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A Week of Weight Training

I know what you are thinking when someone says “heavy weight training.”  The loud grunts and groans coming from the testosterone driven men as the try and lift a PR (personal record).  While this can make you regret your decision to try a weight training program let me tell you why to keep going!

I started weight training about five years ago when I needed to stop being such a cardio queen so I could get pregnant.  I needed an exercise that I could do without getting my hear rate up too high.  I didn’t know how much I would love lifting weights until I tried it.

It was something different. Something new.  It challenged my body in a a whole new way.  I love feeling strong.  I don’t just mean physically.  Weight training gives me a mental strength that makes me feel like I can battle whatever crazy children problems the day brings.

Cardio can push me to want to go faster or harder but there is something rewarding about watching the weights stack up as I get stronger and stronger each month.  Each workout can be something new.  Weight training allows for so much creativity that staying on a cardio machine lacks.  Don’t get me wrong, I still do cardio. I have a love/hate relationship with it.  That treadmill and I have had a few choice words back and forth on multiple occasions.

However, both forms of exercise have their health benefits outside.  Cardio helps with heart health and endurance as well as keeping the joints moving.  Strength training aids in muscle growth, which helps support the structure of the body.  This leads to better posture and balance.  When you can combine the two forms you will end up with the fat fighting workout you deserve.

Anyone can do weightlifting.  You don’t have to be thin and in shape already to start.  Weight training is all about starting out slow and increasing as you get stronger.  If you haven’t been active for quite some time you will just start with lower weight.  You will be surprised at how quickly you will gain strength.

To get you started, try out this week of weight training.  Each workout focuses on a certain muscle group.  You can combine any of these workouts with 15-20 minutes of any form of cardio.  Pick a weight that pushes you.  For more advanced fitness levels pick a weight that you really have to push through the last 2 reps on each set.  If you could do more reps than listed increase the weight.

Don’t be scared to go heavy!  Your muscles will thank you.

Day 1

Shoulder Workout

Complete all four sets of the exercise before moving onto the next exercise.

For a drop set, go down in weight one increment and repeat the rep count with no break.  That is one set.

 

Day 2

Chest and Back workout

Complete all three sets of the exercise before moving onto the next exercise.

Day 3

 

Bicep and Tricep Workout

For a superset, do both exercises in the set back to back then take a small rest and repeat.

 

Day 4

Leg day Burn

For a superset, complete both exercises back to back then rest.  For the Bosu push, find a place that you can push the Bosu ball for a good distance, about ten yards. Turn around and go back to the start.

Treadmill, it isn’t just for the casual runner

Another day, another time to sweat!  I have a quick 25 min treadmill workout that is waiting to push and challenge you physically and mentally.

Running on the treadmill can feel like you are running into a black hole.  I know from experience too many times.  Living in rainy WA and with a husband gone all the time I had to train for a half marathon on a treadmill.  The half marathon seemed way shorter than those 11 miles on that beast. However, I did what I could at the time and learned how to make the treadmill more bearable.

What’s my secret, you ask…? Intervals.

Adding speed and incline intervals will make those miles and time fly by.  Don’t just jump on and run mile after mile.  That will do nothing for your heart rate training or increase speed and strength.  Going further and faster is all a result of interval training.

Interval training is also a great weight loss tool.  Both high and low intensity exercise have their benefits.  Low intensity exercise pulls energy from your fat stores and can burn calories to make you leaner.  High intensity exercise tends to pull energy from the muscle glycogen (sugar or carbohydrates)  instead of fat storage.  When your glycogen is depleted your body needs to replace it from elsewhere, like food and the fat stores.  So now you have energy being pulled from the fat stores for the low intensity workout followed by energy burned from the glycogen for the high intensity workout which is then is partly replenished by the fat stores.

You get an extra fat loss!

For example, jogging at a steady speed for 30 minutes will burn roughly 300 calories, with half of those calories burned coming from your fat storage.  This will work in achieving weight loss. However, if you do a high-intensity workout for 30 minutes you can burn roughly 450 calories and 150 of that is coming from fat stores.  This workout would not only benefit your weight loss goal because you are burning more calories it improves your muscle strength.  And even better, the long term effect is your muscles get stronger and in turn need more fuel to perform, so they burn more calories!  Each has the same duration of time so why not make the most out of the 30 minutes you have?!?

When you can combine both high and low you end up with an intense fat burning workout that is worth every minute!

So hop on the treadmill and give this bad boy a try!

Elliptical HIIT

As always, the numbers do not fit into everyone’s fitness level.  These speeds are for a more advanced fitness level.  Decrease the speed and incline to match each other if you need to modify.  Adding any incline to your treadmill workout will add an extra workout for those amazing legs you’re transforming!

You will begin with a 5 min warm up.  Start with a fast pace walk  for a couple of minutes and then turn it into a jog.  You will then start the intervals.  You will work hard for 20 seconds and then jump off onto the sides of the treadmill using both hands for support.  This will be your 10 sec rest.  Always hold onto the treadmill as you jump back on and get running again before you let go.  DO NOT hold onto the handles at anytime during the run.  You will burn less calories and make the workout not as effective.  If you need to hold on, slow down instead. Don’t forget to BREATH!

Mom! What’s for dinner??

I can cook it, but don’t ask me to photograph it.

I know there are many that are a jack of all trades.  I like to believe that I can do anything.  I mean, I don’t doubt that I could if I put every moment into trying but how much do I REALLY, REALLY want to be good at food photography?

Now, when I say I want to be a jack of all trades I can confirm without a doubt I will never be a food blogger.  In the process of creating this blog I attempted some food photographing.  My attempt was laughable.  I took photos of food but it by no means was food photography.  My pictures made my cooking look like my 5 year old did all the work.  That just wasn’t going to make you want to say “Yum, let’s cook that for dinner.”  So despite my best efforts and lack of support from my amazing husband (who supported me 100% on the fitness blog) I decided it was in the best interest of everyone if I didn’t do the whole photography thing.  (Husband edit: You can’t teach a pig to fly; you can’t teach my wife to take photos.  Even Pinterest has its limits).

I want to give you the best possible nutritional information I have to help you achieve your goals.  This includes delicious and healthy recipes.  I have a pile of them to share.  I have found some I love, some I have altered so I can love it and some I have created and love.

So, what is my plan to get you the recipes you need?

Easy, link you to the other food blogger professionals!

Totally a cop out, I know.  I have plenty of recipes I will share and know that you will benefit from getting the recipe form the food blogger themselves.  I will, from time to time, post a recipe I have created but it will be just that, the recipe.  No fancy pictures.  Well maybe one of me inhaling it.  That is fancy!

So here is a list of my top 5 dinners that are quick and that my family loves them. BONUS!

  1.  Stuffed peppers.  So I kind made this recipe up. I found this recipe that is pretty similar to mine and she has some yummy pictures that I lack.  I add a can of black beans and 1 tbsp chili powder and replace the rice with quinoa.  The filling is so versatile! It is why I love this recipe so much.  I will make extra filling and put it on a sweet potato with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a yummy lunch the next day.
  2. Crock Pot Curry lentils.  This recipe makes enough to feed an army!  It is AWESOME! I usually freeze half and still have enough for dinner and a leftover night. You can add some grilled chicken or throw it over some brown rice if you need a heavier carb day.  Sometimes I just eat it alone with some veggies as a side.  It is a great dish to play a round with and change up. I really love the recipes from her site, Pinch of Yum.  Check them out
  3. Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin.  Now, I am one that loves to savor the taste of my creations.  To taste them just as they were cooked.  No fancy sauces or toppings.  If you were to ask   my husband, this is one of his favorite dinners. However,  You would have me fooled because of his constant need to smother it in gravy.  Please do me and your health a favor and just enjoy   the amazing taste this recipe offers WITHOUT the gravy.  (Husband edit: But if you really want to enjoy this pig…) This recipe comes from the Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook.
  4. Garlic Lime chicken.  This is one of the easiest recipes I have and sooooo good!  I found this recipe somewhere years ago.  Nothing tastes better than grilled chicken, in my opinion. You       can make it to be really simple and just add some veggies on the side or  saute some peppers and onion for fajitas.  I will take the leftover marinade and pour some over the peppers while         they are sauteing. It adds a great flavor! Lettuce wrap for lower carb day or on a carb balance tortilla for higher carb days.  
  5. Chicken and Rice Soup.  I found this recipes years ago while looking up recipes for leftover thanksgiving turkey.  It is incredibly delicious with leftover smoked turkey but I don’t have that year  round.  I switched it up and add chicken instead of turkey and sometimes I replace the rice for quinoa.  It is a simple soup with a lot of flavor.

Nutrition 101 or 102 or 103…Where do I start?

All of us fitness coaches, trainers and athletes know that nutrition is key and we will continue to tell clients that.  Do I tell my clients this?

Sure do!

However, it is easy to say nutrition is key when you know what works and doesn’t.  Nutrition can be the hardest part for many of us busy moms.  It is easy to get caught up in making sure the kids get off to school on time, come home clean the house and maybe take a shower all before the thought of even feeding ourselves will happen.  With nutrition the same rules apply as fitness.  Take time for yourself.  Make fueling your body a top priority.  When you can make that a habit, you will see your hard work pay off.

So, before we can even get into posts about you should and shouldn’t eat here are my rules when it comes to nutrition and how to make it not so complicated.

NEVER skip breakfast! We demand ask nicely for our children to eat a good breakfast before they go to school so why shouldn’t we before our day is in full swing?  Breakfast doesn’t have to be a fancy homemade low card, sugar free banana nut muffins with a blueberry glaze (insert eye roll). My favorite go to is an egg white breakfast sandwich. Nothing fancy and no special recipe. Just quick, easy and yummy!

Eat what your family eats. The only exemption from this rule is for breakfast and lunch. However, Don’t make Cheese stuffed ravioli and breadsticks for your family and you eat a salad instead.  This is so depressing and not the example you want to set.  If that is what you made that night, eat it.  Eat the right portion size and don’t over indulge.  You want to teach your family that eating healthy is good but not restricting.

What do you say when your kids ask “Why is mommy not eating with us?”  “Mommy is not happy and can’t eat that.”

HECK NO!

You learn and teach moderation and self discipline. Find alternatives to recipes and make them healthier.  It isn’t every night that the family gets to splurge!

Cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. While your totally ripped friend never eats sugar sometimes that isn’t realistic. Don’t compare yourself to them but instead make what works for you.

I LOOOVE me some sugar.  A fabulous cookie, good chocolate, cinnamon roll, ice-cream (I am talking the whole pint of ice cream) or some apple pie. Drooling…. I am obviously not a cold turkey kind of gal, did you notice?? What works for me is not cutting it out completely but choosing to limit my intake.  Others need to cut it out completely.  Find what works for you own it and control it. Don’t hid behind it.

Work to Eat. I live by this on a daily basis. Part of my motivation to workout and workout out hard is so I do not feel like I am a slave to eating the perfect nutrition every day.  Most of us women were not blessed with that amazing , eat what you want and not gain a pound, metabolism like most men.  Don’t get me wrong, age catches up to them and their metabolisms change. I won’t deny having smiled a little knowing my husband was now  “watching what he ate” due to him getting older.

Make food taste yummy and never boring. This is the number one problem that occurs with most of my clients and many people I have given advice to. Some people just hate to cook. I love to cook, bake and EAT.  It is what I would do all day long if I could. Cookies Baking is my specialty!  But for others the idea of making dinner is so exhausting they rather starve.

DON’T!

Healthy food can be fun, quick and so yummy.  This recipe is a favorite of my families and is prepared and in the Crockpot in 30 min or less.

Eat multiple times a day. Five times, no less. Your metabolism fuels off of calories that you eat. It can go into a sleep mode if you don’t continue to feed it.  When it sleeps you are not burning those precious extra calories.  Those are like gold to me. You want to keep it awake and busy.  This means you eat good foods every 3 hours or so.  Sweet, right?!? I knew you would like this rule!

Finally, plan a head. Make a weekly or even monthly calendar of your meals. I like to make a lunch and dinner menu. Knowing exactly what you need to make encourages you to actually do it.  Lunch can sometime be hard for me to squeeze in something that takes time so I prepare in advance.  I will have a day set aside to just cook the things I need for the week.  No, this is not me putting the exact same food for each day in Tupperware and refrigerating them.

Could that be any more boring??

I want to be excited about what I get to eat that day. Instead I will prep by boil a large batch of eggs, cook some quinoa and extra chicken breasts to throw into salads, or cook up sweet potatoes.  If I am being overzealous for that week I might even chop up veggies for dinner meals I have for the coming days.

Now, I don’t spend 3 hours cooking in the kitchen prepping for the coming week.  Just make extra when you do cook and refrigerate.  It makes the choice of eating the slice of delicious Costco pizza or eating your chicken and quinoa already prepared at home WAY easier.

This is a great menu I found that lets me plan my workouts and meals all on one sheet. You can get the free printable by clicking here.

 

That’s it.  Easier said than done, right?!?

Now, this is just the basics of what to do for nutrition.  There are so many more “rules” to follow when it comes to applying them to weight loss.  I won’t leave you wondering for too long.  Many more posts to come on nutrition but for now don’t get frustrated.  Start with the basics.  It is all up to you on how you want to change your body, mind and life.  Be the one in charge and in the driver seat enjoying the ride.  The back seat isn’t for you anymore.

 

Whoever said exercise could be fun wasn’t lying.

There it is.  That moment you first enter the gym after having never set foot in one. Or you are going on your ten-year reunion of no gym and the panic sets in.  Your mind starts telling you how impossible it will be and how horrible exercise is.  Images of YouTube epic gym fails flood your mind. Panic sets in.

Don’t listen to it.

It doesn’t know crap about exercise, until you show your mind how to love it.

No one person is the same which means no one person will love every form of exercise the same.  You can however find what you do love.  Finding the balance is key.  The balance between what needs to get done and what you love getting done.

There are so many fitness styles out there trying to sell you on their program or way of training.  They try to convince you that if you follow their plan you will be skinny and fabulous in a short time. 

Are they wrong?  Probably not. 

Will you enjoy it? Maybe.

I am not saying that this is the wrong way to get started.  I am the poster child for following a commercial “fits-all” training program.  At first, I started with at home workout videos which helped me start losing weight but now I rarely do them.  This isn’t because they didn’t work but because I didn’t love them.  They didn’t make me want to wake up and get my butt moving. I had seen results and had the fitness bug but wasn’t excited.  The videos started a spark but if I didn’t find something new and challenging it would fizzle out. 

Where would that put me?  Back where I started and I was not happy there.

So instead I turned to running.  I ran my heart out.  I loved it.  It made me feel accomplished and reset my mind for the day.  When I was running I would have time to think and a time to myself, away from being mom and wife.  It is an exercise I LOVED and could challenge myself with faster and farther.  I logged many hours on my treadmill and pushing the jogger.  Neither were my favorite but when the hubby was finally home for a day (love my military pilot, hate the job) and I could hit the trail on my own, I was unstoppable.

I know, I know…I probably am getting some eye rolls from you.  Not everyone is a runner.  I know that.  I dream of the days when I was running mile after mile. Now, ha! I love my 3 miles a couple of times a week.

So, how can this relate to you?

Let’s get you to fall in LOVE with exercise!

I had a client some years ago that I was lucky enough to take on an eight month weight loss journey.  She is an amazing example of positive change and finding love in exercising.  She lost close to 100 pounds through intense workouts and pure determination.  What was her love?  Zumba.  It changed her.  I tried it… it didn’t go well because let’s be honest, my dancing skills are worse than my two-year old’s.  Once, I took a class with her and she can testify to my severe lack of coordination and grace.  I tried, just like I have tried sushi, but it just won’t work for me.  However, she loved it so I created a program that worked around her love of Zumba. She had an amazing 90 pound transformation over the course of those eight months and years later she still kicks butt each day. With her permission she let me show you her amazing transformation.  She is one of my best friends and I continue to be inspired by her everyday.  Zumba got her to the gym each day; she found her love. 

With her permission she has allowed me show you her amazing transformation.

Before Dec 2012

 

After Aug 2013

 

 

When it comes to losing weight sometimes it is inevitable that you will have to do some form of exercise you don’t love.  From personal experience most of my clients don’t love, you guessed it, cardio.  I always tell them “you can’t hate it, but you can dislike it.”  Meaning, let’s make it fun and not tedious.  You don’t need to stay on one exercise machine for the entire time.  Throw small breaks and different intervals into the workout. Get off the machines and do a circuit.  I promise, there is no Netflix TV series that can make 60 straight minutes on the treadmill fun…

Don’t get stuck in the same mundane, old workouts every day.  Listen to your body.  If it is tired and bored, give it a new challenge.  Don’t just call it quits and say that fitness just isn’t for you.  It is that you have not found what moves you.  It is there, I promise.  We will find it and LOVE it!

Each one of us has a desire in us to be better than what we currently are; it is human nature.  It is the competitive nature we all love to hate.  Use that to find a love and passion for your new lifestyle.  You don’t eat things you dislike (Sushi – props to those who can stomach it) so why should you exercise in a way that makes you gag-like Zumba for me.  Change it up!  Go outside your comfort zone and try something new.  It might surprise you.  Bootcamps, kickboxing, aerobic dancing, running clubs, weight training circuit training and more.  There is SOMETHING for everyone!

So, let’s get you started.

 Full body workout?  Why not?!? Give this baby a whirl.

Full body strength circuit

 

 

You will do all four rounds and then repeat all rounds again 2-4 more times.  The first exercise in each round will be performed for one minute.  The other three exercises in the round you will do 10 reps each.

Round 1

Run with ball over head – Use a medium stability ball.  Pick a place that has a long enough area for you to run back and forth.  Lift the ball directly over your head.  Start running down and back while keeping the ball above your head.  Do not let the ball rest on your head

Squat w/shoulder press round – Start with feet shoulder width apart.  Squat down making sure that your booty is down, shoulders back and knees are over toes.  Hold the squat for the duration of the 10 reps.  While in the squatting position take a medicine ball and start with it held at your chest.  Push the ball directly out in front of you with your arms straight and parallel to your quads.  While keeping the arms straight and the core engaged lift the ball up over your head.  Bend the elbows and bring the ball back to the starting position in front of your chest.  That is one rep.

Wall squat w/outward bicep curl – With dumbbells in hand, begin by leaning your back against a wall and your feet slightly out in front of you and hip width apart. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your knees reach a 90 degree angle and your heels are pressed into the ground.  Hold this position for the 10 reps.  While in squatting position against the wall and dumbbells in hand, place your elbows directly into your sides above your hip bones.  lower your forearm down and out and then curl your arm back up.

Ab roll up – Begin standing with feet hip width apart.  Jump up high with arms above the head.  As you come down slowly lower yourself backwards into a sitting tuck position.  Roll backwards lifting feet lightly up and over your head and arms down at your sides on the floor.  Quickly Roll back up into the sitting tuck, engage the core and stand up.  That continuous movement is one rep. Try not to cross your feet as you stand or use your hands to help you.

Round 2

Burpee –  Start with feet hip width apart.  Extend your arms up over your head and jump.  As you land softly, bring your arms down and place your hands on the ground in front of you.  While engaging the core and drawing the belly button in, jump your feet behind you so you are now forming a plank (push up) position.  Hands should be directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line.  Continue the motion by slowly lowering your body until your elbows are at 90 degrees all while pulling the bellybutton inward to keep from arching your back.  Push up to return to plank position, jump your feet back into your chest and stand up, bring your arms above your head.

Incline push-up – Begin in a plank position with hands placed right under your shoulders and your feet elevated on a platform.  Slowly lower your body until your elbows are at 90 degrees all while pulling the bellybutton inward to keep from arching your back.  Push up to return to plank position.

Squat to upright row – Begin with your feet slightly farther than shoulder width apart and your feet pointed slightly outward.  Holding a kettle ball down between your legs, lower yourself into a squatting position by keeping the shoulders back and the knees in line with the toes.  As you lower down, bring the kettle ball up towards your chin by bending at the elbow with the elbows pointing outward in opposite directions.  As you stand back up bring the kettle ball back to the starting position between your legs.

Plank twist – Begin with your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders.  Step your feet back and lower you booty to make your entire body form a straight line.  Keep the lower back engaged and the belly button drawing inward as you bring your knee to the opposite elbow, twisting at the hips. Slowly return the foot back to the starting position and repeat with the other knee.

Round 3

Plank rows – With dumbbells in hand begin with your body in plank position.  Keeping the body as straight as possible and the core engaged, lift the dumbbell in your right to your arm pit, elbow back behind you.  Slowly bring the dumbbell back to the plank position and repeat with the left arm.

Pull-up – If necessary begin by using the assisted pull up machines and set the weight accordingly.  With your knees on the mat and your hands holding the handle bars so that your hands are just wider than your shoulders and will open away from you, slowly pull your entire body up until your chin is in line with your hands.  Keep the body engaged and do not swing the body.  Slowly move back to the starting position.

Dips – Using the same assisted machine as pull-ups, start with knees on the platform and your hands holding the handle bars at your hips.  Have your arms straight and against your sides.  Going in the reverse direction as a pull up, lower your body down keeping your elbows back and hands directly under arms pits.  Slowly lift back up to starting position.

Incline sit-up – Begin by laying on a workout bench that has one end higher than the other.  Place your head on the lower end and your feet hooked at the higher end.  Place your arms across your chest as you slowly lift your head up and bring it to your knees.  Keep the back straight and core muscles engaged.  Lower back down to starting position.

Round 4

Walk-outs – Begin with your feet hip width apart.  Raise your hands over your head.  Then bend forward at the waist as you lower your hands to the ground while keeping your legs straight.  Slowly walk your hands away from your body engaging the core and making sure to end with your hands directly under your shoulders in a plank.  Walk your hands back to your feet keeping your legs straight.  Stand up and bring your arms back over your head

Bicep curls – Begin by standing with feet hip width apart and dumbbells in hand.  With your hands holding the dumbbells, palms facing away from you and your arms straight, bend your arms at the elbow slowly moving the fore arm up and the dumbbells to you shoulder.  Reverse the direction and return to the starting position.

Reverse grip bent over rows – Begin with with a barbell in hand your your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, bending at the waist 45 degrees.  Make sure the you are holding the barbell so that your palms are facing up towards you and your arms are hanging down under your chest.  As you engage your lower back, slowly bring the barbell straight up to your chest while staying at the 45 degree angle.  Lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Lying leg raise – Begin by lying down on your back, arms down at your sides and your legs straight.  With the core engaged and the belly button pulled, slowly bring your legs up until you make a 90 degree angle from your waist to your legs.  Slowly lower your legs, keeping them straight back to the ground.  Do not let them touch the ground before you bring them back up again.