January 18, 2011

wanna run to help someone out?

If you live in Utah, and want to train for or run a 5K, I've got a great one for you. It'll be in Utah County, and the sign-ups are here: http://www.active.com/running/eagle-mountain-ut/running-for-home-2011

This run, Running for Home, is sponsored by one of my neighbors. They are a fabulous family who want to raise the funds it will take ($40k) to adopt three siblings into their family. You can read more about their adoption journey HERE. These are great people who deserve great things to happen to them.

See you there!!

January 17, 2011

muscle-building monday

Today we're doing what I refer to as Jumping Lunges, and if you know how to do a lunge, then a jumping lunge won't be too hard to explain. (If you're unfamiliar with lunges, click here to read a how-to on lunges.)

Try this exercise 3 times/week, completing 3 sets of 12 reps (6 per leg), resting 90 seconds between sets.

Jumping Lunges

Start with arms at your side. You can have your hands on your hips for balance to begin. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge position. Lunge down, bringing your left knee almost to the ground and making sure your right knee does not go past your right toes. (Your right shin should be parallel to a wall.) One way to make sure you are lowering yourself correctly is to watch yourself in a mirror; your spine/torso should be moving straight down with absolutely no side-to-side movement.

When you've lowered yourself to the down position, jump up by pushing through your right heel and left toes, switch positions with your legs, and land softly on your feet. Now your left foot should be in front of you and your right leg should be behind you, again in a lunge stance.

When you do your "soft landing" after you jump, do not stop moving. Immediately (but with control) lunge down, and then jump again, switching the position of your left and right legs. Control your landing so your feet land softly and your movement to the down position of the lunge is also controlled and smooth.

One main purpose of this exercise is to use your core (abdominal and back) muscles to control your movement so you're not falling to either side but you are still maintaining a fluid motion while lunging, jumping, landing, lunging, jumping, landing.

January 14, 2011

distractions CAN be beneficial.

We're always told to FOCUS when we have a goal. Focus on the end-result. Focus on the steps it will take to get to that end-result. Without focus, it's easy to lose sight of how that particular goal is going to be achieved. Focus, focus, focus.

Sometimes focusing is overrated. And exhausting.

I need to not focus during some of my cardio workouts. Sure, there are times when cardio workouts need lots of focusing (i.e. training for a marathon, 5K, a triathlon, etc.). But when it's not one of those times, I need to let my mind wander. I need to listen to the lyrics of the music playing from my earbuds. I need to listen to the comical banter between the characters on my favorite show. I need to not focus on how much time or distance I have left to complete. I'm appreciative of distractions such as music and television. These cardio workouts become a way for me to enjoy exercise and relieve stress.

This isn't to say I don't pay attention. There have been incidents where I don't focus or pay attention, and I'm on the cardio machine for too long or not long enough or the workout was too easy. Failing to pay attention can lead to wasted time. I don't prefer to waste time unknowingly. Planning on wasting time, well, that's another story.

SO if you're sick of your cardio workouts already (remember your New Year's resolution?) try to not focus on your next workout and instead enjoy a rerun of Arrested Development or maybe your favorite soundtrack. This mental break can help you push yourself harder on your next workout without actually taking a physical break from your routine.

(Uhhhhh...but let's make sure we focus on our foot-placement so we don't do any face-plants, k?)

January 13, 2011

what about today?

you can always start your exercise routine today. just a thought.

January 12, 2011

back in black.

My favorite exercise/yoga pants are black. And I'm back in them. My hiatus is over.

I'll catch you up to speed. I was pregnant with baby #4. Starting around week 6 of the pregnancy the morning sickness kicked in, as it usually does. But this time, it lasted much longer; about 4 months longer than usual. There were migraine issues, blood sugar issues, and of course just being absolutely huge. My other pregnancies were very easy. This one was not.

Needless to say, I did not exercise. I laid on the couch. I ate what I could keep down and whatever would keep me from being "shaky."

I realized early on that looking at a computer monitor only increased the dizziness I would feel, so I quit all of my writing/typing jobs and was only on the computer for the absolute necessary. Like posting on Facebook. Heaven knows catching up on Facebook can take hours. (Kidding. Kind-of.)

Baby is now almost 5 months old, I'm back to exercising regularly (5 pounds of baby weight left to lose), and I can all kinds of healthy foods without dry-heaving.

Life is good. And I'll be posting more. Maybe even making changes to the blog's appearance. Stay tuned and get excited.

October 8, 2009

The airbrushing controversy continues.

I think it's important to keep people informed of tactics the media uses to create unrealistic pictures using airbrushing or other forms of retouching photos of models. These photos are everywhere, airbrushed to show an opinion of perfection in every form. The photos mold the model into something so fake and yet scream out to viewers that this is what they should look like to be considered beautiful. I don't agree with it at all - a beautiful person does not always include flawless skin, full hair, or a certain size. I'd rather be around a person who is kind and selfless than a sized 2 "flawless" model who can't hold a conversation without insulting someone. I'm a firm believer that beauty comes from within.

Because of my beliefs on this topic, I was glad to find this article on Yahoo!'s Shine website. It reports a well-known blogger who is pointing his finger at the infamous Ralph Lauren and scolds him for the way he portrays his models. The ad the blogger is referring to is a picture of a model whose waist is airbrushed so small that her head is actually bigger than her waist (not to mention her arms and legs which look siiiiiickly thin). Hopefully these types of spoken outrages will help lawmakers realize there needs to be a thick, strong line about what advertisers can and cannot do when doing retouching their photos. Click on the title below to read the full article.

"Image of ultra-thin Ralph Lauren model sparks outrage"

July 20, 2009

Muscle Building Monday

May I introduce my new FAVORITE lift: the shoulder press squat. There's probably a fancier name for it, but this is how I referred to it in the beginning so I would remember how to do it. :) I love it. I think I love it because I really have to concentrate to not fall over, and the more I concentrate on a lift, the more "enjoyment" I get from it. (Stop laughing at me. I'm being serious here.)

Shoulder Press Squat
works your shoulders, glutes, thighs, and calves.

Grab a weight bar or a dumbbell in each hand and get in position to do a shoulder press by bending your elbows to lower your hands to shoulder level, palms facing out. Squat down and inhale - you're ready to begin. As you exhale, push through your heels to come up from the squat until you're on your tip-toes while doing the shoulder press at the same time (push the weights in your hands straight up to the ceiling). You'll know you're timing it right when your arms almost fully extended (never completely extended) at the exact time you're on your toes. Slowly return to beginning position.

2 sets, 10-12 reps.

July 16, 2009

Exercising on a Budget

Years ago, I didn't have access to a gym or my own exercise equipment and I was bound and determined to figure out a way for me to still be able to lift even though I didn't have the budget to go make any purchases right away. Since then I've come across some friends and clients who were in that same position, and I could relate to their feelings of frustration! I shared those exercise failures and triumphs I had experienced and showed them some moves to try at home.

That time seems so long ago...like, almost 10 years ago. (Does anybody know an exercise to make time slow down???)

I've modified a few of those exercises over the years, figuring out what works and what doesn't. You can use inexpensive items commonly found around the house to help strengthen your muscles and get your heart rate up, but I posted my favorite one below, along with some exercises. Use these exercises separately or as part of a full body program.

Gallon of water. You know, the kind that have a handle on them and look like a plastic milk jug. Fill them with water or sand and weigh them to get an accurate measurement. Wa-la: homemade dumbbells.

walking lunges, holding H2O gallons in each hand
calf raises on stairs holding H2O gallon(s)
chest flies, bench press (use H2O gallons while lying on a bench, a bunch of pillows under your back, or the floor)
bicep curls, triceps extensions, shoulder press; all using H2O gallons

mountain climbers
jumping jacks

Just a few ideas to get you started. A few.

Do you have any modified equipment you've put together? As great (and cheap) as modified equipment can be, remember there are sometimes issues with safety. Not just any box can be used as a step box; those need to be big and sturdy enough to distribute the weight that's being placed upon it. If it's not sturdy enough, and you happen to step on the wrong part of the box, you'll fall. I've done it, and it's not pretty. So be careful when you attempt to make a piece of exercise equipment, but never give up. Something is bound to work!

July 13, 2009

Are you still RESOLVING?

"I'm going to exercise every day for 40 minutes."
"I will run 1.5 miles 3 times/week."
"I will not eat sugar."
"I will lose 15 pounds by June."

Roughly six months ago, people woke up to the new year with new goals, resolving to make themselves healthier in the year 2009.

Six months ago. Where does the time go?

It's time to rekindle the ol' flame of your resolution. What did you resolve to do in the year 2009? Are you still working towards your goal(s)? Have you achieved any of them? (Do you remember any of them?)

If they've gone by the wayside, it's time to remember, regroup, and replan.

Remember: What were your goals? What results did you want to see, and how were you planning on achieving those goals? Why did you stop?

Regroup: Get ready to make new goals for the second half of the year. They can be the same as your original New Year's Resolutions, or you can start over with Mid-Year Resolutions. Find some reasons to be motivated!

Replan: Obviously your previous plan didn't work if you have forgotten all about your resolutions. Why didn't your plan work? What roadblocks did you encounter, and how can you overcome those during the next six months? Don't just have a mental plan; write out your plan on paper, posterboard, your bathroom mirror. Acknowledge the roadblocks you have encountered or will encounter and ways you can beat them. Don't forget your support group and journal/blog entries for better accountability.

There is still six months left in the year, which is plenty of time to make healthy changes and achieve your goals. Don't give up on your New Year's Resolutions yet! Each new day is a great opportunity to start living well.

July 11, 2009

Today is 7-11.

Today is one of the "funnest" days of all: July 11. 7-Eleven. As in the convenience store. And everyone should know by now that they offer FREE slurpees on this day from 7a to 11p. Mmmm.....slurpees.

But is the free slurpee worth the extra calories and no nutrition? My opinion is, yes. Of course it's worth it, referring to a small or 12 oz cup. But that's just me and I'll happily tack on an extra 10-15 minutes of cardio so I can thoroughly enjoy a delicious summertime treat. :)

Here's the calorie amounts of your slurpee beverage:

12.5 oz White Cherry slurpee = 90 calories
12.5 oz Blue Rasberry slurpee = 90 calories
12.5 oz Cola slurpee = 105 calories
12.5 oz Mountain Dew slurpee = 90 calories
12.5 oz Pepsi slurpee = 82 calories

My fave is mixing the blue rasberry with red cherry. Blue layer, red layer, blue layer, red layer, lid on, blue up to the top. Insert straw. Delish.

*Yes, I'm aware there is a ton of sugar in this beverage. It's not healthy. But I have maybe 2 slurpees a year. I'm allowed a treat now and again, and so are you.

image from 7-eleven.com