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

July 10, 2009

Vacation + Exercise = ?

I just got home from the family vacay in the mountains. At a resort. With a spa and two pools. Maid service. And a fitness room.

Ah, the fitness room. I saw the inside of the fitness room for a total of three seconds; enough to scan the equipment and know it was all there for my benefit. And then I ignored it. Yes, I packed my running shoes and necessary clothing so I really had no excuses to not use the room, but I sure made up a ton. The most often used was "I need to spend time with my kids while on vacation and away from everything else" (I didn't have a computer!). So I improvised and still got my exercise on, despite my absence from the fully-equipped fitness room.

Hiking: We took the "local" gondola up the mountain and walked the trails. Since my three little tykes are 6 and under, vigorous hiking wasn't really an option for us. One way to burn calories on a nature hike is to increase your speed. Power walking is a great way to burn calories especially as you walk on an inclined trail. Contract your glutes and take long strides while walking for an added burn, but be sure to watch where you step so you're not falling over loose rocks or fallen tree limbs. (Side note: You get bonus points for carrying a toddler on your back. Or some rocks in a backpack. You know, whatever works.)

Swimming: There were two pools we had access to, and one of them was pretty long. My youngest is in diapers and he's most comfy in a floatable-baby-boat-device-thing. With the pool always crowded and only 3 1/2 feet deep, I found that I could push his float around the pool while kicking my legs, alternating from a normal scissor kick to butterfly kicks to side scissor kicks. I could really feel them working after 5 consecutive minutes of kicks, and baby boy loved the fact that he was moving and could watch other swimmers. As an added bonus I didn't have anyone throw dirty looks (or words) my way because we were able to avoid bumping into other swimmers.

Staying in: There are, on occasion, times when you become stuck in your room or in the hotel. Times like these make it nearly impossible to avoid the fitness room. However, there are other things to do, such as running the stairs in the stairwell. Sure, you may get funny looks from passerby's, but you'll be burning more calories. You can also stick to a full body routine in the comfort of your room, but avoid laying on the floors. Yuck. Or you could put a clean towel down.

And if all else fails, take a deep breath, and go. To the fitness room.

July 2, 2009

Yahoo! posted an article that I found to be interesting:

"Mississippi's still fatest, but Alabama closing in"

First off, I think they could have come up with a better title. Second, the article speaks of obesity populations in different states, and which state has the least and most obese adults. Colorado came in with the least number at 18.9% of the population, and Mississippi has the most, with 32.5% of the population experiencing obesity.

Regardless of where you live, this statement from the article has got to make you worried: "And obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year, and no state experienced a significant decline."

Not one state experienced a significant decline, but on a positive note, last year's report found the obesity rates rose in 37 states. So at least it's slowing down a bit.