Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wide Awake

Put down the Red Bull. You don't need the chemicals to give you a jolt. It's not brain surgery that natural energy lifters work. I know you've heard these before but I am here to offer you a gentle reminder of the few I like and that work.

Slide open the window covering. A pinch of morning light activates certain cells in your eyes that send a wake-up call to your brain's internal clock. I recommend getting some sun mid day as well. Sitting beside a sunny window for 30 minutes midday makes you more wide awake.

Wet Your Whistle. Getting to the point where you're just starting to feel thirsty can double your feelings of fatigue. Fruits and veggies can help keep your energy and hydration levels up.

What you eat for lunch effects your behavior mid afternoon. Have salad and grilled chicken for lunch. Not the tuna melt, pizza, or meatloaf. Basically no high-fat foods. They are likely to make you moodier and more tired than lower-fat meals.

Learn from your cat. Take cat naps during the day. Close your office door or slip out to your car for a quick snooze. 20 min is a perfect amount of time to refresh your mind.

Splish Splash your face. If you feel groggy, stop in the restroom and splash cool water on your face. This one is great to do after a snooze. Surprisingly, having coffee just before your nap and then splashing your face afterward seems to be a dynamic duo of wake-up calls.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Legs and Thighs; Original Recipe

I personally hate the feeling of barely being able to pull up my "go to" jeans. Too many days of indulgence can catch up to a person. I know if that happens that I've got to do something about it pronto. Patience and consistency are key here. The inches did not appear on your legs overnight and will not disappear over night, but if you make the choice to eat healthy and workout you can shrink the size of your thighs.

Here are the steps you need to take to decrease your thickening thighs:

Step 1
Eat healthy! That means a calorie, fat friendly diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is a pretty good standard for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat milk and foods low in saturated fat for your daily eating choices.

Step 2
This one shouldn't come as Surprise...Workout! Duh! You are reading the Sassy Girl Fitness blog. Aim for 60 minutes of daily aerobic exercise. You are looking for activities that elevate your heart rate for the duration of your workout, such as walking, swimming, rowing, biking, skating, dancing or running.

Step 3
Perform Strength Training! The more muscle you have in your body the more calories you burn. Here is a super effective leg strengthener: Use a stability ball. Lie on your back with your arms on the floor alongside your body, knees bent and feet on a ball. Lift your hips into a bridge and maintain this elevated position as you count to three. Lower and repeat 8 to 10 times.

Step 4
Ok you've worked the back of your legs. Now its time to work the front. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Flex your feet so your toes point toward the ceiling. Raise your straight, right leg off the floor to a height that allows you to keep your leg straight and your foot flexed. Lower the leg close to the floor, but do not rest your leg on the floor. Complete 20 repetitions, then perform the leg raise with your left leg.

Do the strength moves every other day. Strength train for inches lost.

Some of you are really into fitness and need a challenge so I'm including a lower body workout for you. Do it 2 times a week for 6 weeks and watch your body change. You'll get stronger, leaner and more toned. Let me know what you think.

10 squats
15 pile squats
5 jump squats
5 siff squats
15 squats
20 pile squats
5 skater squats on each leg
5 wall squats
20 squats

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Include Interludes In Your Workout

"Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do." Thanks to pinterest I found this great quote and I couldn’t agree more. So what CAN you do to amp up your workout? The answer is interval training! It’s quick and intense but the rewards are huge.
Here’s what to do:
  • Alternate periods of balls to the wall-can’t-talk-effort with periods of recovery. For example: 4 minutes of quick speed walking and 3 minutes of slower walking (active recovery). Now Repeat that sequence at least two to three times during the session.
  • If walking isn’t your thing you can still throw intervals into whatever kind of workout you enjoy. Try to alternate 1 minute of super-effort with 9 minutes of taking it slightly easier. Repeat the sequence for 30-40 minutes total.
Keep things fresh and exciting. Interval training is one of my favorite ways to workout. I feel challenged and I’m building muscles, which is key to fat burning. Oh, and interval training also lowers your blood pressure. Not bad, eh?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Here Comes The Sun

Being outside in the sunlight does prompt the body to produce Vitamin D but that doesn’t mean you should use it as an excuse to spray your body with baby oil instead of SPF. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Which helps protect the body from osteoporosis.

So how much sunlight do you need to reap the benefits? The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 0.01mg for both men and women and that means you should aim for short periods of exposure over the course of the day. If you have sensitive skin like me (meaning going without sunscreen equals sunburn) you can also get vitamin D through your diet.  Food like eggs, milk, butter, fatty fish and fish oil are all great examples.
Most people (vampires not included) do not need to take a vitamin D supplement.
Excess vitamin D is stored in the liver and fatty tissues of the body, so overdosing on supplements can cause these stores to become toxic and lead to the side effects like diarrhea and nausea. Yuck!
It is essential that you get enough because a deficiency can leave you with long term health problems and bones that are easily damaged.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

AM or PM? What Time Of Day Is Best To Workout

After I teach students always ask me “What time of day is best to workout?”l  If you work full time there are generally two times during the day that you have the opportunity to workout. Before work or after.


1) IT MAKES YOU MORE ALERT:- I know this one is true for me. Is this true for you too? Most people are not fully alert during the first few hours of the day. One way to make sure you aren’t groggy, work your bod.  After a few minutes the blood starts to flow and you quickly start to feel a lot more switched on. Also, after an AM workout you feel more alive for the rest of the day!
2) NOTHING GETS IN THE WAY:- When you get up and workout first thing you get it out of the way. Nothing can prevent you from missing your workout. If you put it off till later things can happen that make you miss your workout. For example: happy hour with co-workers, staying late at work, an unexpected date, etc.

1) IT ALLOWS YOU TO WIND DOWN:- Sometimes after a long stressful day a workout is a great way to relax your mind. You get a physical release from the stress of the day. It’s such a nice way to tie up the day.
2) PRODUCTIVITY:- Here is what happens most nights when I get home. I open up my laptop and log on to Facebook and quickly my entire evening is spent in front of either the computer or the TV.  Want to feel more productive? Go for a workout. Your eyes and your body will thank you.  
3) YOUR PERFORMANCE IS BETTER IN THE EVENING:- It’s no secret that your body is at it’s best when your muscles are warm. That’s why the “warm up” in every workout is so important. After using your body the entire day your muscles are warmer than when you hop out of bed. Plus your endurance will be better and you are more likely to work at your max.  

Really the choice is yours. Do you need a workout to give you a little pep in your step before you start the day or do you need a workout to help you unwind.  Ultimately, though the time of day is not important.  Everybody’s needs are different. What is a common need for everyone? A good workout.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Time To Makeover Some Of Your Favorite Foods

How many times have you sworn off pizza, fries, ice cream and soda? Too many to count, right? Well, give up swearing off. Usually you end up caving anyway and a binge normally follows. If your taste buds are demanding a little of the “junk,” all you have to do is “makeover” your food cravings so you can indulge without busting out of your jeans.
Perfect Pizza: All you have to do with this one is order smart. Most places have the option of healthier choices. Don’t disregard this option. Ask for a thin, whole-wheat crust -- I actually like it better. Plus the thinner, the fewer the fat grams and calories, plus whole wheat ups the fiber and protein. Then pile on the veggies like onions, red and green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, go crazy and load up on your favs. Before you chow down if there are extra puddles of grease use a napkin to soap up the extra few grams of fat. Then go to town!
Fine Fries: Unless you are making these puppies at home my advice to you...STAY AWAY! Wanna hear something upsetting? A medium fries from your favorite fast food joint has 460 calories! Don't even think about 'em.
Go-for-it Banana Split With the warm months coming ice cream may call your name more often.Go with a version that has half the fat, like many of the slow-churned ice creams. Top with sliced bananas, fat-free chocolate, and walnuts or my topping of choice, slivered almonds. Choosing a lighter version will save you 17 grams of fat per half cup.  Wanna feel good about your choice to chow down on the cold stuff? The nutrients in the banana and the good fats in the nuts take the guilty edge off.
Fizzy Drinks Need an option that doesn’t taste of sugar substitutes like diet soda and doesn’t have the calories of regular soda? Make your own vitamin C-filled fizzy fruit concoctions. Start with one or two favorite juices (try combos of cranberry and orange, or pomegranate and pineapple). Halve their calories by fizzing them up with an equal amount of club soda. Plus this drink won’t have the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that's often the bottled soda products.  
I know constantly making substitutions can be aggravating but know that making healthful choices can really make your life better.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Two Commandments

Sorry but just exercising won’t make you lose weight. You need portion control when you eat to reach your goal. I’m not saying don’t do physical activity. In fact you should workout to help you maintain a healthy weight. What you eat doesn’t give you muscle definition and aerobic capacity that only working out does. If you don’t workout and just diet, you may boost your risk of disease. Put the two together IE. Diet and Exercise, and it’s a force to be reckoned with. A powerful combo that is bound to help you reach your goals.
Nothing beats a great exercise routine and combine good nutrition with that and your heart and lungs will be fitter, and your bones and muscles stronger. It also lowers your risk for everything from diabetes and cancer to plus-size, elastic-waist pants.
It’s not just leafy greens you need in your life. Here is what else you need:
Protein: Strength-training with resistance bands, dumbbells, and hand weights, those fancy machines at the gym, or even moves that use your own body weight -- is necessary to maintain and build muscle, as is eating enough protein. What is a great protein source? Choose Nuts, whole grains, fish, skinless chicken, beans, low-fat or nonfat dairy, and egg whites. Try to eat protein within an hour of doing resistance exercise.
Good fats: Wanna be awesome at Sudoku? Well working out regularly is one way to keep your brain sharp. Moving not only encourages the growth of new cells in your noggin, it also nudges these cells to form new connections. Add great fats such as olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, avocados, salmon, and trout, to a pre- or post-exercise diet and you mind will help you stay forever young.