Monday, September 30, 2013

Motivation. Running. Weight Lifting. Cycling. Oh my!

Here's a little motivation for anyone looking to perk up their booty. It's not perfect by any means, but I was very happy with the change I saw. See, you can be skinny and still have an unattractive physique. Flat saggy butts are NOT sexy!
I will always have knees that turn slightly inward even when I'm standing straight. I don't like it but I can't do anything about it. So I focus on things I CAN change - like my booty!
As JNL would say, "Glutes on salute!"

It's pretty far out of my comfort zone to show you pics of my rear, but I just want you to see how much of an improvement you can make if you are doing the right kind of workouts. I still have a long way to go to get to where I would like to be. But I'm definitely happy with where I'm at. Of course, if I had the will power to eat properly all the time, it would help out a lot.
I'm proud of my butt! I worked hard to build my backside. How? Heavy squats and lunges. I used dumbbells for a few years before graduating to a barbell. And it wasn't until I started using heavier weight that I noticed a significant change in the shape of my backside. The dumbbells are still great for you in terms of lean muscle and fat loss. But to really build it up, it's going to take many months, even years of heavy lifting. At least, in my experience that was the case. I read one time that it can take up to 2 years to build a butt. However, I've seen before and afters of women who have completely changed the shape of their butt in just 4-6 months. This requires extremely hard work and dedication to both heavy lifting and strict diet.
If you are willing to put in the work, pull up your big girl panties and lift the weight, you WILL reap the rewards! And you will have to get used to dealing with muscle soreness. Because it's just part of the package. But it's totally worth it. Don't underestimate the power of ice. I never ever used to ice my sore or pulled muscles until recently and it's been a life saver!
Oh, and here's something else. A couple of posts ago, I posted a link about overrated exercises. Well, I think I can tell you what a very underrated exercise is.....cycling! I kid you not, if you try a cycling class, it will kick your ass! And I bet you would get some pretty nice legs as a result. My trainer is also a cycling instructor and he gave us a taste at boot camp last week. Holy shit! It was very tough! You burn and burn and burn some more. It's not for pansies! But seriously, if you want to firm up your legs and get a good cardio blast while doing it, cycling is where it's at!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

weights GOOD

I had this post ready to go a few days ago but for some odd reason, my computer isn't letting me upload images. So, after days of trying and failing, I broke out my laptop and it worked from there. Not sure what the issue is. It's weird to think I have a college degree in computer programming, yet everything else about computers seems to be Greek to me. It frustrates the crap out of me.

Anyway, the first link is quite interesting. For me, most of the exercises listed here are not a surprise, although there was one that made me say "really?". Can you guess which one?

A list of the most overrated exercises. An interesting read.

And another interesting read for anyone running and running and running and not losing the weight like they thought they would.

This is not to dis those who like to run. I could care less what you like to do for fun. I like drinking wine for fun. But that's just me. It's the folks that are running to try and lose fat that I'm trying to reach here. Because it's not the answer, and I've been preaching this for years.

I just had a conversation with my boss the other day, who also happens to be a very great personal trainer. He was asking me how boot camp was going and I was talking to him a little about my weight lifting history. He remembers me in the gym every morning, busting it out. He said, "you were pretty intense". Yep. I was. And I had a kick ass metabolism as a result. I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. In fact, when I tried to gain weight, I couldn't because I burned through everything so quickly.

Anyway, to answer his question about boot camp, I said it was good but I hated the running portion. It's not much, but I don't like to do it, so I dread it when I know it's coming. I confessed that I wasn't much of a cardio lover. He said he wasn't either. And in fact, even when he is the most cut, he does no cardio at all. He also said that it amazed him how many people climb onto those machines day after day and never EVER change. Not doing anything to ignite their fat burning furnace. People still believe that the treadmill is where it's at.

I think that the belief women get "bulky" when they lift weights is probably one of those myths that in this day and age, has finally been put to rest. At least I hope it is! Because trust me ladies, if lifting weights made you big, I'd look like freakin' Arnold by now! It's NOT that easy. You have to work DAMN hard to gain muscle. I'm not talking about squatting with little 10lb dumbbells (although that would definitely benefit you more than running would - in terms of physique improvement). But it simply WILL NOT make you big.

To put it plain and simple, if you are just looking to become a smaller version of you, keeping your current proportions intact, even just dieting alone will get you there. Temporarily. And I say that because your metabolism will be slower and you will be smaller and not needing as many calories anymore so if you go off you diet, you'll balloon. Dieting alone is not the answer. Being "smaller" isn't good enough. You have to change your physique. And the only way to do that is to add muscle and get your metabolism working for you, not against you. How you do this, is lifting weights. Not cardio.

Ok, off my soap box now. Here are a couple of pictures that made me smile today:

Monday, September 23, 2013

I have met a goal!

Well, here we go. The start of another week. Last week was just freakin' crazy, yo! I'm talking, flat out, cra-shizzle. I don't know what that means, but I suspect it conveys my message very clearly. I was busy with work-work, home-work (there is a distinction), work outs, teaching XaBeat classes, errands and picking Hanna up from Tech every day. I wouldn't even mention that last one except for that it's at the WORST time possible for our family - 6pm. Why do activities always have to mess with dinner?? It's the one small portion of our day when we can sit down together as a family and talk without distractions. It irritates me like nothing else when school activities mess with my family time. Anyway, by Friday I was SO ready for the weekend. I had a quiet calm weekend and it was great. Makes it even harder to face Monday though.

I mention being torn a lot on this blog, and have done so since I was barely 110lbs trying to get "fitter". I would go back and forth between my love of eating whatever the hell I wanted and having a tight lean body. Some days one was more important than the other, and vice versa. It's the same now, only I'm 10lbs heavier. Maybe even 15lb - who knows. I try not to step on the scale anymore. All I know is, my "fat pants" that I bought when my regular pants were starting to get snug, seem tight now. OMG! What the hell is happening to me??!! Am I in the final debilitating stages of womanhood? HAHA....if you watch Futurama, you might recognize that line. Maybe it's all the sodium. Maybe it's all in my head.

I'm not trying to diet. I deprive myself of nothing. If I want cookies, I'll eat cookies. Whereas before, I would limit myself and deprive myself. Was I happy with myself? Yes and no. Mostly I wasn't because I always felt like I still needed to improve this or that about my body and I felt like I missed out on living like everyone else. But I did enjoy being small, in a way. There was very much a sense of accomplishment in that. I worked hard for it! And it felt so good to feel pants I couldn't even get up over my hips at one time, slide on with ease and feel loose! That part was very satisfying. It was my high.

These days, I'm trying hard not to freak out about my bigger body. It's a constant battle. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't need to fit into size 2 jeans anymore to feel self worth. I'm more than a jean size. Everyone on the planet thought I was too thin before and now I look better. I look healthy. I am normal. Still thin, just not unhealthy thin. I've done what I wanted to do (which was gain weight) and I knew way back when I started it was going to be a mental struggle when it finally happened. It didn't happen over night either. I tried for a long time to gain weight to no avail. My metabolism was so high. I literally pigged out for months before the scale moved. And not really even until I cut the exercise WAY down did I notice a change. The one thing I worry about now is how much damage I did to my metabolism. I mean, a little weight gain on my body is fine, but I don't want it to keep going.

That's why I'm trying to do a lot of metabolic density training. I'm not necessarily eating in a way that would fine tune my metabolism but one day, when I'm ready, that will come. I'm having far too much fun enjoying life. I have a glass of wine almost every night. I go out for pasta and wine with my girlfriend every week. Sometimes we go out for wine and appetizers too. Like I said, I eat dessert when I want it. I glop gravy on my mashed potatoes. And now I've got more padding on my hips and a soft round belly. But probably what shocked me the most is how comfortable I've gotten in my own skin.

I'm taking a risk with a tmi situation coming up, so be forewarned. But when my husband and I are together, I don't try and suck in my stomach like I used to back when I didn't even need to suck it in. I don't push his hand away when he caresses my thighs or backside. I feel womanly and beautiful. There are still times when I get frustrated and think "what have I done to myself?!" because I want to wear something in my closet that is now too tight. And I think of all the years of hard work - GONE! Almost like it was all for nothing. That part is sad. But I try to think of how much better things have gotten and how I've really grown to love and accept myself. It's wasn't easy.

I still talk about fitness and will probably try to shave off a few pounds now and then. It's just how I am. But I want to keep my attitude about it all pretty chill. There is no finish line and I am not in competition with anyone or anything. I want to keep loving life the way I have been. Great food, great friends, great times. And my home life has been wonderful on top of it all. Things are about as good as it gets, and I'm happy. Goal accomplished!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Home made

Home made food is always more work to prepare. You have to find recipes and make them from scratch. But you will definitely know what you are eating and can adjust it to your needs.

I am always looking for new tasty recipes. I get some really great stuff via email subscriptions and here is one I'd like to try. From the author of Wheat Belly...

Trail Mix Bars

These bars have many of the wonderful nuts, seeds, and crunch of a trail mix–but without the sugar load. This poses only a modest carbohydrate exposure, as the dates provide 4 grams sugar per date. However, if you are a marathon runner, triathlete, or other long-duration exerciser and would like to use these bars as your during-exercise carbohydrate source, they are easily modified to increase carbohydrate content to suit your needs. You can add more 2-3 more dates, for instance, or more raisins or apricots, ground in your food chopper or food processor in the first step. If you are not a long-duration athlete, leave these bars as is!

Ingredients for every 2 bars (e.g., multiply ingredients by 4 to obtain 8 bars):

 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
1-2 whole pitted dates
1 tablespoon walnut fragments
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sweetener equivalent to 1 tablespoon sugar or sweeten to taste
1 tablespoon coconut milk (full thickness), room temperature
1/2 tablespoon almond butter, room temperature

 Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dates and grind in food chopper or food processor until consistency of coarse coffee grounds. Pour into bowl.

Add walnut fragments, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and sweetener and mix thoroughly. Taste batter to ensure degree of sweetness. Stir in coconut milk and almond butter by hand. (If almond butter is too thick, microwave prior to adding to mix in 15 second increments to obtain a liquid consistency.)

On parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, divide dough into two parts (or into as many bars as you desire). Shape into bar shape with the flat edge of a butter knife.

 Bake for 60 minutes. Remove and cool.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

3 Exercises you should NEVER do to lose weight

1) crunches
2) long slow cardio (whether it be elliptical or treadmill, etc)
3) toning exercises (such as tricep kickbacks) There isn't enough resistance to produce results.

You would have to do 22,000 crunches to lose 1lb of body fat. And hurt your back and neck in the process.

You would have to run 50 hours to lose 1lb of weight. And not necessarily fat. In other words, you would have to run from 8am - 6pm Monday - Friday. OMFG!

And why? Article in Obesity Review explained that cardio doesn't work for 4 reasons.
1) Some people eat more. I know I do! It's because your body NEEDS the carbs to fuel that long ass workout.
2) Calorie burning at rest decreases with cardio. This explains a lot.
3) Lean tissue is often lost. You know, the stuff that actually helps you BURN fat at rest.
4) Cardio causes you to do less activity over the course of the day.

When you spend hours doing cardio, you wreck your metabolism. Mayo Clinic Proceedings Journal concluded that there are potential harmful effects from excessive endurance exercise. Apparently those long cardio workouts can cause dangerous changes in your heart and large arteries. It creates *patch myocardial fibrosis and could lead to arrhythmias. One of the lead researchers & a cardiologist at the heart institute of Saint Luke's hospital says if you want to run a marathon, do one, and cross it off your bucket list, then move onto exercise that's more ideal to producing long-term health benefits and improving your longevity. So basically, long bouts of cardio is not only horrible for fat loss, but it can cause irreversible damage to your heart. I'm sure the run happy community will just scoff at this anyway. Do what you love.

I have a dear true friend who uses an elliptical and will do it at 2 hours a crack and I literally cringe when she tells me this. I've tried to mention these things I am telling you now, but she insists that this is how she has lost weight in the past. The one problem with it is that she rarely can motivate to get on that machine for 2 hours every day like she wants to. Because she dreads it, I imagine. Seriously, who wants to be on a cardio machine for 2 hours? And how much weight has she lost in the past month that she has had the machine? I'll let you guess. It breaks my heart because I love her so.

I just went through training to become a XaBeat instructor. XaBeat is an hour long cardio class so you might think me a hypocrite. But if you haven't been to a class, you probably don't know anything about it. We use intervals and there are tons of full body, muscle defining movements like squats involved. Just yesterday, a Body Attack instructor came to class and afterwards, congratulated us on making her sweat. She said, "I don't normally sweat" and she was drenched! For me personally, I love it because I like to dance and it is so fun and high energy. Also, I love meeting all the lovely ladies that come to class. It's women motivating and inspiring other women. It's about bringing out our sensuality and confidence. (sorry, just had to do a little promoting there!)

Today, I started my second round of KBBC (Keith's Brutal Boot Camp). It was an hour spent doing intervals. A then B then A....and on and on for an hour. No breaks.

A) 2 minute run
B) 2 minute exercise (jumping jacks, push ups, squats, plank crawl, etc)

This type of training is what works for fat loss. It's called metabolic density training and it sends your metabolism sky high for days after the workout! When you start exercising correctly, you create biochemical changes in your body, that increase the number of specific enzymes which burn more fat for energy, and increase post exercise burn. Which is why I had a body composition test done today. I am going to be interested to see what the change is after 1, 2 and 3 months!

So this guy, Craig Ballantyne, is the Turbulence Training guru. He has 15 years experience and done extensive scientific tests on this stuff. His research is proven. And the reason his type of training works so well is because it's easy to do a short workout every day. You don't dread a short workout. Even if you know it will be intense. It's easy to stick to. So if you want to check it out, Bing Craig Ballantyne. Or like Turbulence Training on FB. Incidentally, I got my information today from one of his vids.

Or you can stick with what you're doing since it's working so well for you ;)

* Patch Myocardial Fibrosis - a condition that involves the impairment of the heart's muscle cells and belongs to a class of diseases collectively known as fibrosis, which denotes hardening or scarring of tissue