You may feel like spring has just arrived, but if you look at your calendar, summer is just around the corner. At the end of May, swimming pools around the country will be opening up, and you will be forced to make a decision. Are you confident enough to put on a swimsuit in public, or are you going to sit by the pool and in your regular clothes?
Before you make this decision, you have an entire month to work on getting your body in better shape. One month doesn’t sound like a very long time, but with some consistent effort, it can do wonders for your body.
This month we’re doing a Swimsuit Season Sprint Challenge to get you ready for pool time. We’ve created a 30 day workout calendar specifically designed to target your abs, legs and arms to help you look amazing in your swimsuit. Along with this, we’ve provided a cheat sheet that provides you with images and details for each exercise.
We’ve given you all the tools you need to get in shape, all you need to do is follow the calendar and you’ll be more than ready for swimsuit season.
As a mother, it’s hard to get your kid to eat all the healthy amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains and healthy protein they need each day. You can tell them over and over again what they should eat and how much, but is usually doesn’t sink in. After fighting this battle for years, my husband found this image that has really helped. By looking at this picture, my daughter can easily choose well rounded meals throughout the day.
At every meal, she simply looks at the chart and can create a meal that fits within the parameters. This allows her freedom and choices within healthy boundaries. After all, isn’t that what we as parents try to do with our kids? We teach them how to make their own healthy choices. Just print it out and keep it on your fridge, and in no time at all, your kids will learn how to create healthy meals for themselves.
Happy Monday! Spring is in full swing. It’s the time of year when new life appears. Trees are budding, flowers blooming, chicks hatching and baby animals are being born. Speaking of babies, I just had a baby a month ago. My six week recovery period is almost up, and I am eager to get fitness back into my routine.
After baby is a common time many women are springing back into fitness. Here are some things to consider when you begin exercising again.
- Start slowly. It’s really important to listen to your body as you begin working out again. Pregnancy and delivery demanded a lot from your body and so it is important to not overdo it when you start exercising.
- Avoid crunches until your stomach muscles have fully healed. Abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and if you begin abdominal exercises too soon it could make the separation worse.
- Walking does wonders. Walking is gentle on the body, burns calories and you can include baby. It’s a big win all around when it can seem difficult to fit in a workout.
- Strengthen your core with plank exercises. This can also help strengthen your abdominal muscles without compromising further separation.
While you may be eager to get exercising, remember to be forgiving to yourself. This is definitely a time to ease back into a fitness routine.
After a long run, your body is very fatigued and needs to fully recover from all the stress you put on it. As a half marathoner, I know from first hand experience how important this recovery is. When I’m in a hurry and don’t take the time to allow my body to recover, I pay for it for days after with soreness and pain. I’m going to share my top 3 post run recovery tips that I have found to work every time.
1. Drain Your Limbs: Right after you finish your run, lay on the ground and prop your legs (keeping them straight) against a tree, bench, couch or wall. Raise your arms straight up in the air and hold that position for up 2-5 minutes. You’ll feel some tingling, which is a good sign. As you run, your venous blood pools in the bottom of your legs and at the ends of your arms. This will make your limbs feel heavy and swollen. By draining them, your circulation gets back to normal, and your muscles can recover faster.
2. Drink Water: Anytime you run, your body sweats and gets rid of water inside your body. After your run is over, you need to replenish that water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. This water will also help your muscles recover faster, and help you avoid dehydration.
3. Eat Protein: When you exercise your muscles for a long period of time, the muscles begin to break down, which means you need to build them back up again. The protein you ingest works to rebuild the broken parts of your muscles, and get them ready for your next run. Any type of protein works, so plan ahead and have it ready to eat when you finish your run.
Exercise can be a complicated thing. You have to decide which type of exercise to perform, what clothes to wear, how long to exercise, what to eat before, what to eat after, and how much weight to lift. One very important factor that often gets ignored is how to breathe. We do it constantly every day of our lives, which is probably why it gets overlooked. This seemingly simple thing can make the different between a great workout and a horrible one.
As we work out, our muscles are in need of oxygen to help them perform their functions. If they don’t receive this oxygen, they can’t flex and contract as needed. Learning how to breathe at the right times will help your muscles perform at their full potential. As you lift weights, it’s important that you exhale during the most difficult part. The same goes for any type of strength training.
As you run, make sure you take even breaths, about every three times your feet hit the ground. If you are running for distance, not speed, you should be able to maintain a decent conversation with complete sentences as you run. If you can’t talk at all while you run, you are going too fast and need to slow down.
It may be weird at first to focus on your breathing during exercise, but the more you work on it, and the better you get at controlling your breathing, the better workouts you will have.
Happy Monday! With spring weather, many of us are taking our workouts to the outdoors. All of the runners that seem to have been hibernating all winter have emerged, and I see them frequently pass by each morning and evening. Runners tend to get into a pretty set routine. I can predict who is going to run by my house and when. I know what direction they will be running. If you are a runner, do you get set in your routine?
Adding some variety to your running routine could really help you not get bored and even push your workout to the next level. If you are running the same route every day, your body gets used to it. With the predictability, it could get boring and you may slack off and not get all you could be getting out of your workout. Here are some tips for changing up your running routine:
- Run Your Route Backwards – Every other week switch up your routine by running your route backwards. The path you’ve been running is, more likely than not, uneven. Running it over and over could cause problems with your body’s alignment and pressure on certain joints. By starting at the end of your route and working toward your usual beginning, you expose your body to new terrain. It also can make your run a little more interesting.
- Run with A Prop – Every now and then adding a prop can help you use different muscles and push yourself further. Take a soccer ball to a field. Kick it and then run to it and kick it again. You could also dribble a basketball as you run. Frisbee is another great prop to bring along. Toss it, and run to try and catch it. You’ll get in some good sprinting that you wouldn’t normally do.
- Hit the Trails – Running somewhere you usually don’t run is good for both your mind and body. Softer terrain than concrete can afford a very different running experience. It will keep you alert mentally and also be softer on your joints.
What do you do to switch up your running routine?
Yesterday I wanted to bake up a treat for my children, but did not have a lot of time. This vanilla shortbread was the perfect compromise. It can be made up quickly. The baking time is the longest part of the process, but the dough comes together in about five minutes.
One thing I love about this recipe is that it does not make a huge amount. Because it only makes an 8×8 inch pan of shortbread, once I share it with my family there isn’t much left over. I love that because while this isn’t the healthiest treat in the world, there won’t be more tempting me to eat it later.
When you hear the word monotony, what do you think of? Do you think about grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills and doing dishes? Do you think about your daily routine of going to the gym, driving kids to soccer games, or sitting at your desk all day? Each one of us have boring things we do time and time again that drive us crazy. If exercise is getting boring for you, it’s time to mix things up!
The next time you go to your gym, skip the treadmill and try a machine you’ve never tried before. Spend a half hour on the rowing machine or stair climber. Skip the dumbbells and go for a medicine ball or kettle bell. If you are a runner, try a new route, or do intermittent sprints instead of one long run. If you normally workout in your living room or garage, try going to a local park and do circuit training with the playground equipment.
Anytime you try something new, it provides a new challenge and surprises your muscles. This will help you burn more calories and increase muscle mass at a faster rate. Just like our minds get tired of the same old thing, our muscles get tired and bored with the same exercise. Try something new and you’ll have more energy and get in a great workout!
Happy Monday! It can be difficult to have the motivation to get up and workout in the morning. However, for many people a morning workout is the one that is most likely to become a habit and part of their lifestyle since there are few things that could interfere schedule-wise. Here are some tips for getting in an early morning workout.
- Prep the night before – Prepping the night before can make the difference between getting in a workout and having an excuse to stay in bed. Make sure the night before that you have gathered all of your workout clothing. If you really have hard time getting up try sleeping in your workout clothes so all you have to do is put shoes on in the morning. Place your shoes by the door if you are heading out to a gym or morning run. If you are working out at home pull our your dumbbells or place your workout DVD in the DVD player.
- Do what it takes to get out of bed in the morning – Set your alarm to go off with energetic music. If you hit snooze too quickly, place your phone or alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Start with a short workout - If you’re completely new to early morning workouts begin by planning a short workout. Try first by getting up 15 minutes earlier. Ease your way into a longer workout once your body gets adjusted to waking up early.
- Go to bed early – It’s going to be much more difficult to get your body pumping in the morning if you didn’t go to bed until midnight or one.
- Plan a rewarding breakfast – Don’t eat breakfast before you workout. Make sure that you do get a drink of water. Depending on your preference you can have half a protein bar or half a peanut butter sandwich before your workout, but you don’t want to have a full stomach. Planning a breakfast you’ll look forward to eating after your workout can help motivate you to work hard and finish strong.
Do you workout in the mornings? What helps get you going?
When it comes to food, I am a big fan. I love to eat food all types of food, including the green healthy vegetables that many people don’t like. I love asparagus, Brussels sprouts, kale and even spinach. But my two very favorite green health food items are arugula and avocado. I love the unique bite of arugula and the subtle creaminess of avocados. When I came across a recipe that included both of them, I just had to try it!
The recipe is simple and only requires a handful of ingredients. You start off with bread (pumpernickel or whole grain), and you toast it. Then you top the bread with arugula and sliced avocado. Finally, you poach an egg and put that on top with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. In one bite, you get a salty, creamy, smooth and crunchy mixture of flavors that can’t be matched. You also get a really healthy meal made from fresh ingredients that will keep you full for a long time.
If you’re looking for a new lunch time meal, I highly recommend you try this Avocado Arugula Egg Sandwich. Beware, it is addictive!