
 
 



You can find her blog here: http://www.mile-posts.com/2011/05/my-thighs-rub.html

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is this goodbye?

I don't like where this blog is going.

Somewhere along the way, I've started paying more attention to my fitness blog than my family blog (which is the first blog I started many years ago - back in 2008, I think). And, even though I feel like I have a lot to say, I don't think that much of it is anything you want to hear. Mostly, I rant about what happens to be on my mind at the moment and it usually isn't very insightful or helpful. At the time I'm writing it, my hope is that somewhere out there is a faceless, anonymous person I am helping somehow. But the truth is, I don't have much of a following.

At first, I was ok with this. Because for the most part, I was just journaling my progress and adventure into fitness. With the hopes of inspiring people along the way. But I don't think I've made enough progress to be inspiring. And so it just seems that I spew a lot of the same information over and over again.

Now that I'm busier and actually have a career that I am trying to grow, I have less time to blog about my thoughts on fitness endeavors. It seems almost frivolous. It's not that I've lost interest in fitness or improving my body or helping others - it's not that at all. I just feel that I need to start investing that time to other things that will ultimately be of more value to my whole family vs. just myself.

Plus, as I said, I don't like the direction I'm taking with this blog. I've looked back on some of my more recent posts and I feel they cast a negative shadow, and I don't want that. I don't want readers to think I'm a negative person in general. Because I'm not. I definitely have my days where I might be feeling a bit sorry for myself or when I'm on a rant. But that isn't who I am. And I find myself going down that road too often anymore.

So, that being said, I think I'm done. I know I said before that the posts would probably slow down, and they really haven't. But I haven't come up with any good topics or content in a while. And that is probably an indication that I need to focus on other things.

I will miss it. And I will miss the few comments I get. And I'm sure I'll be back to rant. Whether anyone reads or not. It's a good outlet for my frustrations and thoughts. Sometimes, my mind is just so FULL that I need to get some OUT, so I feel like I can relax. Do you ever get that way? I mean, I have so many thoughts that at times it's hard to fall asleep at night! I lay there and think....for hours! I don't know why I do that! But journaling helps get things off my mind. I really need to just start making daily "to do" lists. Because most of my thoughts are of the many things I want/need to get done. There is always so much....

I will still be thinking of you. Especially my main commentor (I'm always wondering how you are doing, Amanda). You were always my biggest source of motivation and a huge support when it seemed like no one else cared. It has meant so much to me that someone half way around the world who doesn't even know me can be so there for me when I need it the most. I hope we can keep in touch! Stop back every now and then.

And to everyone else, thank you for reading, and putting up with my mindless banter.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I think I found my next window sticker....

Why is it that you never see any window decals with weight on it? Like, 330lbs. 180lbs. 50lbs. Probably because A) no one cares B) no one cares and C)...what was C again? Oh yeah, NO ONE CARES!

I had gotten a free window decal from Bodybuilding.com once. I think it must have been inside a package of supplements I bought at one time. It's been sitting in a basket in my kitchen for months. Every once in a while I take it out and think "should I put it on?". Then I shake my head and throw it back in the basket. I don't know what it is, I just can't bring myself to put it on the car.

It's not that I'm ashamed to like body building. Quite the opposite, really. I don't know, maybe I just don't want to advertise it too much. I don't generally like to draw attention to myself in ANY way. I don't like to seem overly proud of myself for anything either. My mom is ALWAYS bragging up EVERYTHING I do. It's really embarrassing. And when she constantly tells me how good I am at something or how beautiful, wonderful, talented, yadda yadda yadda I am, I say "No I'm not". I always tell her she biased. What mother doesn't think their kids are the best everything? I know what I'm good at, partially good at and not at all good at.

She'll tell me I don't give myself enough credit. I'll say "No. I'm just a realist". I know that even though I love body building, I certainly don't look like I do. And maybe that's why I don't want to display the decal. Because I'd be the toothpick getting out of the van with the bodybuilding.com decal.

And, my husband would never drive the van again.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This is my schlep

I came across this blog yesterday (not even sure how) called the Arty RunnerChick at CaitChock.com. I typically don't read runner's blogs. But I couldn't quit reading it. I was fascinated by this girl's love for running. I don't want to say she sounds obsessed because I myself have been painted with that brush - just not for running. But she indeed loves it......really REALLY loves it.

All the talk of fartleks and garmins and what-have-you. It's a different world than mine. Runners have their own set of rules and crazy training regimens. And I believe her when she says that she thinks runners are born with a runner gene. Just the way I believe people are born to be.....whatever they are good at. But I don't necessarily think you have to be GOOD at something to be born for it. You just have to have a special love for the thing. I don't think I was born to lift weights. I really just prefer to lift over any other fitness option out there. And it seems to work well enough for me. If I was born for anything, I still haven't found what it is yet.

I'm guessing that with my body type, I would probably be more suited to be a runner, but I just don't enjoy it. I want a more athletic body - one that gains muscle easily. I look more like the twiggy runners I am so desperate NOT to look like. But, it is what it is, I guess.

My husband ACTUALLY told me that I've lost so much weight I look like I'm 2 seconds from death! There's an ego boost for me! Yes, those exact words. I had no idea he was so concerned about my weight! I've just got a really fast metabolism. I mean, I probably eat more than he does 9 times out of 10. I've cut WAY back on my workouts (only 3 days a week at 30-40 minutes a crack). There's really not much else I can do, aside from laying on the couch and eating french fries and cake all day. And I just refuse to go there. No need to clog my arteries to gain 10 pounds.

Maybe I have hyperthyroidism. At my last doctor appointment, he told me that my weight was a "bit" of a concern and asked me if I was trying to lose weight. Funny that he didn't suggest hyperthyroidism. Or, is that kind of thing visible from a blood test? Because I did have blood drawn and there was no note of anything amiss.

My point to telling you that whole schlep is that, I don't think any one person can say for sure what will give someone else body they want. A lot of people (myself included) will hand out basic information like any of the following:

"running will make you skinny!" - I hardly EVER run. And I'm skinny. There are people who run....and run.....and run....and run, and always look the same. And there are people who run just as much and look emaciated and unhealthy. It all just depends on the person. Sometimes I wonder if I should just start running 10 miles a day for like 3 months and than all of a sudden quit. I'd probably gain weight lightening fast.

"running will make you fat!" - this is about the most absurd thing ever. Of course running isn't going to make you fat. In fact, if you are fat, running is probably what you need! It's the overkill you have to be concerned with. If you plan on running marathons into your twilight years - than have no fear. Run like Gump! For the rest of us, once we get sick of all the running and stop....hello fat! Nice to see you again! Yes, this happened to me after my one (and only) half marathon. I gained 10 POUNDS! Now you understand my comment from the previous paragraph.

"lifting weights will make you gain weight!" - I lift weights. I STILL can't gain weight. Sure, you're definitely going to gain more muscle lifting than doing cardio, but the rate at which you gain is totally dependant on YOU. Some people add mass fairly quickly. While others have a harder time.

"lifting weights will give you a toned defined body" - to some extent, this is absolute truth. But I have religiously lifted for years and I STILL don't have the body that I feel is worthy of all that time and effort. It goes back to my theory that since every body is different, every form of exercise will produce different variations in results. That is why some people can eat pizza and ice cream and still look ripped while others need to eat clean for months to get that way.

The only thing that I personally could say absolutely works is "lifting weights will make you smaller". And if I said that, I would probably have a bunch of people telling me I'm off my rocker! People lift weights to GAIN, right? I wouldn't tell all the huge bodybuilders that if they lift weights, they will get smaller! Obviously, that isn't the case for them! But I lift weights, and I'm small. Those are the results I've gotten. And basically, those are pretty desirable results, from a female's perspective. Muscle is smaller, more compact, than fat. So when you lift weights, you DO actually get smaller. Women simply don't have the testosterone needed for bulk. Although, (depending on your body type) you might get bigger at first. Because you are adding muscle underneath the fat. But soon you have a blazing fast metabolism that will melt off the fat - producing the new smaller, more muscular you.

But you see, that's why fitness is not a one size fits all deal. I can't truthfully be writing a blog that tells you how to get the body you want because what works for me, might not work for you.

Yeah, you feel sorry for me right? A tough problem to have, being too skinny. Well, it's actually a real drag when it's not what you want. But I have an unyielding determination to go after what I want. And life has proven over and over to me that when I want something bad enough....I get it. I have what a lot of dream seekers lack......PERSEVERANCE. I work hard for what matters to me. No one will ever be able to convince me that they work harder. Success? It's in my genes ;)










Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Howdy y'all!

I'm baaaaaaack!

Ok, so I wasn't gone all that long. But still, it seems like forever to me.

Everyone in my household has been sick the last week or two and a few days ago, I started getting stuffy and thought "oh crap!". Luckily, I think the worst is over. I never got the cough everyone else had. Just bad sinus pressure and stuffy/runny nose. But today I am already feeling better. That was the shortest cold ever! I'm still feeling stuffy, but it's not nearly as bad.

So today, I got to play "trainer" again. My niece has asked me to help her out and of course I was more than willing! I love this stuff! It's only the second day (just started on Sunday) I am making her work hard! And she is taking everything I dish out. What bad ass! She says she hasn't done any real exercising in about 5 years, but she really knows how to push it. Through exhaustion and the burn....she pushes. It's very inspiring! I'm the one that is supposed to be motivating her and pushing her but her dedication and strong will is motivating me! If she can do it, I better be able to!

She works a full time job, is a college student and has very little free time. But she's smart. And devoted. This is how I know she will be successful in everything she does. The number one best way to assure success with workouts when you are as busy as she is, is to SCHEDULE IT. And that is what we have done. Before we even started, we found time in her busy schedule for her to squeeze in 4 workouts a week. Sometimes it's in the morning, sometimes it's in the afternoon. But it doesn't matter when you do it, as long as you do it, right?!

I am so excited to see how her strength and fitness improves in the next 3 months. And her body as well. We have set a 3 month goal because it's possible to make a total change in that amount of time. With hard work, some sacrifice and a LOT of dedication - it will happen.

And I am just totally flattered every time I get asked for advice or help with anything diet or fitness related. It makes me think, yeah, I am fit and it shows! People notice that what you are doing for yourself is working and they want to do it too! In fact, just the other day at the gym, a woman approached me and asked me to show her the exercise I was doing. After I showed her, it was very difficult for her. She was really surprised at how hard it was. I guess I made it look easy ;)

The same is true for Chelsea. Even a weight that would be really light for myself, she might struggle with. I am a lot stronger and more fit than I give myself credit for. Sometimes you have ah-ha moments like these and it's just what you need to fire up that motivation. Those days when I think that I'm a cupcake because I don't squat 180lbs or I can't curl 40lbs for 10reps, I need to remember that it's progressive and I'm doing the best I can for my ability. We are all on different levels so it's ridiculous to compare yourself to other's abilities. The #1 thing you should focus on is giving YOUR 100%.....not someone else's.

I super proud of Chelsea because she is giving 110% of HER best. And she is going to reap the benefits.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Busy busy busy!!

I don't think I've ever been so busy! But I've been busy in a good way. Mostly.

I was dreading the school year because my kids seem to be perpetually sick when they are in the germ infested school. They were healthy and illness free all summer. Not even a month back in school and they were all sick. Now my husband is sick. I reeeeeally hope I don't get it. So far so good.

I was a little bummed that I couldn't go to customer appreciation day at Courts Plus today because Emma was home with a fever (again). Oh well. I got a lot of work done. There were a ton of photos to go through and edit. I had a photo session with a terrific family last night in Lindenwood park where all the leaves are really in the peak of their beauty. I was absolutely in my element! Nothing makes me happier than being behind the lens. I'm so blessed to finally have a job that I love.

Everything seems to be going so good right now. For once, there are things occupying my mind other than fitness goals. And it's nice. It makes me feel less selfish. Because when you let fitness endeavours rule over your life, it becomes all about YOU all the time. Suddenly, not only your life, but the lives of your family members, revolve around your goal. One day, you wake up and you realize you are starting to plan family vacations to benefit YOUR goal. Those nice family bike rides you take have to be balls to the wall or nothing at all. You leave the kids in your dust because you don't have a slow-down-and-enjoy-life-switch. You live it and breathe it and think it's awesome because your just so much more dedicated than the average person. And it is dedication. It becomes a priority. And it's work. Not only physically but mentally. Because you think about it ALL the time. It's sacrifice. It is a huge part of your life. But it doesn't have to rule your life.

I feel I must apologize to my friends and family, I have been very preoccupied in the past few months preparing to dive into this new career I've made for myself. I've had so much to do that I literally have not had a moment to spare. I hope you all understand. I probably won't be blogging a whole lot anymore, but I will try and keep up my journaling and venting and deep thoughts (oh boy!). [I will get at that menu, Chels!] Also, I want to say thank you SO MUCH to all of you who have supported me and gave me encouragement through this process. Without it, I don't think I would have had the guts to take this leap. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life! It reminds me of this quote,

"Help others get ahead. You will always stand taller with someone else on your shoulders."

Thank you. I've learned the greatest lesson in selflessness and kindness through you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How do you stay so skinny??

This is a question I get a lot. Even from strangers. Especially when I'm out and about with my 3 children. And when they find out that my oldest is almost 15 (exactly one month from today!), they give me a look that says ..... (started pretty young, didn't you?). It's not like I was THAT young. I was 2 weeks away from my 23rd birthday when she was born.

But people wonder how it is that I stay so slim being 2 years from 40. This is about the time when our metabolism slows down and we really have to watch what we eat and make sure to exercise. Of course I attribute my size to eating healthy and working out. But I think there is one key thing that helps me over the average person.

I rarely drink alcohol.

Oh, I love my wine and if I go out for dinner with my husband, I will always have a glass. And I have been known to let it all hang out once or twice a year (but no more than that because I just can't handle hangovers). But I really feel like that helps keep me slim.

Almost everyone I know likes beer. It's fun to drink with friends. Go out to the bar or in the backyard around the campfire, on Sunday's watching the game. Whatever it is - it's a fun and common thing to drink with your buddies. BUT - those empty calories add up. And the more you drink, the less you care about healthy eating. Drinking almost always leads to poor food choices. Plus, you're stressing your liver because now it's got to work hard to rid you of the alcohol. If you drink multiple times per week and wonder why you can't get rid of those extra pounds, that could be why. And shedding some excess weight could be as simple as dropping the alcohol from your diet.

You never want to drink your calories anyway. That includes cocktails of any kind, coffee house coffees, fruit juices, and soda. No nutrients - just sugar and calories. Get rid of the calories laden drinks and you could be on your way to a slimmer you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I love Mondays!!

I say this a lot. People think I'm weird. Most people dread Mondays.

It's so refreshing to me to start another week. It's a chance to start over. I know that you don't need to wait until a Monday to start over if you've been doing things "wrong", but it's always been my reset day.

It's like going to church on Sunday and getting a week's worth of sins forgiven. I always feel so good when I come home from church "sin free". It's a chance to do better the following week. If I haven't been the best friend, mother, daughter, sister, wife, etc., I feel like my mistakes from the past week are just that....in the past, and I can start over fresh and new being a better person.

And that's how it is with my fitness life as well. Mondays always seem like the perfect day to start fresh. New ideas, new motivation, new start.

So the "new" for this week that I am trying out are as follows:

1) I've been doing a LOT more sitting than usual since the launch of my business www.PrintsCharmingND.com (for those of you who haven't checked it out). Feel free to like Prints Charming on Facebook as well ;) But this week, to combat that lazy stiff feeling I get from too much sitting, I plan on setting my timer to go off every hour so that I can get up and do a mini workout to keep the blood flowing. Here it is:
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 prisoner squats
  • 1 minute jumping jacks
  • 20 pendulum lunges
  • 15 crunches
2) I also want to try the 12 minutes of sprints per week too. What that is, basically, is at random 1 minutes intervals (4 times per day on 3 days of the week) I will sprint. This will be in addition to the 2- 10 minute interval sessions I do each week. I really want to try this and document any results from it. I know I've mentioned it before but I never stuck to it.

3) Leg lifts every night before bed. I really want to work on strengthening my legs in all ways possible by working muscles in different ways. These are really very easy, but if you do them right, go really slow and controlled, you get a great burn. Especially with ankle weights on.

4) And of course, I'm always wanting to eat better than the previous week. Making sure to get enough veggies and fruit every day. Eating lots of lean protein. And getting two higher carb days in on my two toughest training days.

What do you plan on doing differently this week?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to uncover your abs

QUESTION: How much cardio do I do each week to get these abs?
 
 
ANSWER: 20 minutes

Total.

Per week.
  
You heard me.
 
It's a common misconception that all you need to do is cardio to bring out your abs. It's also a misconception that if you do a lot of crunches, you'll see your abs. The problem with that is, if you still have a layer of blubber over them, you'll never see the product of all those crunches. 
 
So how can you bring out your inner six-pack goddess? Lift weights at least 3 times per week and stop eating junk. It's really that simple. I NEVER had abs like these until I followed these two rules.
 
I cycle through my training routines every month or so. So some months I will split up body parts and hit them 4-5 days per week. Then other times, I will work the entire body 3 times per week. Sometimes  I will use heavier weight for lower reps and more sets, other times I will use slightly less weight and keep the rep range at 10-12 for 3 sets. I like to mix it up.
 
One of my favorite methods is the pyramid method. It's like a giant super set, and each set you do, you lower the weight. For example:
 
I might complete a set of DB military presses with 20lb dumbbells, then right away grab a pair of 15 pounders for another set, then finish off with a set using 12 pounders. No rest in between. After the burn of the first set, picking up a lighter weight feels a bit easier so you can push your muscles further. And further still with an even lighter weight on the last set. This is really good for getting that "pump".
 
What is your favorite way to train with weights?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why you should lift weights

I'm not sure how I ended up on this blog, but I found the writing to be inspiring and so dead on with how I feel about weight lifting, I just had to share it. I picked out some of the key points that I could really relate to.

"why every man should lift weights" - BrianKim.net

Lifting Weights.
If you are currently not doing this, you’re missing out on one of the biggest investments of your life.

Improved concentration and focus.

When you pick up that weight, you’re focused on completing x number of reps per set. Nothing else matters. Nothing else has your focus. It’s just you and the weight. You lift it once, twice, three times, four times, the muscle is burning, you’re becoming fatigued, five, six, seven, eight, and then you muster everything inside of you to get that last rep, nine, and then you pull even more from within you that you did not think you had possible, ten.

You don’t lift once, twice, stop, get a drink of water, talk with the boys, go to the bathroom, and then do three, four, then change the song on your ipod, five, six, stretch, take a break, seven, eight, make a call, nine, ten. No. You go through the whole set on the spot till you finish period.

You will find this skill to be very useful. A lot of people get distracted when it comes to focusing on a task, but by lifting weights, you learn to cancel out all distractions and focus on you and the weight. That’s it.

Energy

Weight lifting gives me so much energy. Energy to go the extra mile. Energy to take the weights to the next level. Energy to accomplish my goals. Energy to do anything I wish. You can literally feel the energy coursing through your veins throughout the day. It’s a great feeling. It’s like igniting jet fuel. It’s that good.

Happiness

Whenever I feel the blues coming, there’s nothing like hitting the weights to bring me back up. I can thank my endorphins for that. Whenever I feel down, the very first question I ask myself is if I had lifted recently. The answer is always no. The solution? Lift. Problem solved. Works EVERY time. Guaranteed.

Great habit

When you start lifting weights and begin to see all the positive benefits, there’s no going back. The benefits will drive you to keep on doing it, which continues the cycle, which then inevitably installs a great habit. You’ll feel more happy, energetic, focused, tough, accomplished and you won’t want to let go of the cause.

Mental toughness

If you read Teddy Roosevelt’s autobiography, you will see the direct correlation between mental toughness and physical training. He made it a point to exercise every day. He boxed, climbed mountains, lifted weights, etc., on a consistent basis. I urge you to take a look at all the things that Teddy Roosevelt has accomplished. I guarantee you that his dedication to physical training was a major cause of getting them done. Because of his physical conditioning, he was able to focus, he got things done, he was always happy, he woke up early, and he had a ton of energy. Sound familiar?

Another example of mental toughness in one word: Arnold. Enough said.

Lifting weights and upping the resistance every so often builds your ability to handle bigger things. When you can lift a measly 5 pounds more than the last time, it’s a huge accomplishment. It may not seem like a lot, but it is. Every weight lifter knows what I’m talking about.

Lifting strengthens the psychosomatic link between mind and body. When the body is strong, so will the mind be.

Lifting also helps you train your mind to summon all your strength to lift that last rep when you don’t think you can. I cannot tell you how helpful this has been to me when there were times when I didn’t think I could accomplish my goals, even though I was so close to doing it. Lifting has conditioned me to dig deep and go that extra inch, and you will find that in life, it makes all the difference.


That's reason enough for me!! How about you??

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Seriously, why don't you lift weights?

There is already proof that weight lifting helps prevent osteoperosis and increases resting metabolism, and thus is a better tool for loosing weight then even cardio, so why do most women favor the "c" word? Good question indeed.

My guess is because it's easier. Easy workout = zero results.

The reason most women are unsuccessful in burning fat is because they do not spend enough time lifting weights.

When you lift weights, the muscles in your body are overloaded. They will work harder to do the curls and presses. When you rest after a tiring session, the muscles will repair themselves and grow. This means that your body must burn calories to grow muscles. So when you lift heavy weights, your body is actually working very hard to burn calories so as to repair and grow your muscles, even when you are sleeping.

As your muscles grow bigger, your body will burn more calories to maintain its size and shape. This again causes your body metabolism rate to work overtime to burn fat.

Did you know that 1 pound of muscle is much SMALLER than 1 pound of fat? That's right. Want to slide effortlessly into those skinny jeans? Lift.

Are you aware that if you add muscle to your body, you will be able to eat more without gaining weight? Um, yeah, I'm the POSTER CHILD for this one. Have you SEEN me EAT????

Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD found that the average woman who performs weightlifting 2 to 3 times a week for 2 months will gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat.

If fat loss or creating a more defined physique is your goal, strength training is the essential exercise mode for your success. Not only does each session torch calories, but it helps boost your metabolism in two different ways. Women will build a small amount of muscle mass with consistent resistance training, which helps to create that defined look, but it also increases something called your basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn per day when completely at rest. The second means in which metabolism is increased is through something called EPOC, or excess postexercise oxygen consumption. After a challenging strength training session your body burns calories at an accelerated rate for up to 48 hours after. Add 2-3 sessions a week to your routine and you are now a fat burning machine!

So, why is it that you're not lifting weights again??

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's what I do

Hey there!

I haven't forgot about you, really I haven't.

.....cricket.....cricket......

Truth be told, I've been busy sitting on my arse all last week. It's because I'm getting ready to launch a business and basically what I will be doing requires a lot of computer time. That part sucks in a way, but I really do love what I will be doing. And that's very important to me. Loving what I do.

This past week was a fairly successful one. I missed one workout (the easiest one though) to go have a beer and a burger with my mom and sister. Well worth it! And ended up having maybe one more cheat than I should have, but I still call the week a success.

Things I need to improve one for next week:

1) Eating more veggies - this always seems to be on my goal list
2) Getting all my workouts done - usually not a problem
3) Taking all my supps
4) Cycle macros

I will tell you that my new training routine seems really easy on paper but it definitely gets me pumped! They are short and to the point - generally 30 to 40 minutes, and twice each week I will get in 10 minutes of intervals immediately following the weight workout. So, at the longest, I'm in the gym 50 minutes.

They are pretty tough because I'm using a tempo that I normally wouldn't. Here's something for you to try: do split squats (as pictured below) but don't just go through the motions, take your time and lower sloooowly for 3 counts, pause for one count at the bottom, then back up for one rep. And do 10 each leg that way. OUCH! WAY HARDER than if you usually use a 1 to 1 lower and raise tempo.


Want a variation that works your shoulders at the same time? Overhead split squat. It looks more like a static lunge.

 
Here's what regular overhead squats look like. They are way harder than regular squats and you will really feel it in your shoulders the next day.
 
Now THAT'S a squat! Look at how low she is. She is obviously very strong.
AND...she's smiling :)
A good lift will do that to you.
 
It's a tough sport. It's not for the faint at heart. It requires skill, focus and determination. It's hard work. It burns. You will sweat. You will get short of breath. Your heart will race. You will burn calories. You will build muscle. You will get stronger, healthier, and more fit. You will be in an elite group. THIS is a workout. It's not some stroll in the park.
It's what I do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

irritating or motivating?

I happened to read a little blurb about posting workouts to Facebook and whether most people found it to be motivating or just plain annoying. Here were some responses:

"When I see people post about what an "awesome workout" they had I feel as if they are fishing for compliments. Working out makes you feel great that should be enough."

"I would think posting about anything all time, no matter what it is, would get incredibly annoying for those reading after awhile."

"I workout almost everyday and it's like taking a shower. No one would care if I posted about my daily showers."

 "I like it they are proud of themselves and can end up motivating others."

"Annoying! I have one friend that I want to say 'alright, we get it - you LOVE Zumba'".

"I don't care how much you workout - how much weight you lift, how many miles you run EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am not impressed and you just want attention. Sorry. I'm not giving it to you. It makes you look needy!"

"I find that those talking about running, how far they ran, ect.. are braggy but I think I'm secretly jealous. I wish I could do that, but I HATE running."

"The truth is why do people feel the need to post that shit???? Like who really cares!!"
 
"A little bit of both-- annoying in the sense that A) I don't really care and B) I don't really care because you're making me feel super duper lazy!! So I usually comment on those statuses with something like "I just sat on the couch for 2 hours!!!" No one cares about that either."

"I find it motivating."

So, how do I feel about it? Well after reading those comments, I think I will turn off the auto-post function on Shapelink! LOL

Seriously though, I'm pretty sure that just judging by the amount of "likes" or comments you get would give you the answer to that question. Obviously I exercise often. I have a blog devoted to it. Everyone who knows me, already knows I workout a lot. They don't care how much I can squat. No one has ever said, "Wow, way to squat more than your bodyweight!! Great job! Keep lifting!" So posting it to Facebook would probably just make me look like I was fishing for compliments or bragging. I have enough trouble convincing people that I don't have an unhealthy obsession the way it is, posting how often I workout would just be fuel for that fire.

Personally, I don't find it annoying. I follow several people who post daily, and sometimes multiple times per day, about their workouts or other motivational and inspiring words. It may be annoying to people who don't exercise because it could make them feel bad about themselves. But those people have a choice; they can either use it in a positive way and get moving themselves or they can be negative and see it as a rub it in their face.

What is your opinion?

And I saw this on Facebook today after I wrote this post:

 
Thought it was fitting to the subject.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

quick dinner


Had to make a quick dinner tonight since we are off to a swim meet. But quick doesn't have to be unhealthy! Here's a super fast, easy and flavorful dinner for the health conscious:

Extra Lean Ground Beef
Baby Kales
 
And that's it! I just browned the meat, and once it was done, added in the kale until it was wilted and warm, added NoSalt and pepper and that's all. If this had been a high carb day, I would have added brown rice to this dish. But it's good without it.
 
If you haven't tried baby kale, you should. It really is tasty. I'm not a huge salad eater because I think lettuce is just so blah unless you add fatty dressing to it - which sort of defeats the purpose of eating salad. Plus, lettuce isn't packed with nutrients like spinach or kale. And regular kale is just too dense and hard to eat. This baby kale is milder and soft, which makes it a whole lot nicer to eat.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I heart Mondays!

I'm starting a new workout today. I'm rather excited about it. It feels like a new adventure! I always welcome new workouts with open arms. Otherwise, I am fearful that I'm being too repetitive and won't stimulate any change in my physique. I've also started macro rotation (aka carb cycling), although it's more than just changing carb intake, because when you increase or lower carbs, you need to also increase or lower protein and fat as well.

For example: if you are on a lower carb day, you need to increase your good fats and protein to ensure you are getting enough calories and energy to sustain you. And on higher carb days, fats really aren't necessary. Neither is a huge amount of protein.

So far this is my third low carb day and I'm tolerating it better than I have in the past. I think it's because I'm doing it right this time ;)

Why the carb cycling anyway?

I've been saying how I don't want to lose weight, so why would I be cycling carbs? Well, mainly, to ensure that I don't gain FAT. I want to gain, just not fat. And carb cycling is a better choice for someone like me, who is already fairly lean and working on the last bit of stubborn fat.

It wouldn't be the best choice for someone just starting out on a diet or has a lot of fat to lose because it isn't going to give you faster than normal fat loss results.

But it is great for trying to keep going with fat loss without going through the plateaus you hit when you keep yourself on a low caloric intake for a long period of time.

Why doesn't it work to just cut calories when we know that a deficit of 3500 calories creates a 1lb weight loss?

Well, where is that weight coming from? Not all fat probably. The reason so many restricted calorie diets fail is that they cause your metabolism to slow down. When our bodies think they are starving, metabolism slows down and we burn fewer and fewer calories so that we don't die. This is why you will always stop progressing on a low calorie diet. In the beginning it will work, but eventually it will stop. And that is called a plateau.

When you start to cycle your carbs at this point, you are tricking your metabolism into thinking you aren't dieting (with the higher carb calorie days) when you actually are. And you can maintain the same rate of weight loss you did when you first started your low calorie diet. Which is perfect for someone like me. Because although I'm thin, I do still have stubborn fat areas in my lower body that I'd like to rid myself of.

It's even possible to gain muscle while on a carb cycling diet!

It's possible to change your body composition (take away the fatty hips and add muscle where you need it to create a more appealing shape) while carb cycling. When you are raising calories every few days, you aren't always in a deficit, so the carbs you are feeding yourself on high days go straight to muscle tissue. While on your low days, you are running on fewer calories and eating foods that keep your energy levels sustained while burning through calories and not storing fat. Remember - eating too many carbohydrates and not burning them off stores them as fat. But on higher training days, you are using them to fuel your workouts and feed your muscles, that's why we try to schedule high days on days where you are training the muscles you want to grow.

So yes, it is possible to wreck your metabolism by dieting all the time. Just the same way as it's possible to wreck your metabolism by doing too much cardio.

I know I've said this time and time again. But it's called adaptive thermogenesis. You can trigger the same sort of response from your body as you would starving yourself by going overboard with the cardio.

There are people doing huge amounts of cardio for endurance training and yet they aren't losing crazy amounts of weight like you would think they would. Running is a great way to burn calories. So if you wanted to lose a lot of fat, wouldn't it make sense to just run and run and run some more? Not necessarily. Because like your body's starvation response, there is a protective mechanism that kicks in to try to conserve energy, so fat loss is slower than you would expect considering the huge amount of cardio being done. Your body perceives it as a danger, so metabolism decreases.

That's why, if you're new to fat loss, and have never really dieted or exercised before, running is a great option. In the beginning, it will burn through calories quickly. But it will come to a halt, even though you have more fat to lose. This is a plateau. And that is why it's possible for people to run all over like Gump, yet not lose any more fat. They've slowed their metabolism.

So how can I ensure that this doesn't happen to me?

Well, if you are like me and don't train for endurance sports, you can cut your calories pretty drastically as long as you eat enough protein and are fairly conservative with your training volume. 3-4 days of lifting and minimal cardio - which is what I do. Although, I'm not cutting calories, just cycling carbs. So some days definitely feel like I'm on a diet, but I'm really not.

For you cardio loving endurance athletes, you can also do a lot of cardio without consequences if you are eating enough to support the demand. Meaning, don't be on a huge calorie deficit and then run 10 miles a day. I don't even know who could or would even want to do that, but I'm sure there are some desperate people out there.

Hope this helps you understand the benefits of macro nutrient rotation!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

it's Saturday!

I don't have anything particularly insightful to share with you today, just wanted to fill you in on how things have been going.

This past week has been a "heavy lifting" week for me. And I'm paying for it! I've been in pain ALL WEEK LONG! When I did legs, I could barely walk, stand or sit. Then I did arms and I could barely do anything at all! Turning over in bed - nearly impossible. Just feeding myself was a chore! It was that bad. I wouldn't even recover from being sore before having to hit it again. It's been rough.

On top of all that, I've had a migraine for the past couple of days. Yesterday I pretty much stayed in my pajamas all day. Eden made dinner (my sweet girl). I had to take Hanna to swimming at 5 in the morning and then pick her up again at 7. Driving with a blinding headache is not a good idea. I was swerving all over like a drunk! But I didn't want to ask my husband to do it. I would feel guilty making him get up so early on a work day. See what a good wife he has ;) I still have a headache. It sucks. Why am I on the computer then? Good question!

So, what's on my mind at the moment is - why the heck do I do this to myself? Why lift weights if it's just going to make me sore and miserable? I really can't answer that and not sound masochistic. I really don't like misery. But somehow the pain I get from lifting is good in a way. It is a sign that I've done something good for my body. All those tiny tears I've just caused are going to rebuild themselves and come out of it bigger and stronger than they were before. As long as I feed myself properly - that's the key. And I'm so sore because the load is different from what my body has been used to. That is also important. How can we expect to change if we do the same thing over and over all the time??

But I don't have to fear the heavy lifting again for awhile. Monday's workout is something different (again). Mostly bodyweight stuff. In all actuality, I'm really looking forward to it because it sounds easy compared to what I'm used to doing. Who knows? Maybe it's harder than it looks. We'll see.

I've been wanting to gain weight for a long time and I feel like I finally am. I'm not sure how much, because I always forget to weigh myself. But my pants feel so much tighter in the butt. In fact, I'm almost regretting getting rid of all of my bigger size jeans! Most girls would probably be freaking out right now..."OMG! My butt is getting BIGGER!! I need to diet!!" But to me, this is a welcome change. I haven't been in my skinny jeans in months because it's been too hot but now that it's cooling off, it will be interesting to see if they still fit me...LOL!

If you are going for skinny.....don't. Please don't. It makes me sad to hear already skinny girls say they'd like to lose 10 more pounds. Why on earth do you want to do that? Is it a competition to see who can get the smallest? If you asked the average man if he thought that was attractive, he'd say no. But I'm almost positive girls don't try to get skinny for guys. They do it for other girls. It's a competitive thing. I've never been a super competitive person no matter what the situation. And being on the skinny side my entire life, it doesn't really matter as much to me as it might to someone who has struggled with their weight.

We really need to put an end to the idea that you need to be skinny to be happy. Who cares what size your jeans are? Do you really think that other people will admire you more because you're smaller than they are? Because you can slide into those size 2 skinnies? No. I can tell you first hand that people will definitely wonder how you stay so skinny. They will think that you are not healthy. They will think you go to drastic measures to stay thin. And they will think that you have a problem that requires the attention of a medical professional. Is that you want to hear? Will that satisfy your desire to be skinny? Please don't diet and exercise to be thin. Do it to be healthy. Don't go to extremes. Too much of anything, no matter how good for you, can be a bad thing.

If you're going for skinny, ask yourself why you want it so badly. Really think about what it is you hope to gain from getting skinny. And just know that beauty and happiness does NOT come from being a size 00.

Aim for healthy, strong and fit. You will feel good. You will look good. And you will project an aura of overall well being. And THAT is what will make people admire you ;)