Friday, August 31, 2012

If you like to run, you'll like this!

A while back, I posted about getting a sprinter's physique and linked back to the article I was referencing. Well, I never read the comments from that page until the other day and there was one VERY well thought out comment that I wanted to share. It would be something that a dedicated runner would read and pump their fist in the air saying, "RIGHT ON!!" But also, for me who favors weight training, it did make a lot of sense and put things into perspective for me (I will highlight my favorite parts). I feel like sometimes I can be a little too one-sided, closed minded, etc. And if I want to portray myself as an advocate of exercise, I need to accept that there are other ways to get fit than JUST lifting weights. I want to give fair representation to both sides.

Here is the comment....

"Jason, I like your strength training information and have used it, but as a 67 year old marathon running ectormorph I don’t think you and just about every other traiiner on the internet selling their programs are being totally honest with setting their readers expectations. I don’t care how much weight you lift and how many intervals you do, it’s dammed hard for an ectomorph and to a lessor extent an endomorph to look like a sprinter who has the natural body type of a mesomporph.
Comparing the body of a marathoner to a sprinter is like comparing apples to oranges, especially when so many compare fat marathoners who run 5-6 hour marathons to elite sprinters. Have you ever seen a race for non-elite sprinters? I have and some of them are fat as well and not very good. Same for a lot of bodybuilders. If any comparisons are to be made at all it should be between elite sprinters and elite marathoners. In that case, I doubt the % body fat is much different. Sure the sprinter has more muscle and a better physique but not necessarily any healthier. I realize that the only way to preserve muscle mass as we age is to do some type of strengthening exercise (personally I like deadlifts and rows) but it doesn’t have to be at the exclusion of a person’s other fitness or sporting interests.
The most important thing for people is to find an activity that they like and enjoy and they are more likely to enjoy and stick with something that they can do well. If it is running or biking instead of weightlifting they can lose plenty of weight doing that “cardio”. Sure many runners have problems and I’ve had my share over the last 25 years, but I’ve also had my share from lifting weights as well. There are probably as many or more people with screwed up shoulders from bench pressing as there are runners with screwed up knees.
In summary, IMHO the most important thing is to try and live like whatever kind of athlete you are best at and enjoy enough to stay with it."

This was absolutely brilliant and well written. And even though I am more of a fan of anaerobic exercise than aerobic, I believe he made some excellent points. Just because I don't like something as well as the next person might, doesn't mean I have the right to make it sound as if it's sub par.

I would also like to note that a very lovely woman I know is a dedicated runner. She runs many many miles each week. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't have an ounce more body fat than I do. In fact, she most likely has less. I would also like to add that she has some pretty muscular legs - not emaciated in any way. Although I'm not sure of what her workouts beyond steady state running are.

The way you look depends on a LOT of factors. What body type you are, the exercises you do, the food you eat, and the amounts of each, your metabolism....and on and on. There are fat marathoners, fat sprinters, fat weight lifters, fat cyclists. You can't look at one fat person on the treadmill and assume that the cardio they are doing is the reason they stay fat. What are they eating? And how much? What is their natural body type? There are a lot of variables to the equation. The point is - do what you like. Do what you are good at. Because that is what will motivate you to stick with it. Any exercise is good for you. Even gardening! Which - depending on what you are doing - can be pretty hard work!

I want to achieve something that cardio exclusively won't give me. This is why my main focus when working out is lifting. And despite working very hard to gain muscle, seeming to do EVERYTHING according to all the gurus, it's very VERY difficult for me to build more muscle than I've already got. Some people gain muscle easier than others, it's just a fact of life. I don't know if my body type will ever let me achieve what I am after. I've been at it for so long and never seem to change much any more. And if I'm at my max potential, that's all I can be. But I will keep doing what I do, because I like it and I can.

I am SOOOO tired....

I have not been sleeping well. The last two nights have been the worst. My lack of sleep is causing some anxiety symptoms to flare up and my anxiety symptoms, in turn, cause more lack of sleep. This cycle is so hard to break. And as I lay there NOT sleeping, I think about how I desperately need to fall NOW. I'm beyond tired, how can my body just not sleep when it obviously needs it?

I had to bring Hanna to swimming practice at 5:30 this morning and when I got home and crawled back into bed, I thought maybe I could get at least an hour of sleep. It seems that right before the alarm goes off is when I finally fall asleep. But, not this morning. So I laid there thinking, "well, I guess working out today is not a possibility". I had pretty much made my mind up.

Then I got out of bed at 7:00 to get Hanna, brought her back home to get ready for school, brewed some coffee, had some Greek yogurt, and I thought to myself...

Ok, I have two choices: 1) I can just wallow in exhaustion and feel sorry for myself or 2) I can go to the gym and give it what I can

I chose number 2.

I called my mom at 8:00 and said "Wake up buttercup!" and we're heading to the gym despite not really feeling like it. Because I'm sick and tired of my all or nothing attitude. Maybe I won't be able to crank out heavy sets, maybe I'll only be able to handle 2 circuits, but at least I will have done something. And that is better than nothing at all!

Today, you might not be feeling 100%. You might not want to workout even though it's a scheduled workout day. But even if it's just a minute of jumping jacks, 10 push ups and a couple of wall squat holds, it will have been something that got your blood pumping and just might be all the motivation you need!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


My whole body hurts today. My arms, my legs, my butt, my back....all sore. I told this to my husband when I woke up this morning and he said, "I feel....sorry for you????" - as if he wasn't sure if I liked the pain or not. Usually, when I say that I'm sore, I say it in a matter of fact way, and then quickly follow it with a comment about how it's a good sort of pain. I don't want to complain about it, because it's self inflicted. Of course I'd rather not be sore, but it is what it is. Comes with the territory. And it makes me feel as though I've done something good.

But, in addition to the regular soreness, I seem to have strained my lower back yesterday while deadlifting. I wasn't even lifting heavy! Only 85lbs.

I felt it as soon as I stepped away from the bar. " no no no no!" - I was screaming in my head. I really truly am as careful as I possibly can be at the gym because I don't want to injure myself. I'm not training to be a power lifter, only to improve my physique, so I don't see the point of lifting to my max every time and risking injury. Obviously I did something funky, even though I felt my form was perfect. I always look straight ahead in the mirror to ensure that my back is nice and flat, not rounded. If fact, I was just thinking to myself as I was doing the deadlifts how great my form was looking! I racked the bar and started to walk away.....and then I felt the pressure. Dang!

I don't think it's a really bad one though. I'm hoping it's like the last one I had, which only lasted a few days. Before that, it had been a really long time since I've had any kind of injury. I remember my knee and my shoulder used to give me problems, but for some miraculous reason, they never do anymore. Maybe it's some of the supps I take?? Or maybe all the lifting has made my joints healthier?

I'm not all that familiar with how to treat strains. Is it ice? Hanna recently pulled a hamstring muscle and her trainer told her to ice it. What have you all heard?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back at it

Burned over 450 calories in an hour weight lifting. Building muscle AND decreasing fat...what could be better??

Right now, I'm drinking my daily protein/spinach/strawberry shake. I'm eating oat bran hot cereal for my starch.

Last night I made up a bunch of meatballs and froze them so I could have them for lunches. I used half and half extra lean ground beef and ground turkey, pureed spinach and onion and quinoa flakes. They were nice and moist. Instead of mashed potatoes, I ate mashed cauliflower with a bit of real butter. Yum!

Not sure what I should make for dinner tonight. It's a high carb day (yeah!) so I'm thinking maybe flank steak and potatoes?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Great start to the week

Being back at the gym yesterday was great. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive at first, having been away for so long. But it didn't take long to get back into the groove. And it helped to have mom there with me. I saw some of the same people. The dedicated morning gym goers, still at it. That was a comfort.

Our gym is in the process of remodeling and so it's a bit of a mess, but certainly nothing that bothers me. They have installed a LOT of windows around the track and it really brightens it up in there. I LOVE IT!! The first floor weight room is centered in the middle of the track, so we benefit from one whole side of the new windows. It's very uplifting. I'm used to working out it dark, dungeon-like environments. My home based weight room isn't totally cavernous, there are two windows, but it isn't enough to make it exactly bright and cheery. It's nothing a fresh new coat of vibrant colored paint couldn't fix. It's the musty smell that I'm not so fond of. Every since our air conked out and spilled water all over the floor, it's gotten quite stinky. Maybe a good steam cleaning would help, although our basement is huge by basement standards and it would probably cost a fortune.

I'm positive that I work harder at the gym. I don't know what it is, I just do. Maybe it's the environment. Maybe it's the fact that you feel you are being watched (although everybody is busy with their own thing so that shouldn't be an issue). Whatever it is, I like the fact that it makes me push harder. I only did two circuits and it took me 1 hour, 5 minutes of that hour was a warm up and 5 minutes was a cool down. I burned 400 calories. Not too shabby! I wore my HR monitor - that's how I know.

I ate great all day. I grilled myself a chicken breast for lunch, with cauliflower and a sweet potato. I had over easy eggs mixed into ground beef for breakfast with a little bit of cheddar (yummy!). Snack was Greek yogurt, blueberries, almonds and cinnamon. Dinner was top sirloin, baby kale and oat bran hot cereal. I'm totally in love with oat bran cereal - I eat it now instead of oatmeal. The nutrition facts are almost identical.

But last night, at about 8pm, I was hungry, so I had a peanut butter jelly pita. It was so good, I had another one. I get so ravenous on days I workout. Even when I do the stuff that magazines are always telling you to do to curb hunger. Like, in the afternoon, have a snack of almonds and fruit or a fat a half an hour before dinner. I do that and STILL feel like I could eat a cow at dinner time. Eat eggs in the morning and eat less overall during the day. While eggs sustain me for a long time in the morning hours, I still feel the need to pig out in the evening. It's always been that way. My super hungry times of day are around 3pm and 5pm. Then, I'll almost always be hungry again at 8pm. So I feed myself. I can tell the difference between real hunger and cravings. I have REAL hunger during these times on weight training days, so I feel it's important to keep fed. Especially since I want to build muscle.

One of the biggest benefits (in my opinion) to building muscle is the fact that I can eat more carbs. According to Jimmy Smith, who has a lot of super great info (you really need to check him out), I can have 4 high carb days a week eat between 1.5 to 2g of carbs per pound of bodyweight to build muscle. Of course they have to be good sources - donuts don't count ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


First day of school and ALREADY I feel my stress level go way down! It has been such an incredibly peaceful morning to myself. I. Love. It. So. Much!!! I love my kids, God bless their sweet little hearts, but DANG it's great to feel this relaxed!

My Lizzy Bear is asleep on the couch next to me, chasing bunnies or squirrels in her dreams. She is twitching and bouncing all over the place. Apparently she is enjoying the quiet as well.

This morning, I busted out a great workout downstairs and I feel alive! Now I'm drinking my post workout power nutrient shake:

1.5 scoops chocolate whey
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 frozen banana
4-5 lg strawberries

For breakfast (pre-workout) I had:

Plain (unflavored) Greek 0% fat yogurt
Plain almonds, crushed
Handful of fresh blueberries
Pinch of truvia

Before 10am, I've had my day's worth of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables. I'm right on track!

For lunch, I plan on having left over flank steak, sweet potato and asparagus. Afternoon snack will probably be yogurt and almonds again. Dinner will be chicken, brown rice and salad.


I love love LOVE this - saw it on Facebook yesterday and had to share. Yeah buddy!!

Right, ladies?? Show those boys what you got!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Here's a fun little motivational poster ;)
I love these. Most of them are very clever and meaningful.
My kids are all in bed and it's before 9pm....whoo hoo! I wanted them in bed by 8:30, and it was successful. It won't last. But it is sure nice to have a peaceful evening of quiet blogging ;) I'm going to start another book too. Life is good.
Today we said goodbye to summer carefree eating. My last treat was an almond poppy seed muffin. Oh my, it was heaven! Hanna had lemon poppy seed and the rest had bear claws. Emma informed me during her bath tonight that she wants to start eating healthier. Except she won't eat the lettuce with the curly edges. Haha...those little ones can be so cute.
My diet has been just plain awful. My attitude has been "I just don't care" for such a long time. I knew that when I was ready, I would start eating for health again. I am SO ready! Today I tried kale in my whey protein drink and I'm not going to do THAT again. It was so chunky. My blender doesn't break it up quite as good as spinach. Although I just found some baby kale at the store, which I've never seen before. It's much more smooth and tender, like spinach, but with that same great cabbage-like flavor. It makes a great salad. I mixed it with some fresh cress. It's not watercress but the taste is much the same. The leaves are much bigger. Anyway, it's spicy, like a radish. I need stuff like this to give my salads a kick or I get too bored. Seriously, people who can eat lettuce day after day amaze me. Blech! Boring! Variety is the spice of life!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

good bye summer

ALL of my electronic devices appear to be working properly, which has previously been a source of great frustration for me. Yay!

My kids will all be in school in 2 days. And life will get busy and scheduled again. In a way, I am looking forward to it. But until then, we are enjoying these final days of summer vacation outside in the gorgeous weather. Bike rides and picnics, our favorite. I will miss these days.

Having 3 kids in school is expensive! Yikes! Buying clothes, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, activity/sports fees, etc x 3 - cha ching! Sometimes I think the best way to preach birth control is simply to put all the bills on display. I thought babies were expensive, but the older they get the more they cost. And the busier you seem. Until Hanna drives (God help us all), I'm still going to be chauffeuring her to practices and games. Sunday will literally be the only day there isn't an activity to drive to. But I am really excited for this new season of swim meets. I've never been to one. Also, Eden will be in volleyball. Her first year. She did a week camp at Courts Plus last February and loved it, but I think it's mainly because she gets to wear short little spandex. Her favorite. Her love for extremely short shorts worries me a bit. At the risk of sounding old fashioned.....have you noticed how short shorts have gotten for young girls?? Tweens and teens in particular. I've even seen women my age wear shorts that barely cover up their ass cheeks. Ew. In my opinion, the only woman that can get away with this look are bodybuilders who don't have a saggy butt or an ounce of jiggle on their thighs. Everyone else....put 'em away. You're not 12 anymore.

As far as "fit me" goes, I'm not nearly as gung ho as I usually am. I've reeeeeeally relaxed. And do you know what? My body is exactly the same. All that time that I was so afraid of missing a day of working out or cheating on my clean diet one too many times, was really just added stress. Because I haven't changed. Once school starts and I go back to the gym for my workouts, I'm sure I will be my 'normal' self again. But it sure was great to put fun before my body goals for a while.

My family has really been into eating toaster strudels lately. This is something I NEVER buy. And the proof of this is the fact that Hanna - age 14 - just had her first one at someone else's house this summer. Not that I'm above stuff like this, I mean, we have been known to eat donuts around here. But I know they are horrible for you. Processed junk. So I don't buy them. On one of the last shopping runs my husband went on with Eden, they brought back Boston Cream Pie Toaster Strudels. And they have been addicted ever since. Despite my constant reminders of how unhealthy they are. One day, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I tried one. Oh. My. Gosh. It was delicious. Just like pastry. Why oh why do things that are bad for us have to taste so dang good??

So I have to prepare my own yummy treats to keep myself out of the junk. Last night I made protein pudding, although it turned out just like frosting in consistency and taste. Needless to say when the kids saw me with beaters full of what appeared to be chocolate frosting, they were all over it. And ended up finishing the bowl. And if protein powder frosting is THAT kid approved, you know it has to be good! I think I'll try to frost my healthy chocolate microwave cake with it and see what that tastes like. I'll let you know how it turns out and share the recipe.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Things that help my fitness

I can't live without:

1)Spinach & chocolate whey smoothies. An easy way to get in a serving of nutritious greens without even knowing it. And of course extra protein.

2)MiOENERGY liquid water enhancer in green thunder. This makes choking down BCAAs, Glutamine and Creatine MUCH more enjoyable. AND, I get a little dose of energy boosting caffeine. approx $3.50 for 18 servings, give or take. I can get way more because I only need a little flavor.

3)iPod (not the big fancy one but the smallest one you can get). It clips right onto your clothes, is small and light weight and fits all the songs you need and then some so you are always pumped up for your workout. approx $45

4)Lifting gloves. That's right, I'll admit to using weight lifting gloves like a little cupcake. But they honestly really help. When you do pull ups, especially. Because I will get instant calluses and blisters if I don't use them. I still get rough spots but not nearly as bad. I never lift without them!

 5)Polar heart rate monitor. Actually, I only use this some of the time or if I am really interested in finding out how much intensity I am using for a particular workout. Especially if I start a new routine or if I go for a run. Great way to time your workouts and keep track of your heart rate AND find out if your working in your fat burning or fitness zone. Really great tool. approx $100

6)Online workout tracker. Any one of them, take your pick. A great way to keep motivated by seeing how much time you are logging and seeing your friends' progress as well. And it's FREE!

7)Sleep Bug Pro for windows phone. Honestly, I swear I sleep better when I use this. And sleep is necessary to any fitness goal. I fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the beach, forest, river, even the city if I chose. You can pick from many different scenes and customize each one to leave out certain sounds you find distracting. Has the option of setting a timer or going all night. I hadn't used it in a while but turned it on last night and slept ALL night long. approx $2-4 - not sure what I paid for it.

8)Creatine. I don't know if it's psychological but it doesn't matter as long as you think it works. But I swear I can lift easier and get a better pump when I take creatine pre-workout. Sometimes I forget and I really notice a difference.

9)Home gym equipment. Not that you need it. Bodyweight is a useful enough tool. But having equipment at home such as dumbbells, a weight bench and a treadmill has been a lifesaver on those days when I can't get away to the gym. I've been working out at home all summer and I'm thankful to have the stuff I need.

10)I'm pushing it now, but my OCD requires me to make an even 10 numbered list ;) Blender bottles are a really nice addition to my fitness arsenal. The ball whisk inside makes shaking to blend protein powder a breeze. No more swallowing chunks of powder! I have 4 of them and use them constantly - so I guess that in itself is proof of their necessity for me.

What kinds of things do you use to help with your fitness goals?

Can you still gain muscle and strength while doing cardio?

So I read something posted by Tom Venuto, a very respectable fitness guru I follow. It was a topic that immediately sparked my interest: Can you still gain muscle and strength while doing cardio?

I think you know where I'm going with this...

In case you want to just read it for yourself, go here:

But if you want the abbreviated version, read on.

Basically everyone argues whether or not cardio causes muscle loss. I think it's fairly obvious, judging by the differences in body compositions of people who run a lot vs. people who train with weights. But still, this has been the controversy for years.

There are MANY factors that go into play, but the key points I took away from the newest meta-analysis just published this month in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research are as follows:

When fat loss is the primary goal, cardio should be done along with resistance training. Mainly higher intensity cardio.

Not everyone experiences detrimental effects of concurrent cardio sessions in addition to resistance training. Power athletes need to be more conservative with cardio.

Interference effects are body part specific, primarily the decrement in hypertrophy and strength in the lower body (from running concurrently with resistance training).

The more endurance training you do, the more you are susceptible to overreaching and under recovery, leading to interference effects.
The duration of endurance training, when done with strength training, is a major factor of the degree of interference. Strength athletes should avoid long duration endurance exercise (more than 20-30 minutes) that is performed at a high frequency (more than 3 days per week), to minimize any interference.

Excessive running can decrease the size and strength of your legs.

Also, endurance athletes should not fear adding strength training to their training because it does NOT interfere with aerobic capacity. As if anyone thought it did.

So basically, I just got a permission slip to avoid running more than an hour and a half a week. No problem there.

My goal is to stay on track with my current fitness plan: cardio at a minimum to keep sexy muscle.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ghastly thin

I was looking at the camera roll on my phone and I came across a LOT of pictures I have taken of myself over the course of the last year. I like to take pics often so I can track my progress. The scale is not a way to track my progress anymore since it rarely moves. My actual weight doesn't matter. It's all in how I look. I found this picture from earlier in the year. Look at how awful I look! And to think at this point in my life, I was actually working out to LOSE FAT! What the hell was I thinking?? I know that you can't see the fat I wanted to lose since it is covered by pants in this pic, and I knew at that time that my upper body was really thin, but I didn't see just HOW thin until now. Good lord! All that intensity, 6 days a week, look what it did to me. My hands are small, but you can see in this picture how my small hands look huge on my non existent waist. That really put it into perspective for me.

Now I want you to focus on my booty here. I think it's actually grown a bit. And while it seems most women want their butts smaller, I am trying to make mine BIGGER! There is nothing more unattractive than a flat butt! I do a crazy amount of squats and lunges of all variation to try and grow my glutes. I really do think I see an improvement. But I still have a loooooong way to go to get it where I want it. (the picture on the right was taken yesterday).

I'm eating as many carbs as want to these days. Even at night, to try to grow. It was really a hard thing for me to get over since all of my "fitness life" I've tried to stay away from eating too much. But all the years of training and dieting at the same time and not seeing the muscle growth that I want, has taught me that I HAVE to change my mindset and eat to gain. I'm still worried about gaining fat at the same time, but it's probably inevitable. I can always add in some cardio down the road if I feel it's gotten out of hand. During the winter months, it won't matter so much anyway.

I'm going to try lifting explosively, as per my last post. I want to engage those fast twitch fibers. I want to grow my hammies. I'll start doing sprints again. Maybe some short uphill runs? I'm not a distance runner, so there is no need to train like one.

I think that I've really started to see myself in a better light. I've been so damn hung up on my flaws that I haven't spent enough time focusing on all the good things. I'm fit, I'm healthy, I have energy, I have muscle......those are all good things! I'm on the small side but I guess it's better than the alternative. I have room to grow - I'm lucky! No, I'm not lucky, I work hard for it!

This picture cracks me up. I had to take it while Hanna and I were working out yesterday. This vein just popped out of my arm and stuff like this totally freaks her out. Haha...

Monday, August 13, 2012

get a body like a sprinter

So after my last post, I wanted to see what I could find. This was the first thing I found. While it doesn't mention anything about length of the workout, it does have some facinating information. Read about lifting explosively vs. slowly for instance.

The following taken from

"If you took a survey of most average guys I am willing to bet that 99.9% of them would choose to look like an Olympic sprinter over just about any other physique option you gave them. Lean muscular and athletic looking; what could be better than that? I would even go so far as to argue that guys like Maurice Greene and Shawn Crawford (pictured) posses the perfect male physique. Head turning both aesthetically and athletically.

So how do you build that kind of functional, muscular physique? Well first of all you need to train with the intention of targeting the fast twitch muscle fibers. This can be done by using heavy weights for relatively low reps and lifting explosively. Stick with compound exercises like cleans, snatches, push presses, squats and deadlifts. Always accelerate as fast as you can on the concentric, or lifting portion, of every set and control the eccentric, or lowering portion, in one to two seconds. Never waste time with slow lifting speeds, especially on the way up. That limits the amount of weight you can lift and is completely unnatural. In real life if you bent over to pick up a box, would you take four seconds to lift it up off the ground and eight seconds to put it back down? Of course not. Muscles are made for speed; don’t force them to do something they don’t want to do by lifting slowly. Train slow, get slow. Remember that.

Another key component in learning how to build muscle like an Olympic sprinter is to be sure that you are using the right cardio/ conditioning methods. Too many people waste their time doing regular cardio like riding a bike, using a treadmill, stairclimber, or elliptical machine at a steady pace for 20-45 minutes. While this type of activity will burn some calories and can help you get leaner, it is far from the most effective or time efficient method. You don’t think sprinters do that, do you? Sprinters, obviously, sprint. When you compare the sprinters physique to the marathoners physique it is readily obvious which form of activity burns the most fat, builds the most muscle and produces the most appealing physique.

While excessive steady state aerobic or cardio training can actually burn muscle tissue, high intensity methods like sprinting can actually help you build muscle. You read that right; sprinting can actually have a double pronged effect of not only burning fat, but simultaneously inducing an anabolic state and helping you build muscle. I don’t know about you but that makes it a hands-down winner in my book, any day.

I recommend that you vary your sprint workouts between regular, flat ground sprints, hill sprints, sled sprints and Prowler sprints. Just because you are not an athlete doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train like one in the effort to look like one. If you are training for speed, you will need a lower volume of training, longer rest periods and probably shouldn’t sprint all out more than twice per week. If you are simply training to get ripped you can sprint at differing intensities and durations 3-4 days per week. Be sure to warm up properly beforehand and then proceed to your work sets which should be about 10-30 seconds of intense sprinting, for 15-30 minutes (total workout time) with 30-90 second rest intervals between. You could run several 40 yard sprints with a minute rest or a few 100’s and then walk back as your rest interval. There are a million different options, the important thing as that you do them.

Now you know how to build muscle like an Olympic sprinter and get absolutely ripped at the same time. Get ready to start turning heads in just a few months with your new physique. Good luck and train hard.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

how long do your workouts last?

Do you ever get sick of eating? I do. I get so sick of preparing food and eating all the time that I think it would be so nice if we could just swallow a futuristic pill that had an entire meal inside it. That's just being lazy, but most days, I would really welcome it.

For lunch, I didn't have anything prepared and no left over meat to use. Usually in cases like this I just crack open a can of tuna or sardines, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood. So today for lunch I had plain Greek yogurt mixed with Truvia, cinnamon, blueberries, chia seeds and wheat germ. Also, half of a multi grain pita with natural peanut butter. I've been so addicted to peanut butter lately, I have to eat it once a day. Mmmm.

Today Hanna and I did our 3rd weights workout for the week. We both did 3 circuits and it lasted over an hour. 1 hour and 16 minutes to be exact. Which is a big no-no for me. I've read so much about how training over an hour can start taking your progress backwards and I am usually very careful about that because the last thing I want to do is stress out my adrenals and put a huge demand on my central nervous system day in and day out.

Our bodies don't change while we workout, they change after the workout, while we are at rest. And if we never give our body the rest it needs, we will never progress. Then again, you see these Olympic sprinters who train 6 days a week and they have PHENOMENAL bodies. So what is the verdict? What are your thoughts on this? What have you read about training longer than an hour every day and what are your sources? I'd really like more information about it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My prize

Me with my prize!!

Wow, that was LIGHTENING FAST!!

When FedEx appeared with a package on my doorstep, I figured my husband had already gotten his new modem. When I saw my name on the package from Amazon, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, I don't remember ordering anything". Then Eden got nervous because she might have accidentally clicked "BUY" during one of her dream shopping sessions online. Haha! I though that was incredibly funny. Good thing I don't have one click shopping enabled!

Anyway, here is my case of BARE FRIUT dried organic cinnamon apples.

And WOW are they DELISH!!

I was very thrilled to win this. Thank you thank you thank you!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I won!

So, it's been a while since I've won anything (other than an occasional stuffed animal from the claw machine) but my dry streak is over.

I entered a contest from a fellow blogger and my name was picked to win a case of Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips! I am SUPER excited! Can't wait to let you know what I think of them :)

Hanna and I are still going strong with our workouts. Her diet has been really good since I am controlling EVERYTHING she eats. I almost feel bad that my almost 15 year old daughter has to ask before she eats anything. But, she will learn it eventually. We were a bit concerned how it would play out during school but she has decided to bring her lunch to school daily. That way, she can control what she is eating. Unfortunately, school lunches aren't all that healthy. She has options though, like salad and veggies, but getting her to actually choose them and eat them when I'm not right there making her do it, is a little hard.

My diet has been....ok. I've been in a baking mood lately. My mom's 75th birthday was on Monday and I baked a delicious triple layer chocolate cake straight from a diebetic cookbook. I skipped out on the frosting they said to use though. It suggested sugar free chocolate fudge frosting in a can and you know what that means.....TRANS FAT! No thanks! I'll make my own, and it was awesome. Yeah, buddy!

Yesterday, I baked lemon blueberry bread that totally bombed. I was so sad, I had to throw the whole thing away :( If I had followed the recipe, I might have had more success. But, of course, I had to throw my own healthy flare into it. And I don't know if it was just because I should have used two loaf pans instead of one (I had a lot of batter) or maybe that combined with the fact that I added baking soda and the batter got really airy and fluffy, which made it rise more.....who knows. I'm not a professional baker and don't know all the scientific stuff, all I know is the cake never got done in the center. I'm not one to give up so easily though. I will make it again, my special healthier version, just put it into two loaf pans and see if that helps. I'm almost positive it will.

In case you are wondering, the recipe I altered is here.
 After I make a successful bread with my changes to the recipe, I will post what I did. Hopefully later today!
p.s. doesn't it look FANTASTIC?!?!?!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

just DO

My strength workouts right now are not hard, meaning, I'm not lifting heavy weight, but they are taxing. Because I try to rest very little in between exercises, my heart rate stays elevated. In addition to that, I've got a good burn going on through most of it. After an hour, it's very draining. I was fatigued for a few hours when I was done yesterday. I don't really understand it, working out is supposed to energize you. And if you are fatigued, you might be working too hard, but I don't feel that is the case. I'm used to squatting my bodyweight or heavier, so doing 30lbs squats is extremely easy. It must be the faster pace.

Since Hanna has been working out with me, it's been such a blast! I'm really going to miss it when she goes back to school. She will probably be doing a lot less running, which she will be happy about. She won't have time for a run at night since that's the only time she'll have to train. I'd rather she stuck to her weight training routine and drop the running. I'm not going to be responsible for wrecking her metabolism with tons of cardio.

We've decided on a full body routine 3 times a week. And if she's interested (which I know she is) in adding a body part specific day, we can do that 1 day in addition. For instance, I know she is interested in getting more definition in her arms, so we will probably take a 4th day and make it a shoulder day. I wouldn't mind that either because I would love to build my shoulders more.

We are not doing body part splits because I just don't think that is necessary. Full body workouts are going to help her engage all her muscles and burn more calories.

Yesterday when we were working out, she was a completely different girl than she was the first week. She showed me how strong she really was. I always knew that she could lift heavier and handle more than she was doing. I was so proud of her! She was getting after it like I'd never seen her before. She was even asking me to try heavier weight (whoo hoo!). I was doing bent over rows with 40lbs, which is a tad on the easy side for me, but she wanted to see if she could press the weight on the bar. 40 lbs was a little much for her, so we lowered it to 30lbs. That was much better. And she loved it! She brought the bar up over her head again and again. I think she even surprised herself. Then she was motivated to try heavier weights with all her exercises. She went from whining about doing hip extensions to doing them with 30lbs. And from crunches to straight arm crunches with dumbbells! Everything she did, she tried heavier weight. I don't want her to jump too far and risk an injury, so I will keep her down to a proper weight. Plus, if you are lifting almost do your max, doing 10-12 reps of 13 different movements, 3 times through, it would be way too taxing on the central nervous system. So while it's kind of cool to have her try heavier weight and get an idea of what her 1RM might be, it's not something she will be doing at every workout.

So often I read blogs and articles that say "lift heavier!". But I think that can be some dangerous advice. Often times, people let their egos get in the way of proper training. For me, it's never been about the amount of weight I can lift. It's about the results I can get. If I can get results using 30lbs, why use 130lbs? And everyone's ability is different. My max load might seem wimpy to someone else, but that's MY ability. I'm not going to lift heavier than I can with proper form just because someone else doesn't think the weight I use is heavy enough to get results. I've seen and read about weight lifting injuries and I'm NOT going to risk it!

That's not to say I don't get excited about personal bests. It was a goal at one time to squat 100lbs. I was so happy when I was able to do that! Eventually, I was able to surpass that goal. But I don't lift that heavy all the time. One reason, is I don't want to injure myself. Another reason, is I know that variation is a necessity for growth. One week I might deadlift 125lbs for 6 reps and the next I might go down to 80lbs for 12 reps. Now some people might say that's wrong. To stimulate muscle growth, you have to challenge it with heavier weight than you lifted last time. You have to keep improving, keep pushing, adding more weight. But eventually we have to stop adding weight, that's just the way it is. Otherwise, there would be dudes out there that could lift cars. You WILL hit a max for your potential as a human being.

By switching the weight and reps, you'll be using a method that keeps the body guessing. I believe that the worst thing you can do if you are looking to improve, is bore your muscles with the same stuff day in and day out. I don't care who you are or what you do. Look at your workout, is it the same as yesterday? And the day before? And the week before? Is your body looking exactly the same? There might be a correlation.

The amount of weight you lift, the number of times per week you should train a body part, the number of reps you should use.....there is nothing set in stone. Because everyone responds differently to training stimulus, there will never be a magic number. The only way to find out what works for YOU is to experiment. Find the combination that produces results in YOUR body. There is TOO MUCH INFORMATION out there. We can become paralyzed by it. We can be overwhelmed and not know what we should do with all the conflicting information. While it's important to read and keep learning, it's more important to get off your butt and just do something.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


“S-U-C-C-E-S-S! That’s the way we spell success!”

My many years of cheer leading are coming back now. But why this particular cheer? Because last week, Hanna lost 3 pounds!!! The routine I have her on is working! I couldn’t be more happy or proud.

All of the complaining, all the whining, the crying, the arguing, the “whys”, and all the other constant battles we’ve had, have been worth it.

On our last workout of the week (Saturday), I warned her that I was going to push her HARD. I let her off easy earlier in the week because she had a sunburn, so I told her we were going to push it that morning. I told her, I’m not your mother or your friend right now, I’m your trainer and my job is to push you. I’m not going to coddle you, or feel sorry for you….I’m going to make you hurt. You WILL feel uncomfortable, you WILL sweat, you WILL be out of breath, and you WILL do this the right way.

I warned her…

I was watching her sloppy form; noodle arms and hunched back. And I corrected her. The first exercise was dumbbell squat to overhead raise and she looked more like she was bending over than squatting. Her arms were loose and bent. I told her how her form looked and how it was supposed to look. I showed her again and again. She tried again and again. I said, “You will not stop until you get it right. If that takes 100 reps….so be it”. Eventually, she got it. But it took a long time and she was not happy with me. On to wall ball squats. She was barely going down low enough to be considered movement at all. “lower” I said. Still not low enough. “LOWER!” I said again. Still, pretty pathetic. “LOWER!!!” I shouted. And she squatted and fell to the floor and glared at me, tears rolling down her face.

So I got down on the floor next to her and explained to her that if she is just going to cupcake her way through these exercises, not doing what she is supposed to do, not even breaking a sweat, she might as well not do them at all. No need to waste her time OR mine. Because she is not improving anything just going through the motions. Eventually she got up and starting listening to me and putting her heart into it.

We got through the workouts. She’s managed to stick to the diet. And she has seen success.

But even now, after she has seen the loss on the scale, and she knows that she needs to keep following my instructions, she tries to weasel her way out of the routine. I just have to keep drilling it into her head, over and over, that the routine is what is working for her. If she wants to blow it off, she’s not going to keep seeing results. And that seems to be enough motivation for her.
She starts swimming next Monday and that coupled with her at home workouts and proper diet should really accelerate her weight loss. I just hope we can keep training up once school starts, even though we will be doing it separately from each other. I will keep my morning workout schedule and then train her in the evening. It's going to require a little dedication on my part as well, but her happiness is worth it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

home made granola bars

I made these granola bars this morning because it was my intention to take the family to Maplewood for a day of walking around in nature and maybe getting a few good photos (both activities are on the top of my favorite things to do list). I thought it would be nice to have a healthy snack to energize us along the way. Unfortunately my hub's back wasn't feeling very good so we ended up staying home. But these bars are absolutely FABULOUS!

I love granola bars but hate to eat store bought because they are loaded with Lord knows what. So I'm usually keeping my eyes open for new recipes. Some that I've tried in the past have bombed miserably. These, however, turned out better than I could have dreamed. Great flavor and texture.

I got the recipe here.

Worth a try!

chocolate cake recipe (and it's healthy!)

I tried a new recipe last night and it was a complete HIT with my family - healthy chocolate cake with a secret.

(photo and recipe from link below)

Looks delicious, right? Yeah, the cake was moist and the frosting perfectly creamy. So what's the secret? Ready for this.....? Black beans. That's right. No flour in the cake whatsoever, instead, there are beans. Crazy right? But it works!

The next thing I want to try is avocado chocolate mousse! I'll let you know how it goes ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A or B

Ok, so have you seen this floating around Facebook lately? These types of pictures always spur big emotions from people and it's very interesting to read the many comments posted below pictures like this. The majority of people say they find the Dove models more attractive because they are more like "real" women.

Soo....the Victoria's Secret models aren't real? They aren't attractive? Come on. Granted they are photoshopped, they are still beautiful and have nice bodies, or they wouldn't be VS models, right? And they probably work really hard to keep their bodies in the shape that they are in. It's their job, after all. Yes, they look incredibly thin, especially next to the larger bodies below, but you can elongate model's bodies in Photoshop to make them look even thinner than they already are. I do a lot of work in Photoshop with pictures of my family as a hobby, and I know the power of this software. It's AMAZING.

I am a thin girl. I weigh 112lbs. My jeans are a size 4. And I EAT!! But it angers me a bit that the majority of people out there wouldn't consider me a "real" woman or attractive because I am thin. Yet we preach that we shouldn't give girls the wrong idea when it comes to body image. We would never say how unattractive an overweight woman was because that would be just wrong, why isn't it wrong to say that someone who is thin isn't attractive? Maybe some people who are thin can't really help it. Sure, some people work really hard to get and stay thin, but not all.

I get the point. They are trying to say that you don't have to be a size 0 to be beautiful, and I totally agree with that. But to me it also says, if you are too thin, you can't be in the "real beauty" club. And that is just defeating the purpose of this campaign. Where's the naturally thin girl in the Dove ad?

I think all the women are beautiful. And the things that make a woman beautiful don't stop at their bodies. I was shopping a few weeks ago and this woman who was assisting me was seriously drop dead gorgeous. And she was on the larger side, very voluptuous and curvy. But she was beautiful! She had a beautiful face, beautiful hair, nice make up, nails and clothes. But more than that, she was super kind and had a winning smile. She looked happy and confident. When you project that kind of aura, no one is going to give two shits about your size. If you want to be beautiful, you have to have to project it from the inside out.

Something to think about....