April 29, 2008

"I really want to lose weight right here."

Have you ever said that while pointing to a certain region (or plural) of your body? I'm sorry to tell you, but Spot Training -- or losing weight in a specific part of your body -- doesn't happen. Usually the body rids itself of fat where it was most recently gained. Or, your body rids itself of fat wherever it decides. You personally don't have control of that. Yes, of course you can train specific parts of your body, but that does not increase the likelihood of the fat going away any faster.

If you've been lifting weights (strength training) then yes, your muscles are getting stronger and shapelier even though you can't see this due to the fat covering them. Think of it like this: cardio burns the fat that is hiding your trained, sculpted muscle. Be patient and continue your cardio and weight training. After some time and hard training, then you can point to that region and say, "I lost weight right here."

Best time for a workout?

A question was posted asking:
"Is there a 'best' time of day to exercise (morning, night, afternoon)?"

You can find all sorts of science to support whatever you want this answer to be. IMO, the best time to exercise is when you can get a great workout in your schedule.

Some people can't/won't exercise at night because the extra energy will keep them up at night. Sleep is an important benefactor to helping you lose weight and build muscle. (However, I do know plenty of people who can workout at night and it helps them sleep better. Every body is different.)

Other people can't/won't exercise in the afternoon due to work, carpooling kids around, etc.

Then there are those who can't/won't exercise in the mornings because they have a hard time getting out of bed or have to go to work super early.

Pick a time that's best for you. My preference is in the morning, but that's because my kids are very self-entertained, if not asleep, at that time. That's when I can get a hard workout with very little interruptions, and I have the rest of the day to utilize that extra surge of energy I get from exercise.

Just make sure when you do exercise, you get plenty of water before and after your workout. If you can drink water during your workout, that's very beneficial as well!

April 26, 2008

Muscle does not weigh more than fat.

Remember in secondary school (jr or sr high) science class learning about weight and mass? Whether on Earth or in space an object's mass is always the same, but its weight varies due to gravity?

Same applies here. There's a common misconception that "muscle weighs more than fat." Think about it -- 5 pounds of ice cream weighs the same as 5 pounds of lead. The difference, however, is the amount of ice cream it takes to make 5 pounds, and the size of lead it takes to make 5 pounds.

I found this picture to explain it a little better:

I think what people mean by "muscle weighs more than fat" is you can pack more muscle in the same space as you can fat, thus making the total amount of muscle in that space weigh more than the amount of fat in that space. Make sense? So tell your friends; muscle does not weigh more than fat. It's a law of science. :)

Full-body weight lifting program

If your exercise plan includes lifting weights three times a week, here's a great workout that's effective on your time and your muscles (don't forget it's 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down):

Push-ups (works chest)
Do as many push-ups as you can, positioned either on your toes or on your knees.

Squats and Rows (works glutes and upper back)
Stand with feet hip-width apart, heavy weights in each hand, palms facing behind you. As you squat down (keep your knees over your ankles and don't go deeper than 90 degrees), bring your fists to your armpits while squeezing your shoulder blades around your spine. Pretend you're trying to get your shoulder blades to touch each other. Release the weights to your side as you stand straight. (3 sets of 10 reps)

Lunges and Curls (works hamstrings, quads, and biceps)
Stand with feet together, heavy weights in each hand. Lunge forward with your right foot (keep your knee over your ankle and at a 90 degree angle). Your left knee should be just above the floor. When lunging down, curl your biceps by bringing your weights to your shoulders. Release your bicep curl as you bring your right foot back to your left foot. Now, step with your right foot backwards and do a backwards lunge as you complete another bicep curl. Return to starting position. 1 rep will include both a front and backwards lunge. (3 sets of 5 reps for each leg)

Plies and Extensions (works glutes, calves, and triceps)
Stand in a very wide stance plie position, toes pointed out, with a little squat. Your elbows are bent and next to your ears, medium weights in your hands, palms facing each other. Extend your weights above your head as you stand on your tiptoes. Return to starting position. (3 sets of 12 reps)

Push-ups (works chest)
Finish this workout with what you started. Take the number of push-ups you did the first time and add at least 3; complete that many push-ups, and then you're done for the day!

An easy way to lose 5 pounds

I lost 5 whole pounds yesterday -- that's right, in one day! Can you believe it??? I had the worse case of the flu I think I've ever experienced in my life.

As "exciting" as it was to see a lower weight on the scale, I don't know that I'd necessarily volunteer to have the flu to lose weight, ever. In reality, that weight loss isn't technically valid. It's mostly water weight, and I'll naturally gain it back over the next week as my body recovers and I can keep foods and fluids down. I can't wait to get my energy and strength back!

April 21, 2008

Dove's campaign for real beauty

The media has tragically distorted our view of what is beautiful. I've loved Dove's campaign for real beauty since it came out a few years ago. Don't let the media fool you into thinking you have to be of their standard stereotype to be beautiful. Live well and be healthy.

April 19, 2008

Interval cardio workout

This is just one option of an interval cardio workout. Remember, intervals shorten your workout and keep you interested!

Choose a method of cardio exercise (bike, walk, jog, elliptical, etc.) that you enjoy, and follow the outlined timed increments and intensity level:

Minutes/ Level of Intensity
5/warm up to medium
1/very hard
1/very hard
5/medium to easy for your cool down

*If you're interested in something more personalized (i.e. specific mph on a treadmill) post a comment, send an email, etc. and let me know!

April 12, 2008

Basic toned arms

I love toned arms; not necessarily chiseled, but toned. It shows persistence and patience. (*When directions say "count for 2 seconds" it is intended for you to take 2 full seconds to complete the movement; not hold the position still for 2 seconds.)

Twisting biceps curl (biceps)

Stand or sit up tall, arms relaxed, weights in hands by your sides, palms facing each other (hammer curl position). Slowly bring weights to your shoulders, twisting your wrist during the lift to make palms face your shoulders at the top of the move (count 2 seconds to lift). Slowly bring arms to original position, twisting wrists again so palms face each other (count 2 seconds to release).

3 sets
12 reps

Triceps press (triceps)

Stand or sit, bend 45 degrees at your hips, elbows touching your sides and bent at a 90 degree angle, weights in each hand. Extend your arm behind you so your arm is almost straight (count 2 seconds to extend). Return to beginning position (count 2 seconds to release).

3 sets
12 reps

Arm extensions (shoulders)

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms relaxed at your sides, weights in each hand. slowly lift your arms out to your sides until arms are parallel to the floor (count 2 seconds to lift). Slowly return to beginning position (count 2 seconds to release).

3 sets
12 reps

April 10, 2008

Plank Series (abs, glutes)

I recommend completing these exercises as follows: Forearm Plank (1 hold), Half Forearm Plank;Single leg abduction on the right leg, Forearm Plank; Single knee lift on the right leg, Side Forearm Plank Abduction on the right leg, Forearm Plank (1 hold), Half Forearm Plank; Single leg abduction on the left leg, Forearm Plank; Single knee lift on the left leg, Side Forearm Plank Abduction for the left leg.

**Repeat to complete the suggested number of sets as recommended in each plank description.

Forearm Plank

Lay down facing floor, resting on forearms and balls of feet with knees on floor, clasp palms together, keeping elbows in line with your shoulders. Straighten your knees so that your back and neck are parallel to the floor. Contract your ab muscles and hold still.

Hold for 30 seconds, rest by returning knees to floor for 30 seconds. Repeat to complete 6 holds of 30 seconds each. Complete this exercise 4 days a week.

Forearm Plank; Single leg abduction

Lay down facing floor, resting on forearms and balls of feet, clasp palms together and straighten legs (you're in a Forearm Plank position). Flex your right foot and lift it 12 inches off the floor. Slowly move it out to a 45 degree angle, and slowly return. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and try to keep your hips stationary.

3 sets of 12 reps per leg
4 days/week

Forearm Plank; Single knee lift

Lay down facing floor, resting on forearms and balls of feet, clasp palms together and straighten legs (you're in a Forearm Plank position). Bend right knee so it touches the floor. Flex foot so the arch is facing ceiling. Slowly press foot upward until knee is hip-height; slowly return knee to just above floor. Keep your shoulders and hips stationary.

3 sets of 12 reps per leg
4 days/week

Side Forearm Plank Abduction

Lay on on the floor with your left forearm, left knee, and the inside of your right foot to support you. Your left knee is bent, your right leg is straight. Slowly lift your right leg to a point of slight discomfort; slowly lower to just above the floor. Contract your ab muscles as you lift your leg. Keep all but your lifting leg stationary.

3 sets of 12 reps per leg
4 days/week

April 7, 2008


This up-and-coming blog is something I've been thinking of doing for a few years now, but never had the resources to do so (until now, thanks to blogging! I'm a little slow to catch on).

I plan to have different exercises, etc posted for any and all who want different ideas for fitness or nutrition, or how to change a lifestyle to one that is more active/healthy.

Feel free to leave a comment for suggestions, tips or questions that I can make a later post on.

Keep watching!