Sunday, September 25, 2011

Inside A Fitness Pro Gym Bag

My gym bag is my go to. Since my days are always jam packed my gym bag contains not only essentials for work but 4 items I need to go from the gym to fun friend time out on the town. If your life is super busy like mine be sure to put these four items into your bag. A sassy girl is always prepared! Here are my four fav items so every time I’m at the gym I don’t have to ask to borrow the essentials from a fellow gym goer.

1. Rubber Flip-Flops
As someone who spends the majority of my day touching sweaty people you would think feet would not freak me out but guess what they do. Please for the LOVE of being sanitary don't forget to wear flip flops in the locker room at the gym. There are several reasons why you should for everyone that is around you but mostly for you.  Not wearing proper footwear in the public shower may cause you to contract fungal infections in your feet. After a hard workout, it's also much better to wear a pair of cool and dry flip-flops instead of your rubber shoes.
2. Music Player and Portable Charger
Music motivates my workouts like no other and if I jump on the treadmill and my ipod/iPhone  isn’t working things are not good. Prevent this from happening to you by putting a charger in your bag.

3. Plastic bag
Don’t just throw your sweaty gym clothes into your bag but put them inside a plastic bag before they go into your gym bag. Sweaty clothing gets smelly and your bag will forever have a terrible odor. Put your sweaty clothing inside a plastic bag especially if you like to workout before you put in an entire day at the office

4. KIND Bar
If I work out in the morning, I have my usual bowl of Trader Joe's Organic Multi Grain Hot Cereal beforehand. If it's later in the day, for a quick pre-workout snack I eat a Kind bar, I like something that I can eat quickly & has "ingredients I can see and pronounce!"  According to their website every KIND Bar looks like this:
My favorite ones are Caramel Almond & Sea Salt and  Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt.

And as an extra bonus I always have a small makeup bag thrown in as well. A girl always has to look fresh! That way you have zero excuses to fit in a workout before you meet friends for dinner. Plus you’ll have a post workout glow….who doesn’t love that?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rise And Shine. Make Sure You Start The Day Right!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You’ve heard it about 1,000,000 already but what you have heard is true. Breakfast is awesome for keeping those crazy cravings at bay and helps you to shred those unwanted pounds. You can’t just eat 6 strips of bacon and 4 greasy eggs and call it a sunshine morning but make sure to keep it all in balance. Here are some ideas to keep your favorite meal sassy:

Eat Breakfast Every Single Day. Do it daily and it will ward off sugar cravings and you will boost your mood big time!
 Eat Right Away. I know you may not be in the mood to eat or you think you are too busy to treat yourself right but you should try to eat within an hour of the alarm going off and even if you are not hungry.
Make it complex. Whole Grains are your BFF for this meal. Think Cheerios, Oatmeal, Fruits. Make sure you pick cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and nothing more than 6 grams of sugar per serving. If your favorite cereal is low on fiber add some unprocessed wheat bran to pump up your fiber.
Pump things up with Protein. A third of your daily protein should be from Breakfast. Protein slows digestion and helps you feel fuller for longer.
Your health depends on eating a well balanced breakfast. You can’t just eat whatever you want and hope for the best. Skipping breakfast can make your organs older. Not sassy!
Here is an example of an ideal breakfast:
Oatmeal or cold
cereal with milk
1 piece of Fresh fruit
Low-fat yogurt
1 slice of Whole-grain toast
with peanut butter
Coffee or tea,
without cream
1 cup of 100% Juice

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Take Five

Five minutes? You want me to just sit there and clear my mind for just five minutes? No problem! I can do that. Well, it may not seem like a heck of a lot of time but let me tell you just letting my mind be blank lasted about oh, 30 seconds before random thoughts invaded my mind. Shoot, I forgot to pick up my dry cleaning, what time am I going to take a fitness class today, do the cats have fresh water...etc. For weeks things continued like this and I even skipped out a few times but after awhile those five minutes turned out to be that one thing that will turn my day around.
I’m always busy and running from one appointment to the other but I know if I just take a few minutes to focus on lowering my stress I find myself with a little extra sass to get me through the day. Here are some ideas for you to try out too.
1. Do as your Mother said and Make Your Bed . Don’t you just love coming home to a clean and neat bed? It’s such a nice thing to be able to get into bed at night without having to figure out where the top of the blanket is located. Doing it first will set the tone for the day.  I also find that doing menial tasks that really take no physical or mental effort can become a moment of Zen.
2. Grab A Sassy Snack. Remember when you were young and after you got home from school you grabbed a snack? Just because you aren’t a school child anymore doesn’t mean your body doesn’t want a little fuel during the day. Don’t leave home without a piece of fruit, low fat cheese or unsalted nuts in case hunger strikes. You won’t be temped to grab a Twix from the vending machine if you have options.
4. Jam Out.  Listening to your favorite music always boosts your mood but did you know that music can help lower your blood pressure too. Turn on the tunes but be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level. Just because you love Lady Gaga doesn’t mean everyone else does too. Putting together a fun and exciting playlist will help you during your workouts too! I’ve put together a playlist on a previous blog if you need a little inspiration.
5. Lovely Lavender. Love the smell of lavender? You are in luck! Just a quick sniff of the stuff helps to lower stress. If you don’t particularly like the smell of lavender try basil, juniper or lemons. They will do the trick too!
6. Stretch. Everyone can do this one. Even if you think you are the least flexible person on the planet. Lift your arms above your head at your desk. Or get your body moving by going out for a brisk walk. Stress can be relieved with some stretching or light exercise. Improved circulation and flexibility can do wonders for the quality of your life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sassy On The Outside

I was speaking with a client today and we were discussing how awesome exercise is for one’s mental outlook but did you know that breaking a sweat is great for your skin too? Sweating encourages your skin to rejuvenate so you can keep your skin healthy and radiant.  I’m sure you already know that exercising is so good for the heart and lungs but now you have another reason to “glisten” once a day.
No two people are alike and some of us have acne, roseaca, psoriasis, and that means you have you may need to take special care of your sassy skin while exercising. Don’t let that slow you down! Keep plugging away. Here's two good reasons why.
1. Exercising is a stress reliever so if you decrease stress with exercise some skin conditions that are brought on my stress may lessen.  YAY!  
2. I hate to say it but tight tone muscles don’t have a direct affect on your skin. But strong firm muscles sure do help you look better.
Keeping Your Skin Sassy Workout:
Avoid working out outdoors between 10am and 4pm. The sun’s harmful rays can age your skin and undo all the good you do for your body plus you increase your risk of skin cancer. Totally un-sassy!
If your two choices are to work out during peak sun times outdoors or to catch up on America’s Got Talent on your DVR of course pick the first option but WEAR SUNSCREEN. You can wear oil free if you have oily skin or have acne problems. The gel products are great too! I suggest you wear a hat to cover your pretty face and don’t forget to protect the tops of your ears. If chafing is a problem for you try to wear a moisture wicking sports bra and shower right after exercising. If acne is a concern for you maybe try loose fitting workout clothing and keeping the skin clean before you workout will prevent clogging your pores. Also, make up is a big NO! Take it off before you start exercising.
If you have Rosacea exercising in a cool environment will decrease the odds of fare-ups. Try swimming or power walking in your local mall (just don’t get distracted by the cute clothing displays in the store windows) or try jogging during the cool evening hours. Placing an ice pack on the areas that tend to irritate you immediately after exercise is a great way to keep symptoms at bay. If you have eczema or psoriasis putting on a moisturizer before you start working out helps protect your skin from sweat.
Nothing in life is perfect so if you have a skin imperfection don’t let that stop you from being physically active. Being active no matter what life puts in your path is always Super Sassy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Get Up And Go!

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.- Jim Ryun
Yesterday I awoke to an email on my phone with the subject line reading EMERGENCY. I started sweating and bracing myself for terrible news. I quickly opened the email and the first line read: “I just ate an entire box of Chips Ahoy cookies please help me stop plus I have not worked out in 9 days! Make me get off my butt!” I laughed because this was not at all what I was expecting. I’m not sure what kind of story I thought that she’d share via email but an email about cookies was not it.

"How do you do it? How do you stay motivated? I just don’t know where to start" she asked.

I didn’t know what to say. It got me thinking about all the ways I find myself avoiding doing things that need to be done and all the self-help pep talks that don’t actually help but hinder me.

When I find myself wasting hours on end scrolling through my “friends” pictures on Facebook instead of working out, I try to get in touch with why I want to exercise in the first place. I tell myself these things:
You need to exercise.Your mind will function much better and you will be able to focus.
You must practice what you preach.
You want a long healthy life free of cancer, lung and heart problems.
I’ve already put in so much work towards being fit if I allow my sluggish self to ruin everything I will be unhappy.

The most common excuse I hear is “I’m so bored.” Easy solution! Make a date with a friend who is into fitness and won’t let you back out. That will not only keep you accountable, but you get to get some good girl time in as well. For me, I try to create a new fun and exciting playlist on my IPOD once a week. There are always new pop songs out so it’s so easy to find one with an energetic beat to get you in the mood. Maybe you are the type to listen to a podcast or you’d rather watch your favorite TV show while busting out the miles on the treadmill.
Work out for 10 minutes, then see. (Those 10 minutes invariably lead to much more).

Is your life super busy? “I have no time” is your motto?
Schedule your workout into your ink! You make time to go to Target right? Why not make time for you? You’ve made a commitment and now you must stick to it. Nothing is going to get in the way. You will not cancel. I understand there are times that life gets in the way but more often than not you must make keeping yourself healthy a priority. To make it even easier, pack your gym bag the night before and leave it in the car or by the door; buy some new fitness threads and lay out your workout clothes before you turn in for the night. Or try getting up just 15 minutes early to do some type of short workout. (15 minutes is not that hard even if you hate the mornings) You might even do 30 minutes or you can do 15 minutes after you get home from work in the evening. Short bursts of exercise are just as good for you as doing 30 minutes all at once.

Working Out Is Hard.  Anything that requires you to put in some effort is worth it. Granted going to an hour long aerobics class on your first day at the gym may not be the best idea. Work your way towards that class so you can be injury free and you’ll be going again and again. Like anything else in life a little effort goes a long way.

Staying on track is a constant battle but if you make a few mental changes you will be a sassy fitness warrior in no time. Like the saying goes “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” the same can be said for working out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Whittle Your Middle

Every mother I’ve talked to always wants to get her belly back after giving birth. Most people just spend their time doing endless crunches. That actually can be the worst move you can make because crunches only hit one abdominal area when the abs are made up of many. The most overstretched area during pregnancy is the rectus abdominis so doing only crunches won’t give you the results you need.  Lots of crunches will put stress on your lower back and will only be great for the business of your chiropractor but not so great for the delicate ab muscles.
Even if your baby is now a kid or if you’ve never had a child everyone can benefit from a mix of ab toning moves. Try to add some of these moves to your abdominal plan.  Try it three times a week and your belly will be fab in no time!

Single-Leg Plank: Come into upper push-up position with your hands beneath your shoulders, feet together. Curl your toes so that some of your weight is on the back of them. Keeping abs tight and tailbone straight, lift one leg a few inches off the floor and point your toes; hold for five seconds and release. Repeat with the opposite leg to complete the set. Do 5 to 8 sets
Crunch it Sassy Style: Lie on your back with your knees bent and shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor, and your hands behind your head. Scoop your belly in and curl your shoulders off the mat. Hold there for 5 counts, then exhale as you slowly lower yourself back down onto the floor. Do 5 to 10 reps.

Crunch with Rotation: Come into the same starting position as you did for the quarter curl. As you exhale and lift your shoulders off the mat, twist your torso to the left and bring your left elbow toward your right knee; look toward your right elbow. Hold for 5 counts, then inhale as you return to center without letting your shoulders rest on the mat. Exhale, then twist to the opposite side to complete the set. Do 5 to 8 sets

Toe Taps: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs in tabletop position (knees bent at a 90-degree angle with feet off the floor), palms facedown by your sides. Tighten your abs and exhale as you lower your right foot to the floor, keeping knee bent. Inhale, then exhale as you return your right leg to starting position in 4 counts. Tap 5 times with each leg.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stretching (the truth)

When it comes to working out stretching doesn’t have the glamour that cardio machines and weight lifting does. You don’t associate results from stretching like you do with pounding the miles out on the treadmill. If you put stretching on the back burner you are missing out on some key elements to your fitness capacity like improved athletic performance, greater flexibility and decreasing your risk of injury.
Improving your flexibility helps your joints move through their full range of motion. If you like to drop it like it’s hot your tight hips may not move through their full range and overtime you increase your risk for tendinitis and arthritis. Stretching your hips, lower back and hamstrings can decrease injury.
Everyone wants to age gracefully and be able to move in their Golden Years so do the work now. You have a 401K to prepare for your retirement right so why not do the ground work now so you can actually enjoy retirement? So the next time you are in a group fitness class or at the gym do yourself a favor and don’t just leave right after you put down your weights or finish the routine. Take about 5-10 minutes to show your muscles a little love. If you don’t know what you are doing ask a trainer for a little guidance or if you are in a class listen to the instructor.  9 times out of 10 they know what they are talking about so give it a try.

How to stretch
Do not overstretch or stretch to the point of pain or discomfort. A low-resistance, sustained stretch is the best and DO NOT stretch with bouncing movements. You have to move slowly and if you don’t the muscle you are trying to lengthen will respond with a super strong contraction. Hold each stretch for 30 to 40 seconds. To gain the most benefit from stretching, do a short warm-up first, then stretch.
This is one of my favorite stretches for the booty:

Lie on your back with both legs in the air. Place your right ankle on your thigh above your left knee. See the shape of the number four? It is there, just upside down.
Reach your right hand through the open space created by your right leg and grab your left hand that is reaching around the outside of your left thigh. Slowly bend your left knee. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip.
To increase the stretch, twist just the pelvis a bit to the left and the stretch should intensify.