Monday, November 28, 2011

My Favorite Things

A dear friend of mine and I were discussing goals and what we are most thankful for. I have many things to be thankful for but I decided that I should write them out for good measure. This list is a collection of my favorite things, things I’m grateful for and a few things I know.

  • I honestly, LOVE  going to the gym – if I can’t go I get cranky.
  • The only way to get what you want is to go after it until you get it.
  • One of my favorite articles of clothing is sweatpants.
  • Not everyone will understand what you are trying to do or where you are trying to go, but as long as you know your journey you will get there.
  • I LOVE laughing and smiling.
  • My favorite way to spend a Saturday night is on the couch with my cute hubby, snuggly cats and a good movie.
  • There are some movies that you HAVE to see in the theatres, as it makes them THAT much cooler.
  • I spend too much money on workout clothes –but it’s so worth it. They are SO comfy and make me feel sassy!
  • I still don’t understand why people bring coffee as their ‘drink of choice’ to the gym while they workout.
  • I hate The Biggest Loser TV show.
  • Too many women are scared to lift weights and therefore never reach their fitness goals.
  • Setting goals is the only way to reach them
  • I LOVE ice cream. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies and Cream and Mint Chip are my favs
  • Doing a 40lb dumbbell shoulder press and having the guys in the gym stop and stare at you is a PRETTY cool feeling!
  • Seeing myself getting stronger and stronger each week is motivation enough to keep going back to the gym. Plus noticing my backside having a nice shape is a bonus
  • I love working out, but I love some time off.
  • I’m a good writer. I love to blog because I love to write about fitness
  • Nobody likes someone who thinks they know everything.
  • You can meet a person who will change your life forever in the most random places and when you least expect it.
  • I am my biggest obstacle in achieving my goals. Stop thinking and start DOING!
  • Christmas really is ‘the MOST wonderful time of the year’!
  • If I don’t eat every few hours I get cranky and can’t function
  • I love reading Fitness Magazines!
  • The Muppets taught me everything I know “Success is believing in yourself, and then convincing everyone else that you’re right.” ~Kermit the Frog
  •  Too much caffeine is not good for you.
  • Having a vision board with your goals only makes you more likely to reach them.
  • Make a change, go for a dream, reach for the stars because YOU want too not because society or someone is telling you too.
  • A snuggly cat can make you smile no matter how bad your day is.
  • Summer is my FAVORITE season – sun, swimming, fun – what more could you want!?
  • Water is UNBELIEVABLY good for you
  •  I love learning a new exercise at the gym.
  • Stretching helps prevent injuries.
  • Having strong core and glute muscles are imperative to getting stronger and keeping your back healthy.
  • Having good music makes the world of the difference at the gym.
  • Having a positive attitude and outlook on life, makes life more fun.
  • People make fun of what they don’t understand.
  • There are unfortunately a lot of miserable people out there, who will do everything and anything to make you miserable too.
  • I LOVE the internet
  • I love making a difference in someone’s life – whether its to help them lose weight, or as simple as a smile – it makes me happy.
  • Not eating doesn’t help you lose weight – it makes you look sick and out of shape – eat right and lift weights – its the only way to lose weight.
  • Most people that I see in the gym everyday, for months at a time, don’t look like they have ever stepped foot in a gym.
  • I have some amazing people in my life who support me and believe in me – they keep me going and believing no matter what the world will bring.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and go after what you want – what are you waiting for?
  • Watching what you eat is not just a figure of speech – its the only way to guarantee results.
  • I am thankful for you reading my blog


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scene From A Gym

The most awesome thing happened to me today at the gym. I had to share this story with you.
I was sitting on the stationary bike, doing a warm-up when a crazy lady walked in, stuffed like a sausage in a bright pink spandex outfit a few sizes too small, wearing purple leg warmers, hair styled to “perfection”, a full face of makeup and to top it off she was marinating in perfume. Where did this woman think she was going? She was dragging along a suitcase that was big enough to stuff a person into. Out of it she pulls these small plastic bags that looked like a sandwhich could fit into. She proceded to cover her hand with them when she touched anything. I guess she was using it as a workout glove????
She was mesmerizing. I couldn’t take my eyes of this lady. I couldn’t wait to see what she’d do next. Phyllis (I’ve decided to give her a name…not sure what her real name is) loaded a tremendous amount of weight onto the bench press bar, like 500 pounds, went to lie down to begin the set. Before I could run over and stop this nightmare all of the sudden her watch alarm went off she shook her head, unloaded the bar and went to the free weight rack. Once there she picked up the 2-pound dumbells and proceed to lift them like she was doing the hardest set in her life. She was counting her reps out loud. 101, 102 etc. Did she start at 100?
About 20 minutes had passed and apparently Phyllis was exhausted so she sat on the Leg Adduction machine for about 20 minutes. I kept waiting for something to happen but nothing did. She just sat there dabbing her body with a towel.
She certainly pushed herself to the limit. Phyllis was tired and left any energy she had loading and unloading the bench press. She is the picture of perfection. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tis The Season To Stay Sassy

The holidays are coming and with them a lot of pitfalls…a lot of over eating, over drinking and late nights. Avoiding them is hard to do but being aware is half the battle. I know I’m not alone, we've all done it.  I’m actually doing it now. I’m mindlessly getting into a jar of peanuts (they are lightly salted though) Maybe you are feeling tired and need a little sugar rush to get you going or maybe you are just bored. Once in awhile eating from boredom is fine but constantly eating without thinking can make your backside a little plump.
Out of Boredom
There is nothing to do so why not throw some food into your mouth to occupy the time? The problem is you can only eat for so long and sooner than later you will have to face the fact that the rest of the day awaits and you will have to fill the time with something constructive, or maybe not so constructive but with something other than eating. Blogging has been a great way for me to do something other than watching past episodes of Dancing With The Stars but if blogging isn’t your thing and you don’t know what you’d talk about (the story of my life) you could always read a book you’ve always wanted to read, volunteer, write to your Grandmother that would LOVE to get a hand written letter from you. Better yet, you could go try a new class at your gym, play the dance revolution video game, walk your pup. Just get moving and eating will be the last thing on your mind.
When everyone else is eating
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. My mother used to say this to me when I was constantly hounding her for a pair of expensive designer jeans when I was 12 “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge would you do it too?” Mom was right. Just because the peeps you are with are ordering dessert or digging into another bread basket doesn’t mean you have to as well. Check in with your hunger level. Do you still need to be eating just because everyone else is? Yes, your mother may be driving you nuts but that doesn’t mean you have to use your fork to tear into the food you are eating and shove it into your mouth to avoid conversation.
Because It's a Special Occasion
I’m from a small family. I have 11 members of my extended family. That’s it!  I married an Italian and that means I now have more family members than I can count. It can seem like every day is someone's birthday, anniversary, or shower. And those celebrations often involve cake, alcohol and food that is so calorie filled just thinking about it makes my jeans feel tighter. I have learned that just being there and showing my face is celebration enough. I don’t have to get into the cake line to participate in the party. No one is paying attention to you anyway so do what is right for you. Party it up with the non spiked punch bowl or turn your back to the food table. If it’s not in your eyesight you’ll be less likely to let the devil tempt you.
BOGO/Free FoodUmmm Free food is awesome but you should check your hunger level before you indulge in your local burger joint’s deal of Buy-One-Get-One. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you need to indulge.
A sassy girl works hard all year to maintain her fitness but what’s the good of working so hard if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor. So enjoy the holiday season Sassy Girl you’ve earned it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You (what annoys most group fitness instructors but will never admit to your face)

Let me first say that I love my job but just like anything else there are times that I am flabbergasted by behavior that I witness daily. After talking with fellow instructors I have compiled a top 10: 

·      Follow the leader
What the hell? Why do you come to my class stand in the front row and do your own workout? Why are you here? I’d never say this to anyone’s face but I guarantee I am not alone and most fitness instructors feel the same way.

·      I’m not your Doc
I ask you about your injuries because they affect your workout. But I am not a qualified cardiologist, neurologist, psychiatrist or podiatrist. So don’t expect me to be able to solve your heart murmur or figure out or the source of your mysterious neck pain. You need a doctor.

·      Put your damn Blackberry/Iphone/cell away.
Can you not exercise for an hour without checking your text messages? Checking your messages during the heart of class is rude.

·      Not Your Maid
If the workout is not your thing and you want to leave than go ahead. I’d rather you leave then stay and suck up all the energy in the room and only put out negative energy but please put your weights and other apparatus away. If you don’t put it back the instructor or another student in class has to put it back.

  Love/Hate Relationship

I love teaching fitness, but if I haven’t been able to do my own thing in awhile seeing you sweat is torture

·      Don’t complain
About other teachers at the studio, other students, the temperature, or my teaching style. Teacher’s can’t please everyone. If you don’t like me I have a very simple solution for you….find another instructor. I don’t say crazy things to your face so please don’t say weird things to me.  Be careful what you complain about because if I’m cranky I’m more likely to make you do something brutal because you bitched about something else.

·      Too Sexy?
Guys, don’t forget your liner shorts if you are wearing loose fitting bottoms. I don’t want to see anything peeking out while we are doing ab work on the floor. It’s really too much for me to see all of your business.

·      I’m no saint
No I don’t train ALL of the time. I have to psych myself up to workout too. Sometimes I’m tired and don’t want to teach but I fake it and find the energy to do so. I don’t eat salads without dressing either. I’m human too. I enjoy hanging out, eating junk food and watching reality tv just as much as the next gal.

·      Sometimes not sharing is a good thing.
I get the theory of “sweating” out your cold but please don’t stand on me and then preceed to sneeze and cough during the entire hour. I don’t want your germs.

·      Exercise is not supposed to be easy. It’s hard!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Amazing ABs

There is nothing sassier than a firm and tight belly. It can be frustrating to achieve because so many of us go about it the wrong way. Friends and clients are always talking to me about their tummy area. Everyone wants to tone their “lower abs”. But to let you in on a little secret...referring to the “lower abs” is a myth. The rectus adbominus is all ONE muscle group that forms that enviable 6 pack. However, often instructors and trainers refer to the bottom section as the “lower abs” to keep it simple, when showing routines for this stubborn, hard-to-target area.  Yes to an extent you can isolate the lower ab region, but the other core muscles will be engage to assist the work. Be sure to work the lower back and hip muscles every single time you work your belly. If you don’t you will run the risk of injury. Not sassy! As a rule you should NEVER work your abs “cold.” Always, always warm up with at least 5-10 on the treadmill or elliptical. Maybe take an aerobic class before you begin toning your tummy.

If you feel pain in your lower back during any of the following exercises, please stop. You may be doing it wrong or the movement may not be safe for you. Ask a trainer for help if you have questions.
Here are a few of my favorite exercises for those awesome abs. Include them into your routine 3 times a week
Hip Thrusts
You may do this on a bench, holding the top or sides for support or lie on a mat with your hands placed at your sides, palms facing down. Either way, you will isolate the lower region of the rectus abdominus. Place your legs straight up in the air, with your toes pointing toward the ceiling and a very slight bend in the knee. Lift your hips straight up to the ceiling in a “thrusting” movement.  You are not rolling your pelvis area back and forth. Instead focus on lifting your hips in a vertical manner.  Exhale as you lift your hips and really tighten the region as you do so. Imagine there is a bulls eye right above you and you are reaching for the bulls eye with  your toes. You will feel the engagement of the lower portion of the abdominals quickly. Aim for 15-25 reps, 3 sets.
This one is so good for engaging the entire powerhouse. I love this exercise and I think you will too!
Lie on a mat with hands placed behind your head and your knees in the air bent at a 90-degree angle before beginning. Exhale as you straighten one leg toward the floor, keeping it only an inch or two above the floor to maximize isolation of your lower ab region. At the same time, turn your elbow and shoulder area toward the opposite knee, which is bent. Alternate the movement as you consciously contract your entire abdominal and oblique (waistline) area. Do not twist your neck, as that can strain the cervical (upper) part of the spine. You are turning your shoulder and elbow, not twisting your neck.

Remember to stretch after your workout. Pulling your knees into your chest for 45 seconds will feel heavenly. Take slow deep breaths. Then lengthen your arms above your head and outstretch your legs while you breathe deeply. Again, hold this stretch for about 45seconds.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To Binge Or Not To Binge....?

My hubs just ate a quarter pound of bologna, 2 chicken sandwiches and a diet coke for dinner. Gross huh? After I heard this I threw up in my mouth. It’s hard to believe that someone who I love can eat like this. But his recent binge brings up some great questions. How fast will the food be metabolized and fat be stored in the body? Will "burning" fat through aerobic exercise be as quick?
In his defense we tend to eat more because the sight of food stimulates our appetite. How much food you can eat is different for all of us and is dependent on a number of factors, how hungry you are, and how much stimulation (sight, smell, variety of food, etc) your appetite receives.  The stomach of an overeater will stretch to accommodate the food but with proper diet you can “train” your stomach to go back to it’s normal shape.
So, now what happens to all that food? The body will use what it needs immediately and store the rest.  Your body is like a car it needs fuel to go but unlike a car if you put too much in the excess is stored as fat. The fat in the food you just ate will be broken down into fatty acids and the body will also use it as fuel for its immediate needs while any excess will be stored away. Basically, any extra calories will end up in your fat cells in about eight hours.
An occasional binge won’t do you much harm IF you pay attention to what you put in your mouth the next few days. Eating low calorie meals and getting exercise will help greatly. This does NOT mean you can get cocky and binge more often because you think you can reverse the damage before they do you in. Also remember food isn’t your BFF and should not be used as a stress reliever. So be sassy and keep those pig-out episodes to a minimum.

(As a side note my hubby usually is a great eater and does not usually eat like a pig)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Skinny On Starvation Diets

I was gabbing with a girlfriend and she was telling me that she didn’t like the new muffin top that has developed on her middle. I immediately told her of things she could do to take care of this problem. She then said to me “I will just adopt a eating disorder for awhile until I lose these unwanted pounds.” I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from a friend. It got me thinking that I should let you know what starving yourself does to your body:

When your body doesn’t intake a regular dose of nutrients it goes into a "starvation mode" thus converting ANY food in took directly into fat so that it can be stored. Your body doesn't know when the next time it will eat is so it stores it immediately.
Starving yourself kills your metabolism so you can never eat "normally" again. Yes you will burn body fat, but in order to keep your blood sugar up your body will turn to your muscle tissue. The body can make glucose from protein, but if you are not getting any protein, it uses your muscles. This further slows down your metabolism because muscle burns a lot more calories than fat.

If you want to change your body put in the work and the results will be worth the work. Workout and Exercise is the answer.