Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weight Gain Woes?

You wake up 3 times a week at 5am to workout, you try to get the proper amount of sleep, you try to watch what you eat. You're doing everything right, yet your waist keeps expanding faster than a marshmallow in a microwave oven. What gives? Why does this keep happening?

The trouble might be your hormones:
Thyroid levels -- If your thyroid is having problems you can’t burn calories like you once could. Plain and Simple Hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism.

What most people experience.
For Women PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome -- This accounts for unexplained weight gain in 20% of women. It's insulin resistance that's caused by abnormal secretion of a hormone by your ovaries.

Testosterone drops -- Testosterone can fall in older men and postmenopausal women faster than your libido if you gain belly fat, which leads to more fat. Fat in that area converts testosterone to estrogen. Some say that's why fat single men hang out with guys and drink beer in bars -- they have no libido and no aggressiveness to even try a line on a woman. But women with belly fat get libido loss too, as testosterone from their adrenals is a leading stimulator of sex drive. Less testosterone also means less muscle mass, which makes it harder to burn fat (leading to weight gain).

Great. So What’s the cure?
Resistance exercise. Pick up some dumbbells and work your body.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lean Mean Fat Burning Machine

Want to burn fat, reduce stress, improve health, and look good wearing your jeans?  Duh? Yes please. Try adding lean muscle to your body -- through strength training and cardiovascular activity.

Make sure you adding stretching to your routine. It really won’t take long to do this. Here is what you should do.

Every single day

  • Walk, run, spin, do any activity that gets your heart rate up. For at least 30 minutes. No matter what. No excuses. It doesn't matter if you do this all at once or break it up into as many as three shorter sessions.
  • Stretch. Once your body is warm (after walking, for instance), stretch for 5 minutes to help elongate your muscles.

2-3 times a week strength train

It's easy to get comfortable with a tried-and-true workout. But if it's results you want, you'll need to shake things up occasionally. It's the sassy thing to do.

Try doing this strength training routine 3 times a week

One-arm pull down (back and biceps)
Walk out (chest, shoulders and core)
Squat jump (legs, core, butt)
Walking lungs (legs, butt)
Slow-count biceps curl (front of arms)
Close grip push ups (chest, back of arms)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Think Outside The Box

Life gets busy sometimes and taking care of you isn’t high on your list of things you have to get done. But chores and a full schedule doesn’t mean you should forgo your daily workout.. Especially since the benefits of moving your body are huge. You have to get a little creative to make exercise part of your life when your day is jam-packed.
Here are some helpful ideas for things you are already doing to crank up the intensity and push the calorie burn into high gear.

The key to turning any household task into exercise is to pick up the pace or increase intensity and sustain it for as long as comfortably possible without taking a break.
Example: if your floors are nasty pick up the broom or mop throw on your fav fast temp song and get to cleaning. If you put a little muscle into it and keep it up you will increase the activity enough you can count it as exercise. AWESOME!

Think Outside The Box

Push The Dirty Dishes Away

You can attack the dishes and get a workout in AT THE SAME TIME! Start the dishes, and then every few minutes, stop to do some push ups at the sink:

  • Areas worked: chest, arms.
  • Starting position: Face the sink, hands on the edge of the counter top, arms straight; position feet slightly farther than arms-length away from the counter so that your body is at a slight angle.
  • Action: Without bending at your waist, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the counter. Dip your chest toward the counter as far as comfortably possible before returning to your starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Tip: Make sure the counter and your hands are dry and you're wearing shoes that won't slip.

Clean It Up Squats

This one is good for mopping the floor or washing the car outside.

  • Areas worked: arms, thighs, buttocks.
  • Starting position: Stand with one bucket handle gripped in each hand, feet shoulder-width apart; back, arms, and legs straight.
  • Action: Keep your arms straight down at your sides while you slowly squat by bending at the knee and hip joints. Lower yourself until your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground, then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Tips: To avoid injury, keep your knees centered over your toes when squatting, do not allow your thighs to dip beyond parallel to the ground, and keep your back straight.

It All Counts: Adding Up the Minutes

Top ten household chores for burning calories*

1. Moving furniture
225 calories
2. Scrubbing floors
189 calories
3. Raking leaves
171 calories
4. Gardening
162 calories
5. Mowing the lawn
162 calories
6. Washing the car
153 calories
7. Cleaning windows
153 calories
8. Vacuuming
84 calories
9. Washing dishes
76 calories
10. Doing laundry
72 calories
*Estimations based on a 140-pound person and 30 minutes of activity

You must supplement your exercise routine with longer bouts of cardiovascular exercise, whenever possible. Make exercise a priority even on days when your to-do list is massive and feels never ending. When you put a little oomph into your chores you get to multitask. Who doesn’t love that?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Delish Dish

I’m not the best cook and eating clean isn’t always easy, especially when my days are jam packed and I need something quick, easy and healthy.  I know you have work, kids, family, and dozens of other commitments to worry about. So I’m dedicating this blog post to letting you know about a healthy meal you can prepare for the days ahead. It’s delish and this recipe is gluten-free and vegan friendly, and packs a whole load of vitamins, minerals, and plant-based protein. What is the name of this zesty dish? Pesto Quiona Salad! This salad can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, making it a perfect weekday brown bag lunch option.


Serves 2 to 3
What You’ll Need:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup low sodium vegetable stock (or water!) 7 thin stalks asparagus, sliced diagonally into bite-sized pieces 1/4 cup diced red onion 1/2 cup diced sweet bell peppers (any color) 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes 5 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and halved (or quartered if larger) 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (plus additional to garnish, if desired) 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 teaspoon pesto 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
What to Do:
  1. In a small saucepan, cook the quinoa in the vegetable stock over medium heat, covered, for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Immediately after removing the saucepan from the stove, add the chopped asparagus and cover. Allow the asparagus to steam lightly inside the pot with the quinoa for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare all other veggies and herbs. Toss them together in a large bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar with pesto until smooth. Pour it into the large bowl of veggies, along with the chickpeas, quinoa, and asparagus. Stir to coat and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve the salad warm or cold. Enjoy it immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Achy? Muscle Soreness?

Ok it’s time to be real: the Elliptical, treadmill, recumbent bike, is just a glorified hamster wheel.  I know I’m repeating myself again and again on my posts but I want to make one thing clear: It is important to try new exercises, and generally make your physical-fitness undertakings as varied and interesting as possible. After all, the last thing you want is to get so bored with your routine that you give up working out altogether, grab the Ben & Jerry’s with a vengeance, and grow out of your skinny jeans. But variety is the spice of life, and that’s true for more than just ice-cream flavors.  So on Monday I mixed up my workout a little and yesterday by backside was sore. It seemed to get worse as the day went on. Why is that? I think Deylayed Onset Muscle Soreness is something most people don’t know about so I want to dedicate this post to discussing DOMS.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Called DOMS for short, this is the soreness you're probably most familiar with. It's what you feel when you get out of bed the next morning after a challenging workout. This type of muscle soreness begins 24 to 48 hours after your workout and actually indicates a natural adaptive process that the body uses after an intense exercise session. When you do a new or particularly challenging workout, your muscle fibers tear on a microscopic level. It takes time for your body to repair that muscle, which is why you may feel this type of lingering soreness for up to 72 hours after the challenging workout. Sometimes, you may even feel more sore on the second or third day after your tough workout than you did on the first. The good news? Once you get through this bout of soreness, that same activity shouldn't make you that sore (or sore at all) because your muscles will have gotten stronger and will be better able to handle that particular challenge.

I can barely sit down. I don’t want to move.
Don't be a couch potato! Sure, your body needs rest, but performing active recovery, such as walking or yoga, is better than just sitting on your duff. Active recovery is beneficial after a hard workout—just a little bit of physical activity will help increase circulation which, in turn, helps speed muscle recovery. Just be sure to keep it low-impact, low-intensity and pretty short—no longer than 30 minutes are needed to get the results.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Even Sassy Girl's Make Mistakes

You are human you will make wrong food choices from time to time. You will eat an entire family sized bag of Oreo cookies in one sitting, you will eat hot-dogs from a street vendor, and sometimes you might even eat the funnel cake with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. You're going to make wrong turns. Does that mean you should steer into the fatty crevasse of destructive eating? Of course not.
So instead of ditching your healthy eating plan just because of a few questionable choices-ask yourself why?
If you've been in a car with a GPS unit, you know how it works. If you make a mistake, it doesn't tell you that you might as well drive off a cliff because you missed the turn. Instead, all it says, very politely, is this: "At the next available moment, make an authorized U-turn." The GPS recognizes the error matter-of-fact and simply guides you back onto the right road.
When you make poor food choices just make sure you get back on track. What kills any regimen of healthy eating isn't the occasional slice of fudge cake or pizza; it's what happens after the initial indulgence. The harm isn't in the mistake; it's in not figuring out how to deal with it.
That is a lovely thought but I know it’s not going to work for everyone. My advice: Do a yoga pose. My fav is downward-dog. Balancing your weight on your hands and feet, with your butt hiked toward the ceiling in an inverted V. Eating upside down is difficult so not only will it stop you from going to the fridge to get another unhealthy snack it will give you a few moments to take deep breaths and remind you of your goals.
I give you permission to slip up once in awhile. Just get back on track the next time you have to make a food decision.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Getting To The Gym Together

Before I taught this morning a student started talking to me and said, “I need your tips on how to get my boyfriend to come to the gym with me.  He thinks he still has his college body, but, well… he doesn’t.”
Of course we laughed, but I totally get what she’s saying. My hubs does workout just not with me. He prefers to go at it alone. I think in the 12 years we’ve been together we’ve worked out a total of 6 times together.
I started to think about her question in a little more detail during the bus ride home from class. What can I try to get my hubby to workout with me? What can I do to answer her question. So the test begins...
Here are a couple of ideas I came up with to try to motivate your significant other, friend or family member to workout with you:

  • Make it a social experience… Go on a jog outside together, spot each other in the weight room, etc.
  • Take a group exercise class like spinning, bootcamp or a weight lifting class. (Nothing too Girlie. Zumba is a definite “NO!”)
  • Do the workout where they’re comfortable, whether it be outside, in the gym or at home
  • Start with an exercise they’re comfortable with (Some people hate cardio while others are really intimidated by weights)
  • In return for working out with you, offer to do something they’re interested in. Get creative. (Yes it can be in the bedroom but of course it doesn’t have to be.)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Results Oriented

Not seeing results with your workout? Even if you take a day off each week you might be committing a sin.

Can’t get enough?

If women want their arms smaller, their abs smaller, or their thighs smaller, they typically will work those muscles every time they work out, But you need 72 hours to go through one metabolic cycle, which promotes healing of the tissue that was torn during your workouts. If you’re training the same muscle group every day, your body won’t have a chance to recover, slowing progress and leaving yourself open to injury.
On that note I want to make sure I discuss cardio: Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss.
But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive is when we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems. If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk.

Sleepy Time?

When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss.
You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this at 2am. Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list.
More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority!

Phoney Food?

Many women starve themselves and over exercise,. But if you don’t eat enough during the day, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down its metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight.
When you exercise intensely, your metabolism revs up for up to 46 hours after you’ve finished exercising—and this is when the greatest fat-burning effect takes place. But if you don’t get enough calories for fuel, you can’t exercise intensely enough to make this happen.


As we get older our muscles lose some of their elasticity, and as a result we lose flexibility. That can cause postural problems and cause us to be more prone to straining a muscle, Stretching twice during your workout is optimal. By stretching after your warm-up you can prepare your muscles for exercise. And by stretching following your workout, while the muscles are warm, you’ll improve your flexibility. For best results, hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds.

I’m not sure I get it?
Admit it—sometimes you see someone doing an exercise you’ve never seen and say to yourself, "That looks cool! I think I’ll try it." But not understanding the exercises you’re doing is a workout sin.
To learn which exercises will get you to your goal, consult a professional. You can hire a personal trainer, or the on-site trainers in your gym may be able to help you.

Never Strike The H2O!

When you exercise, you increase your metabolism and create heat. If you don’t consume sufficient amounts of fluids to maintain your hydration status, your body will conserve fluids, so you won’t sweat as soon or as much,
Do you want to drink water before, during or after exercise? The answer is all of the above. Down 16 ounces before working out, 4 to 6 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout, and then top it off with even more water after you’re done exercising.