Saturday, November 26, 2011

6 pack Ab/cardio workout

I had an awesome Thanksgiving weekend. I hope all of you did as well.  I always enjoy being with family and enjoying good food.  I was able to get ALL my workouts in plus a couple added ones for good measure.  I will say, I'm glad it's over. It's time for a little damage control.  This is the ab/cardio workout I do every week.  It's tough, and it's set up as 6 circuits.  The idea is to complete this work out in 45 minutes.  My PR is 49 mins.  Yeah, it's tough.  Try to rest as little as possible but don't compromise form.  Keep your core tight and back straight. (belly button to back)  Good Luck!

Weighted crunch  3 sets of 10 reps
Stability ball crunch 3 sets of 10 reps
Stability ball Jackknife 3 sets of 10 reps
at this point you can rest 45-60 sec

Jumping jack 2 mins
Running high knees 30 sec
Plank 30 sec
rest 45-60 sec

Mountain climber crossover 3 sets of 10 reps ea. side
Stability ball plank touchdown 3 sets of 10 reps ea. side
Russian twist 3 sets of 10 reps ea side
rest 45-60 sec

You will then do a HIIT session
Walk 1 min/ Sprint 1 min 5 sets

Side plank 3 sets 30 sec ea. side
Weighted v-up 3 sets of 10 reps
Plank twist 3 sets of 10 reps
rest 45-60 sec

Lateral hops 3sets of 30 sec
Burpee 3sets of 30 sec
Squat jumps 3 sets of 30 sec

Don't forget to stretch and cool down. This is an intense work out and it will defiantly challenge you. I hope you enjoy it! I DO!

CONTEST: This one is simple. For every person that you get to "like" my new Facebook page, you get 1 point! just make sure you let me know who they are for full credit

"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence."
~ Vince Lombardi


Monday, November 21, 2011

The misunderstood CARBS

First of all, thanks for voting on the polls this past week.  I have to admit, the carb question was kind of a "trick" question. All of you got half the question right by answering, "depends on what carbs you eat".  The other half of the answer is, "depends on WHEN you eat them".  Now remember, this is all information I have studied and practiced myself.  I'm not a nutritionist but I think most would agree with me. Let's get into it! 

So many people have this preconceived notion that carbs make you fat.  This is NOT true! It's the over consumption of calories and not enough exertion of energy.  Carbs are in fact essential to your weight loss goals. They are the main source of energy for your body. They help regulate your body’s blood sugar levels.  There are two classifications of carbs, simple and complex. Simple carbs are easily digested and include foods like, fruits and honey.  Complex carbs are more of the starchy foods like whole grains. Now, some of you are wondering, "how much do I GET to eat?"  The answer is; it all depends on your goals.  For fat loss and muscle gain, carbs should generally make up the highest % of your macronutrient calories (50%-70% daily).  1 gram of carb is equal to 4 calories. Here is a list of carbs. Ideally you want to consume most of your daily intake from the upper part of this list.

·    Legumes: kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, lima beans, red beans, marrowfat peas, chickpeas, pinto beans, butter beans, navy beans, lentils
·    Fruit: apples, oranges, apricots, peaches, pears, grapes, kiwi, mango, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, rhubarb, plum, pineapple, papaya, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries
·    No-sugar added apple sauce
·    Light Yogurt (no sugar added)
·    Other Vegetables: artichoke, beets, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash
·    Whole Grain Breads: 100% Whole Wheat, Pumpernickel, Rye, Oat Bran, Buckwheat, Barley Kernal
·    Other Grains: barley, basmati, quinoa, 100% whole wheat tortilla wraps
·    Oatmeal, oat bran
·    Sweet potato, yam
·    Wild rice, brown rice
·    Couscous
·    Cornmeal
·    Cereals: All-Bran, Special K, Cheerios, Fiber One, Bran Chex, Bran Flakes
·    Pasta – any type
·    New potatoes
·    Corn, Peas, Parsnips
·    Bananas
NOTE: I NEVER count my fresh veggies! I eat as much of those glorious things as I can.

Now, let's talk about the "timing" of carb consumption.  There is tons of research out there that shows that
Glucose tolerance is highest in the morning. So, enjoy your oatmeal! Now, ideally the perfect scenario would be an am work out.  You would have your breakfast with a large portion of your carb intake about 1 hour before your work, and your post workout meal (1-2 hour window) would carry most of the rest. PERFECT! This is because your body, post work out, is prime for carb consumption just like in the a.m.  Now if you absolutely can't work out in the morning you can tweak this a bit. Have most of your carbs for lunch and afternoon snack, and then have the last bit post work out. Just remember, the absolute best times to consume carbs are in the morning and post work out!

Now, with Thanksgiving this week try to be extra active. If you aren't a major gym junkie and won't be hitting up the gym on Turkey day, go for a walk instead of taking a nap after the big meal. But, ENJOY your day, you deserve it! I will have your damage control 6 pack abs work out ready for you by the end of the week. :)

I just wanted to say how thankful I am for my health and the health of my family. It has been a good healthy year. I'm also thankful for you in sharing my passion for health and fitness.

"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary."
~Margaret Cousins~

CONTEST: Find my new page on facebook HERE and hit "like". If you aren't a facebook user, just forward this on to a friend and don't forget to let me know so I can give points. This will be worth 5 points!
Just a heads up, I'm thinking about doing a mid-way give-a-way! So, keep in mind that every time you "share" my post or blog or get someone to "like" my page on facebook, you get a point. (Just let me know you did it)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shapely Shoulders

First things first. Now, I was asked a great question in the comments of THIS post. Here it is, "I voted on both too. thanks for telling us about the way you set up your workouts. would you maybe write out an example of what days you work what muscle groups or do you do whole body training most days? and do you do abs every day or just one day? thanks amy! i am loving all your helpful advice:) "  -Jackie
Thanks Jackie for following me and for asking that GREAT question!  My answer is, I do full body workouts everyday with an emphasis on a major muscle group. With that said, I work my abs everyday, however there is one day I focus  the majority of my work out on my abs. Every once in while I do concentrated work outs to build a particular area or group. So, I'm giving you a 15 minute shapely shoulder work out! Do this work out with enough weight to challenge yourself. It's perfect for at home as well. If you don't have weights grab 2  big cans of spaghetti sauce and get to work. It's set up like this...

Shoulder press- 3 sets of 10 reps, rest 60 sec  & repeat 2 times
1/2 bent over lateral raises- 3 sets of 10 reps, rest 60 sec & repeat 2 times
Y press- 2 sets of 18 reps, rest 30 sec & repeat
Arnold press- 2 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 20 sec & repeat

I demonstrated these lifts here...ENJOY!

Ok, I love feedback! Please give this a try and let me know what you think!

I can't help but over hear women talk about their weight loss progress. When one friend asks, "How much did you lose this week?" The other responds "Only one pound!" then they continue on about how disappointed they are and how they want so much more. Well, lets put that one pound into perspective shall we...Take a look at this!

This is what one pound of FAT looks like...I'll take one pound of fat loss any day OR week!

Perspective ladies!

Here is a little trick I would like to share with those of you who may be struggling with what you eat.
Take a picture of what you eat, BEFORE you eat it. You don't have to post it or share it with anyone. Just look at it before you dig in. What this does is make you think about what you are eating. Take a second to think about what your support system would think about this meal. (whoever that person or group is) This will help slow down your impulse to eat whatever and whenever...Try it!

I will leave the polls open a few more days! Don't forget to vote!

CONTEST: Do this shapely shoulder work out and then let me know what you thought! 5 points Also, recruit a friend to follow my blog. They don't have to join the contest. Just let me know what new follower is your "recruited" friend. 10 points 

Thanks and remember...

Strong is the new beautiful - Nike

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Less rest/ More work

I'm not a big fan of cardio. I only hop on a treadmill to perform HIIT or to cool down/recovery. Some people love cardio and that is great however, keep in mind THIS post. So, some of you may be wondering how I keep my caloric burn and heart rate up. Well, I incorporate my cardio into my weight training. Some of you who I may run into at the gym will notice, I don't stand around, chat, or take rest periods lasting longer than about 45 seconds. My work outs are designed in super set format, and I usually perform 4+ circuits. This keeps my heart rate up the entire time and I continue to burn calories longer post workout. Now, on my strength training days, I do something a little different because my goal isn't focused on burning fat it's to build strength and muscle. The burning fat just happens. So, I add whats called a dynamic interrupt. These come in real handy when you are waiting for a piece of equipment that is being used when the gym is too crowded ;) It's designed to keep your heart rate up. So in between circuits I perform a series of body weight exercises. Such as; jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push ups, lunges, squats and plank. It usually lasts for about 2-3 minutes. Visit HERE for a leg workout you can use as a dynamic interrupt.
In summary, cut your rest time down, stop socializing, stay moving, and push yourself! You will see results!

I will be posting a shoulder work out this weekend to start off your new week next week!

CONTEST: vote on both of my polls for 5 points! Just make sure you let me know you voted. (easy) I'm working on a post and it's based off these results!
If you are new to the contest, I have labeled all posts with, "contest". These posts include small challenges that help you earn points. You can also use that to get caught up!
Don't forget to check the comments from THIS post! There are some awesome recipes! Thanks to all who shared!

Thanks everyone!

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."
~John Quincy Adams~

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to NOT pack on that Holiday weight...

This is my most favorite time of year! I love the colder weather. I love sweaters, boots and scarfs! I love being with family and celebrating all of the holidays. I also love the FOOD! Who doesn't? I have some tips that will help you keep those holiday pounds at bay and help you enjoy every minute while doing it. Let's get started!
If you aren't active now, get active! Start moving, get to the gym or hit the pavement or even put in that DVD, whatever it is that you do, DO IT! Make it a priority to stay physically active throughout the rest of the year, and don't wait until New Year's to "start over". These are a few reasons why: First, this time of year can be VERY stressful! The best way to combat stress is through exercise. While you exercise, "feel good" endorphins are released. You will enjoy the feeling of self accomplishment and experience a clear mind. This is SO important this time of year! Second, you will sleep better. Who doesn't need a better quality of sleep? We can be so busy with holiday errands and parties. We need to understand that sleep is critical to not only beating stress but to weight loss and management. The third reason why exercising now is important, you will burn those extra calories you WILL be consuming! If you aren't exercising, you will gain some weight! That is a promise! Exercising will help you truly enjoy this season while looking and feeling great!

This time of year can be a time to help those in need.  This is something that can also help you. Let me explain.  Now this is Holiday Weight Management 101 by Amy Blue. This is something I believe to be true.  Some of the reasons we over eat may be feelings of depression or boredom. Some people experience these feeling  more so during this time year, and as a result more weight is packed on.  I personally believe that if we wrap ourselves up in serving those around us, we simply forget our own issues or our personal burdens that may be making us feel down, suddenly don't seem as hard to bare. There is a feeling that comes from serving others that you can't get from exercise or eating right. Also, by filling up our free or unproductive time with service we avoid eating out of boredom. So, please incorporate service one way or another into your everyday tasks. It will change your season and your life.

All the wonderful FOOD is the biggest problem for me. Who else has a hard time saying no to chocolate in any form? I love this, "I would give up chocolate, but I'm not a quitter". Anyway, back to FOOD in general. Now for most people staying on a diet or avoiding eating anything not so good for all together is very unrealistic.  Understand this, it's ok to enjoy all of the yummy holiday food. However, there are a few ground rules. Everything in moderation. Don't eat until you are uncomfortable. Pick and choose, don't have a full serving of everything! Make healthy choices when you can. For example, volunteer to bring the veggie tray instead of the cookies. Make your food from scratch. Stay away from processed quick and easy meals. That way you can regulate what goes into it.  There are also plenty of healthy substitutes that you can use in your recipes.
Try these:
Sugar-Stevia  You can buy a large bag of stevia anywhere and it measures out just like sugar. We used it to make bread and it works great.
Sour cream/cream cheese-Greek yogurt   I have replaced sour cream all together with all natural plain Greek yogurt. It's high in protein and very low in fat.
Vegetable oil-Applesauce or Coconut oil  It depends what you are using it for.

Try to be creative with your meals and incorporate fresh veggies and fruits. Eat less of the processed foods. You will find fresh just tastes better. There are tons of healthy recipes out there...have fun experimenting.

CONTEST: Please share any other healthy substitutes you use that aren't listed above and receive 2 points. Share an awesome HEALTHY holiday recipe and receive 10 points!

One mistake a lot of us make is, we drink our calories.  So many of us are soda drinkers, juice drinkers, or one of my weaknesses, hot chocolate. All of these are high in calories and have NO nutritional value. You can keep the weight off by drinking WATER! Ok, with that said, the same rules apply to your choice of holiday beverage as your holiday meal.

Most importantly, just stay in tune with your body and don't over do anything. Take time to relax and enjoy your blessings this season.
"Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."
~Robert G. Ingersoll~
Thanks to all who are supporting me in this contest. I have had an overwhelming response and I'm humbled. If you have yet to join in on the fun, do so! Visit HERE  and get started. It's fun and super easy! Remember, any time you forward on a post or share my blog, let me know, you get 1 point. The more you share the more points you receive! You can leave me a comment or e mail me at
Thanks again :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outside Inspiration!

I think Amy is an inspiration to a lot of moms. I'm so glad she agreed to share her story here...
Hi there! I'm Amy J from 125 Before 25 and Win, Lose, or Blog and I'm so excited Amy asked me to guest post here today. I've known Amy and her cute family for a couple years and I admire Amy's determination to get her body back after each kid. I, on the other hand, have always struggled with my weight. In college, I steadily gained weight until I got married...since then it's been up and down a little over the last 5 years. At the end of 2010, I hit my max weight and size...both numbers I swore I'd never see myself at. At 5'3" I was a size 18 and 183 lbs.   
Buying a size 18 was seriously depressing for me, I told myself I'd never have to do that, but I did. It took me until April of this year to do something about it. I heard that Win, Lose, or Blog was accepting Season 4 applications and I sent one in.
Here are the really scary, I just woke up, take a picture of how fat I am pictures I sent in:
I was lucky enough to get selected as a Season 4 contestant. It was just what I needed to do to kick my butt into gear! For me, it wasn't just a contest, it was the start of a lifestyle change. I started counting calories and tracking fitness on I stopped eating out for the *most* part, I gave up all soda and I started the torturous task of not only losing weight, but getting my butt into shape.
I started running several times a week and did some kind of aerobic/toning exercise for an hour a day 5-6 days a week. The first time I ran it was death. I did about 30 seconds and thought I'd fall over, but I pushed through it until I ran my first 5K in July.
Over the last 6 months, I have lost 45 lbs. I had wanted to reach my goal weight of 125 lbs by my 25th birthday in September, but I came up 13 lbs shorts, which I'm ok with, because that just means the journey isn't over quite yet.
Here's me on my 25th Birthday:
I've gone from a size 18/XXL to a size 10/M.
Over the last 6 months, I've hit my slumps here and there and that's when I knew I needed to re-access some things. Either my diet or exercise was off. Sometimes it was as simple as not changing how many calories I was eating, but what I was eating. Not all calories are created equal. For me, I have to very careful with how many carbs and how much sodium I eat. I looove carbs and every now and then, it's easy to find myself filling my daily diet with more calories from carbs than lean meats and veggies. Other times, I knew it meant it was time to switch up my workout routine. Amy gives some great advice on this in her post here.
When losing weight, I think it's very important to set mini goals along the way, as well as a long term goal, but it's also important not to get discouraged if you don't reach every one of them. Something I've had to remind myself throughout this weight loss journey is that..
You can too!
I'm continually blogging my journey. Feel free to drop in and give me a little nudge to keep working towards my goal! Also, I'm now a team member for Win, Lose or Blog and you can find me there weekly as well as see current contestant battling through their weight loss journey. Check them out and cheer them on if you get the chance. Thanks for having me here today, Amy!
Thank you Amy! CONTEST: Leave a comment for Amy and receive 2 points!