Monthly Archives: December 2013

Be Ready For Tomorrow

Water bottle by pool. Exercise and hydration concept.As we start the new year, let’s start off right. Being prepared –knowing what you are going to eat, and when you’re going to workout, as well as what your workout will be, is more than half the battle.

I love to workout early in the morning so that I know it’s done. I know that early morning workouts don’t work for everyone, but no matter what time of day you plan to workout, being prepared to workout will insure that it really happens.


Here are some things I do to get myself prepared for the next day:

 1. Set your workout clothes out for the next morning before you go to bed.

Have your gym bag packed

Fill your water bottle with water so it’s ready for your workout

 2. Set out the clothes you plan to wear the next day.

If you have a full time job this may not be a problem for you, but I’ve had plenty of days spent in my gym clothes–cleaning and grocery shopping and hoping I don’t run into anyone I know. If you set your clothes out, it’ll be much easier to shower and get ready when you finish up your workout. After I have a great workout, shower and get ready for the day, I always feel good about myself.

 3. Know what you are eating the next day.

Spend one day a week creating a 7 day calendar so that you know exactly what you are going to eat. This will make it much easier for you to make good food choices.

 4. Be proud of yourself.

Before you go to bed at night, reflect on your day and be proud of what you did right, and decide what you can do to make tomorrow even better.

Morning alarm clock 5. Set your alarm.

If getting up in the morning is a problem for you, set your alarm somewhere far away from your bed. This will force you to get out of bed to turn your alarm off.

6. Wash your face!!

When you’re tired and trying to wake up, wash your face and brush your teeth. This will help get you going.

7. Find a workout buddy.

If you’re getting up early to workout, find a friend to meet and workout with. This will give you much more motivation to get out of bed.


Special for You! A 30 Day Challenge

30 day challenge screen shotI put together a 30 day workout challenge that I thought would be easy to follow and easy for a novice or more advanced exerciser to follow.  I also wanted to create a workout that could be done in your home or at your local fitness center.   The pattern I chose has a lower body, upper body, core, cardio and recovery day.

I wanted to try to isolate the different body areas so as to allow one to really put a maximum effort to that particular area.  Every workout starts with a warm up.  This could simply be jogging in place to jumping jacks.  I would chose a light warm up activity that incorporates as many different muscle groups as possible.

After the warm up, I included a stretch.  This is a very important step that should not be over looked or skipped.  Stretching has been proven to prevent injury, promote muscle growth, and can aid in recovery.  It also signals to the muscles that they are about to be engaged into an activity.  Additionally each workout is completed with a cool down stretch.

Day 1 begins with a series of lower body movements.  I chose plyometrics, squats and mountain climbers.  For those who are not familiar with plyometrics, it is a series of exercises that get the muscles to exert a maximum amount of force in a short period of time.

For example, box jumps are a form of plyometrics.  You simply stand in front of a sturdy box or platform in an athletic stance and then jump up onto the platform.  You would then immediately step off the platform and repeat the jump.  This is an advanced exercise and should be treated with caution.  Make sure you feel comfortable with the height of the platform and that it is stable.  The squat exercises can be used with or without weights.

Mountain climbers are preformed by getting in a push up position and then bringing your knees to your chest in a running motion.  Combining these exercises will increase your speed and stamina, as well as create great definition in your legs.

Day 2 focuses on the upper body, specifically the chest, shoulders and arms.  It starts with a series of push ups with different variations.  You start off with a regular push up and then work into a V pushup.

A “V” push up is simply preformed by bringing your hands closer to your feet, creating an inverted V shape with your body.

The next set of push ups are called Diamond push ups.  This is preformed by bringing your hands inward from shoulder with where the index finger and thumbs are touching.

The last set of pushups will be inclined.  This is simply completed by placing your feet on an elevated surface and then perform a standard pushup.

The final exercise is a tricep dip on a chair.  This is completed by placing your hands on a chair with your back to the chair, then lowering your body down and then back up again.

Day 3 is your core day.  This day consists of regular sit ups, crunches, twists, and leg lifts.  There is also a plank exercise where you will get in the pushup position, but using your elbows and forearms as a base.  Keeping your abs and core as tight as possible, you hold your body in a flat position for the required amount of time.

Day 4 is a Yoga and light stretching day.  Use this day to recover and get the lactic acid out of your muscle groups.

Day 5 is back to a lower body based exercise.  You will perform lunges, this can be done as a walking lunge or a standing lunge.  Next you will have high knees.  This is completed by running either in place or regular run but you will be bringing your knees up to waist level height.

Burpees are the next exercise on the list, they are preformed by starting in a standing position, and then you squat down to the point that you can place your hands on the floor.  From here you kick your feet out to a pushup position.  Next do a standard pushup, and quickly bring your feet back up under you.  Next completely stand back up and that is one completed burpee.  Day 5 is then completed with a set of squats.

Day 6 is a straight cardio day.  This is completed with a 30 minute jog.

Day 7 is a back and bicep day.  The two exercises here are a set of pull ups with a wider over-hand grip  and a Chin up with a narrow reverse grip.  Many people would assume these exercises are one in the same, but in reality they are different exercises that work different muscle groups.

That is week one of the workout.  Each day is then shifted one day over in the 7 day period and there is a slight increase to the number of reps that you complete as part of the workout.  I would suggest that you do 3 complete sets of each day’s workout.  If you want to increase the intensity of the workout, do not take rest breaks between exercises or sets.  You can also add some form of resistance if you want to increase the difficulty.

I hope you enjoy it, I know it can produce great results if you stick to it and increase your intensity each week.

Surviving My Highschool Gym

Humorous weightlifting workout images with adorable teen boy. ClMy weight training and fitness days began back in high school.  When I was a freshman, all of my friends started to develop physically and I did not.  I grew to quickly hate the weight room because it meant that I would have to face the embarrassing fact that I was not as strong or developed as the other guys in school.  This continued until my senior year when a teacher/coach of mine invited me to lift with him after school.  I told him I couldn’t lift very much and he assured me that was ok, that we were just there to spot each other.  I still wasn’t very big or strong, in fact when I graduated high school, I was about 5’9 and 125 lbs.  I continued to work out with my coach and after about 3 months, I started to see some gains.  It was exciting, not only was I getting stronger, I was starting to show results in my body.  Finally!!

Once those gains came, I caught on fire, I quickly went from a gym hater to a gym rat.  I would spend as much time as I could in the weight room.  I was still skinny and not as strong as the other guys in my class, but at least I had gained some confidence.

Around the age of 20-21 I finally hit my growth spurt.  To say I was a late bloomer would be an understatement.  I went from 5’9 to 6’1 and my weight jumped up from 125 to 190.  I grew so much and so fast that I actually had a doctor tell me he was concerned I would hurt my spine.  Luckily I didn’t, in fact just the opposite happened.  Because I had established a strong foundation, my body responded to the combination of natural growth and the weight room.

Over the years, I have tried to stay as consistent as I can.  I have also tried to play with my body to see how I can change it and adapt my training to achieve varied results.  Working out has become a great stress reliever and even a type of sanctuary for me.  It has become a place I can go to put away the stresses of life, and I have gained some great friendships because of it.  I can’t imagine my life without it.

Stop the Madness

diet Plan. diet plan, pencil and apple lying on a wooden surfaceHave you ever felt like your life is a tornado, constantly spinning around you, almost always out of control, and you’re standing in the middle of it with no way to escape? As a full time mom, full time home school teacher, and part time employee, this description sums up how I feel a good portion of the time. Some days I just want to throw my hands up in the air and give up, but that is not possible. Life gets busy, things get crazy, and we need to learn to adjust and make the most of it.

In an effort to stop the madness in my home, I have tried a few techniques that seem to work when done properly. The first is to plan ahead for events that seem to cause the most stress. In our home, this includes meal time. Planning for, preparing, and eating healthy meals as a family is always a challenge. To help with this, I’ve begun meal planning as a family one week at a time. We sit down together, discuss possible meal options, select the ones we want, then make a list of the meals for the week, and a list of grocery items that need to be purchased. Each person in the family gets to choose at least one meal so everyone feels represented. Cooking meals is also done together to encourage unity and teach cooking skills. As we cook, we discuss the nutritional benefits of the food we’re cooking to further educate everyone about nutrition.

Ever since we’ve begun involving the entire family in the cooking process, I’ve noticed more cooperation and less complaints when it comes to eating meals. When everyone has a say in what is being cooked, they take on ownership for their part in the process. It’s also helped everyone pay more attention to what they’re putting in their bodies. This is not to say that the complaints have completely disappeared, but they have certainly decreased, which is fine by me. If you’re looking for some fresh new recipes to try, has hundreds of healthy recipes to check out.

A New Twist on Holiday Favorites

Eggnog at ChristmasToday my husband and daughter put up all our holiday decorations in anticipation of Christmas day. As we opened our Christmas boxes from the garage and pulled out ornaments, stockings and lights, countless memories flooded my mind as I remembered all the wonderful holiday seasons I had growing up as a child, and as a wife and mother. There’s just something magical about this time of year.

Like most people, many of these memories include sweet smelling goodies my mother used to make, or the taste of hot chocolate as it warmed me up from the cold. No matter where you live or what holidays you celebrate, there always seems to be an element of food involved. Unfortunately, most of the food I remember, although very delectable, was also laden with calories and fat. Now that I am a mother and more conscious about my eating habits, I am accepting the challenge of finding yummy treats that are more healthy for me and my family.

A few years ago this would have been more difficult, but with my recent emphasis on plant based cooking, I have become much more familiar with healthy alternatives to traditional recipes. I have found some amazingly delicious holiday treats I can make for my family that are actually good for them. One of my favorites is Egg Free Eggnog. It tastes just as good as traditional eggnog but contains no eggs or cream. This is just one example of great recipes you can enjoy throughout the holidays. With a little extra effort, you can keep your family healthy and this holiday season.