Monthly Archives: April 2014

Carb Cycling

Carbohydrates Weight LossI recently read Chris Powell’s “Choose More, Lose More”. I’ve carb cycled before and really enjoy eating this way. I’d say carb cycling is definitely useful and helpful and will give you results. You can use this to help you use weight, but it’s also a great way to live.

What is carb cycling? Carb means to alternate between high carb and low carb days.  Just like we’ve talked about before you eat 5-6 times a day 2-3 hours apart. On high carb days you eat carbs, on low carb days you eat a minimal amount of carbs. Here’s an example of what a week of carb cycling might look like:

Monday: Low Carb

Tuesday: High Carb

Wednesday: Low Carb

Thursday: High Carb

Friday: Low Carb

Saturday: High Carb

Sunday: Free Day (High Carb Day)

If you’re interested in learning more check out “Choose More, Lose More” to learn more.

 

The Scale is a Fickle Friend

Weight ScaleEver since I started eating healthier and exercising regularly, I began checking the scale regularly to keep track of my progress. Seeing the pounds drop week after week was a huge incentivizer for me. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, even when you’re doing everything right.

It has been over a year since I dropped 50 pounds and achieved a healthy weight. Since that time I have had to work hard to maintain my weight. If I slack off for a week, I see it on the scale. I’ve started referring to my scale as being “friendly” or “not friendly.” On days when my weight is where I want it to be, I say the scale is being friendly to me. When I don’t like what I see, the scale is definitely not my friend.

Unfortunately, even when I do everything right the scale often times is unfriendly to me. So, I’ve learned that just like people, scales aren’t always reliable and don’t always respond the way you want them to. At times like this, remember that the scale can’t tell you how healthy your heart is, or how good you feel. Although it’s a good tool to use, it’s not everything.

Just Get Through the First 6 Weeks!

Mother kissing babyNo matter how many years pass by, or how many children you have, a woman never forgets what it was like to have her first child. Entering into the brave new world of motherhood is exhilarating, scary, exhausting and unlike anything else. Regardless of how many books you read, or how many people to talk to, nothing can fully prepare you for what lies ahead. Lucky for you, millions of women have gone before you and survived, and so will you.

Although the mental struggle of having a newborn that is in constant need of your time and attention can be very difficult, the physical demands placed on a woman’s body can be even greater. In a matter of a few weeks, your body goes from hosting a child inside your uterus, to pushing it out, then starting the process of recovery and changing your body back to it’s original state. At the same time, your body starts producing milk for your child as you suffer from sleep deprivation, varying levels of depression, possible constipation and hormones that keep you in a constant state of emotional flux. Is it any wonder why women need each other’s help and support during this process?

This is the time when a new mom can be strengthened by knowing she’s not alone and that everything she’s going through is completely normal. In my experience, the first 6 weeks are always the hardest, and once you make it through them, things start to look up. The important thing to remember is to listen to your body and don’t do too much too soon. You may feel a strong desire to get back into your regular exercise routine soon after your baby comes, but this could do much more harm than good. Get as much sleep as you can, eat healthy food that gives you plenty of energy, and drink lots of water. In no time at all, you’ll be feeling like yourself again and ready to take on the world!

Getting the Most out of Protein Shakes

Shaker and protein powderWhen is the best time to have a protein shake?

Most days I get up early go for a quick run and lift weights. I come right in after my workout and make my protein shake. Drink your protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout to get the maximum benefits.

 

We also need a carb to get the full benefits of our protein shakes so I’ll usually have a slice of Ezekiel bread or some oatmeal along with my protein shake. I find that this gives me the protein I need and keeps me feeling full until the next my next snack.

An Oldie but a Goodie

health club: group of people doing aerobicsWhy is it that Step Aerobics have been around for so long? Does it have something to do with gyms not wanting their step equipment to go unused? Do women take step classes because they like to spend time with friends? Although there may be some truth to these reasons, I’d venture to say it’s because step aerobics has proven to be an effective form of exercise for over 25 years.

What exactly is it that makes step aerobics so effective? First of all, the act of stepping on and off an object works several different muscle groups. These include all the muscles in your legs and glutes, and those in your lower abdominals and lower back. If you add arm movements to the motion, you now include muscles in your arms, shoulder and upper back. Put all these movements to music, and you have a great overall body workout that is fun, social, and rewarding.

You should give it a try!

Does Running Really Cause Bulky Thighs?

Running sport fitness woman - closeupBefore I became a runner, I can honestly say that this question never came to my mind. Even after I started running, this was never an issue. It wasn’t until after I had been running for a while that I realized the running was actually slimming my legs. My main purpose for running was to lose overall weight (especially around the midsection) and get in better cardiovascular shape. As both of these started to happen, I noticed my legs getting slimmer as well. What an awesome surprise!

Despite what some people may have heard or believe, regular running should not cause your thighs to bulk up. By regular I mean someone who runs no more than 15 miles a week and runs at a steady pace. This would be considered regular aerobic exercise which results in the burning of fat, and the losing of weight. If you run more than 20 or so miles each week, or run at a sprinting pace, things will change.

Sprinting is an anaerobic exercise, which does build power and muscle. This is why Olympic long distance runners have thin legs, and sprinters have thick legs. They’re developing different types of muscles (slow twitch vs. fast twitch). Slow twitch muscles are used to maintain moderate physical activity over a long period of time, while fast twitch muscles are used for short, powerful bursts of energy that don’t last as long. Long distance runners use slow twitch muscles, while sprinters use fast twitch muscles.

So, if you are looking for long and slender legs, stick with the moderately paced regular runs that will help you burn extra fat and stay in shape.

Make the Most of Your Day

Strawberry and banana smoothieDo you ever feel like you’ve been running around all day, but haven’t accomplished anything? I know as a mom I  feel exhausted at the end of the day. I often times feel like I don’t exactly know what I’ve been doing all day.

Here’s my remedy for this problem:

At night before I go to bed, I sit down with my notebook, and think through the next day and everything I need to get done.

I pick the three most important things I need to get done. Next I set my day up hour by hour. I fill every hour in for the entire day, making sure the three most important things I’ve listed are my top priorities.

As I accomplish the things on my list, it feels so good to cross them off. (I know most people do this on a phone now days, but I LOVE to cross and scribble things off with my pen:))

If you don’t accomplish everything on your list, don’t get down on yourself. Whatever you didn’t finish today can just be moved over to tomorrow. As you continue doing this you will see that you accomplish so much more when you plan this way. Just make sure you get your number one thing on your list done everyday, and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.

Don’t forget to schedule when and what you’re going to eat throughout the day. Schedule your workout, just like it’s an appointment.

Now at the end of the day you’re wondering what in the world you did all day, you have a record of all of the hard work you’ve done!

The little things really DO make a difference.

Woman shopping at the supermarketThere are some days when I feel like nothing I do really makes a difference. Do you ever feel that way? No matter how many times I go grocery shopping, there’s always something else I need to get. No matter how many times I do the dishes, soon enough, more will need to be washed. Just when I feel like I’m  in a good rhythm with my workout schedule, something comes up and throws it all off. In these moments, it’s easy throw my hands up in the air and give up all together.

Ok, I admit it. Some days I really do this and give myself a break from the monotony that seems to have me bound. But on a day like today, I choose to look at things from a different angle. Yes, the dishes NEVER go away, but that’s because I’m fixing healthy meals for my family. Yes, I would be the happiest person alive if I never again had to set food in a grocery store, but at least I have thousands of healthy food options right at my fingertips.  I may not always get in the workout I had hoped, but when I get any type of exercise throughout my day, I feel better.

In the end, most of life is monotonous and boring, with an occasional awesome day thrown in between. Having a happy life is not about being perfect, it’s about appreciating the good along the way. If you celebrate your little successes, they will turn into big successes over time.

SMART Goals

what are your goals?It’s important to always have a goals. Pick a few short term goals in different areas in your life. Use your short term goals to help you reach your long term goals.

Having fitness goals can help you whether you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle. Pick a goal, whether it’s running a 5k or a 10k or training for your first triathlon.  Use the SMART goal setting technique to help you plan and set your goal.

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time Bound

Make sure you write your goals down, and then start sharing your goal with your family and friends to help create accountability.

What are your goals?

 

Why Can’t I Get Rid of My Back Pain?

Acute pain in a woman back. Female from behind holding hand to sFor several years, I had chronic back pain that became quite a nuisance. Although the pain was not constant, it would come and go on a regular basis, which I found to be very annoying, and inhibiting. As I started to eat healthier food, and exercise regularly, I slowly began to lose weight. Over time, i  was able to get back to a healthy weight, and an unexpected side effect occurred. My back pain went away!

In hind sight, I realized that the added weight was putting undue pressure on my back, and causing the chronic pain. What a relief! As I look back on that experience, it reminds me that being overweight causes so many health problems we don’t even think about. These might include back pain, knee pain, difficulty breathing, and insomnia. If we want a healthy back, we need to maintain a healthy weight and exercise our back muscles to keep it strong.

The take home message is this: If you have a health concern, take a good look at your diet and exercise regimen to see if that could be improved. Everything we do to our bodies, and everything we put inside them has an affect on how they perform. Our bodies are amazing machines, and if we take of them properly, they will run like well oiled machines.