Brick Walls

Lately I’ve been having a lot of pain in the arch of my foot.  I have come to expect some pain with training.  Its just one of the perks of working your tail off.  But this pain hasn’t seemed to go away.  I took my problems to a foot Dr. where I’ve been prescribed to take it easy, get fitted for some orthotics and possibly have a small bone removed from my foot.  I’m ok with this.  I’m not a big overreact-er so I just figured that this injury will give me an opportunity to fine tune some things at the gym.  I’ve been doing a ton of skill work and working ENDLESSLY on my muscle up.  My goal was to have my first muscle up before the new year.  Well, here we are the last day of the year and I haven’t gotten my muscle up.  I’ve meditated, visualized, watched videos, watched other people, everything short of fasting (ha! maybe I should try it ;) and it just hasn’t happened.  Its depressing and its taken over my brain.  I’ve hit a wall.  A point where I say “screw it, I don’t care, I’m done” or put on my big girl pants and keep going.   Well, just in time for this dilemma, I happen to be reading a book called “The last lecture”  There is a quote in this book that I thought could be beneficial to anyone who has hit their brick wall, whether it be weight loss, running, or any type of goal…

“Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people”

I’ve hit my brick wall, and have been totally humbled by it….but I’m ready to break it down. I may have to do it brick by brick and it could take forever, but I am going to do it.  For everyone out there with something holding you back…hit it head on.  If you want something bad enough, you can have it.  It probably won’t come quickly, but the character that you build from your struggles makes it all worth while!

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So, you wanna ditch those love handles…

Belly fat!  Why does it never seem to go away?!?!  My favorite…the back belly fat, or muffin top.  It gives away just how many muffins you’ve eaten this week.  Well, today lets talk about how to ditch that over-the-pants flap.

First and foremost I have to say that ABS are made in the kitchen.  This means if you aren’t trying hard on your eating, you can do a million crunches and your belly isn’t going to change.  I know from personal experience.  After 4 kids I swore that my belly looked like that because of pregnancy and not diet.  But…after I checked my eating it went away.  So like I’ve said a million times before…ditch the preservatives and eat meat and veggies and some fruit.  Not only will this diet help you lose fat, it will help you gain muscle and tone up!

Check your posture.  How do you sit and walk around?  Are your shoulders back and abs engaged??  This is an all day ab workout that will get a jump start and it will strengthen your back!

Second, weight training.  And I don’t mean jumping on the machine.  I mean real weights that engage core muscles.  Every time you lift something your abs should be locked down!

Third, sit ups.  Not crunches! crunches may give you pain in the top half of your belly, but we are worried about the bottom half here.  You should have something like a towel or pillow to support your lower back, while you’re sitting bring the bottoms of your feet together and your knees out to the side.  Bring both arms straight up over head and lower down keeping your arms straight.  When you get to the bottom your arms should still be locked out over head and then situp (keeping your arms locked) and touch your toes.  This will KILL your abs! (in a good way)   Also, plank holds are a great ab and stability workout.

Fourth, cardio.  I’ve said before how interval training can blast fat, and I really meant it.  You don’t have to be a world class athlete to do sprint training either.    Just get out there and do it a couple of times a week for 20 minutes.

There you have it.  Make sure you are keeping those abs engaged all day and that fat is gonna melt off!

Resolution Rehab!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and stuffed yourself with yummy food just like I did. With the new year approaching we are all thinking about our goals for 2012.  I’m guessing most of those goals will be to eat healthier, exercise or lose weight.  Have any of you gone to the gym the first week of January and noticed how stinking busy it is!!??  And then in February it dies down a little, and by March its pretty much dead.  Why is this?  Why do people burn out so quickly?  I think its because of the “do or die” mentality with resolutions.  Just for you, just before the New Year, here’s some ideas on sprucing up your resolutions and making them actually attainable!

Bad Resolution:  “I’m going to run a marathon.”  now don’t get me wrong, running a marathon is a cool resolution, and I’m sure that many people have done it before.  But…what if you don’t enjoy running?  Then you spend the first few months of your resolution hating it, and that’s not fun or inspiring at all.  Sometimes I think people try to run a marathon is because they think its the only way that will get them in the best shape.

Better Resolution: “I’m going to run by best or first 5k or 10k.”  Training for a PR in one of these is going to rock your body out!  Get in some interval training, and weight training.  This will be a more fun experience (for most people) than struggling to complete a marathon!  And make sure you pick a race, sign up in advance and put it on your calendar!

Bad Resolution “I’m going to lose 20 lbs.”  Not saying that you don’t need to lose 20 lbs, I’m just saying that you look at it the wrong way.  Obsessing over the scale only stresses people out.  And telling yourself that you can’t have any sugar…only makes you want it that much more!

Better Resolution: “I’m going to eat healthier.”   Just because you had that cinnamon roll for breakfast doesn’t mean that your resolution is totally sabotaged!  Commit to eating better for the rest of the day.  You don’t have to wait until Monday, or tomorrow.  Commit right then!  And try to use some of the curving craving tips I posted a few days ago.  If you are making an attempt to get control of your eating every day, you will get better and better at it!

Bad Resolution “I’m going to go to the gym every day”  First off, stuff comes up in our schedule and sometimes its hard to make it to the gym.  But…don’t let yourself get into a habit.  If you miss one day, fine.  Get your rear there the next day.  If you miss two days, then you better make it happen the next day, or else!  And if you miss three days, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for a slump.  Instead…

Better Resolution: “I’m going to get stronger”  Looking at it this way is more motivating.  There are a lot of ways that you can make yourself stronger. Do some weight training! There is this misconception that lifting weights is going to make you heavier.  Not true.  It tones and helps you lose inches.  Go hiking, bike riding on hills, running up hills in sprints. Getting stronger will help you lose the weight, get you in shape and help with your self confidence.

Make your resolution something that you are excited about doing!  And if you mess up, don’t totally throw in the towel.  There is no reason why one fail should derail you.  And you don’t have to wait for January 1st to start your resolution.  Why not start today!?  So…leave me some comments and tell me what your resolutions are….

ways to cheat temptation

scenario #1. you have a party to go to and you vow that you will not over indulge on the goodies.  You eat before hand and try to mentally prepare yourself.  “I will not eat those oreo truffles.  I will not eat those oreo truffles.”  then you get to the party.  The beautifully decorated truffles sit on an eye catching three tier display in the center of the room.  inner dialogue goes from “I will not!” to “I shouldn’t” to “ok, but only one!” then the famous “well now that I’ve had one I might as well have some more because my plan for the night failed anyway”

Now, I’m not perfect and I will be the first to admit that those truffles get me every time!  I have, however, found some ways to cheat tempting situations at parties…

Number one…cinnamon altoids! (ok, I know its not paleo. give me a break)  Every time you see a treat and are tempted, pop one of those bad boys in your mouth.

Number two…Mini mouth wash!  go into the bathroom and clean out your mouth.  NOTHING tastes good after mouthwash!

Number three…Drink loads of water.  Make your belly feel full.  I mean LOADS of water

This can also be used at work/home to help those craving out.

Scenario number two.  This is actually the scenario that I’m fighting at this very moment…kind of my post inspiration.  You’ve cooked and eaten a healthy dinner.  Your portion was perfect.  you felt full afterward.  Now, its 3 hours later and you’re starting to feel a little hungry for something.  preferably something sweet or salty.  or even better…sweet AND salty.  Stupid stomach!  always out to sabotage.

Cheat tip #1.  Brush your teeth for 5 minutes and floss too.  Something about that super clean mouth feeling makes it really hard to eat treats.

#2.  take a hot bath.  Taking a bath A. gets you locked down in one place while the craving runs its course.  B. helps you clear your mind and really decide if you want to ruin a whole day’s work.  and C. dehydrates you a little so you start craving fluids vs. solids.

#3.  drink some hot herbal tea.  The hot liquid helps your belly feel full and helps you sleep too.

There you have it.  Let me know your experience with cheating temptation!

Paleo super simplified

Whenever someone I know switches to Paleo they are always wondering what to eat!   for those of you who don’t know what paleo is…basically its a hunter gatherer way of eating.  Some people also call it primal eating.  Eating no processed foods, grains, dairy, sugars.  Everything is from the earth…meat, veggies, little fruit, nuts and the like.  Its so basic, yet people get really stumped by it.  The best advice I can give is to keep it simple.   What really worked for me was to think on a small scale in terms of meal planning.   Dinners basically consist of meat and veggies of course.  I don’t go searching for that copy cat “Parmesan chicken” or whatever else.  And even if I did, in all reality I probably wouldn’t make it anyway.  I’m a minimalist in the kitchen.  I will throw 8 chicken breasts in the crockpot with some seasonings and just steam some veggies.  Easiest dinner ever.  And that way I have a roasted chicken breast for lunch the next day.  The next day, I will do the same thing.  Elk roast and veggies.  And I’ve said it before…it may be boring for some people but I think boring is best.  That way I don’t over eat.  I think what has helped me so much is to not be so passionate about how fancy the food is that I’m eating.   Food is meant to be fuel and yet everything we do all day revolves around it.  By making it super basic it will be easier not to grab seconds or thirds.  So breakfast, simple.  eggs/veggie omelet.  lunch left over meat from the night before/veggies and fruit.  dinner.  meat and veggies.  snacks: macadamias, fruit, veggie salad.  anything in raw form.  Its THAT easy!!  So many times we try so hard to change what we eat when what we really need to change is HOW we think of food.

Like I said, I’m a super minimalist in the kitchen. but i did happen to make something special for Sunday dinner.

Pineapple Chicken Curry

saute 1/4 cup of red curry paste for a few minutes in a wok or large frying pan.  add 4 cut up chicken breast and cook until no longer pink.  Add 2 cans of unsweetened coconut milk, 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Add cut up peppers (red and green) onion, pineapple chunks and bamboo shoots if you have them.  Let simmer until the veggies are cooked (not mushy)

Now this took about 20 minutes or so.  Not too bad.

But the trick to eating better is to avoid eating it over rice.  You have to change your brain to think that eating stir fry with no noodles or rice is ok.  Or eating curry like a soup is ok!

There you have it.  Paleo as basic as it gets!  Now do it!!

Adding some hot yoga to the regimen

My sister has been forever trying to get me into Bikram Yoga.   I can never seem to make it happen though.  A. they don’t have childcare B. the class is 90 minutes long and it takes 30 min to drive there and C. its like $120 a month.  But sis swears by it so I thought and thought of how I could make it happen.  And then it dawned on me.  Why can’t I make my own little yoga studio at home?!?!  So I did a little research, printed off a list of all of the poses and got all the gear together and ta-dah!  Here’s what I did.  I got a hot mist humidifier (the vicks ones are like $12 at wal-mart)  I pulled out my space heater and pushed aside my work station in my salon room.  (i do it here because its a small room and there is a convenient mirror in there) About 2 hours before I plan on getting my yoga pose on I crank that heater up so it gets super toasty.  I also like to take in my little Ihome and put on some relaxing music.  and a candle to set the mood.  I wear a sweat suit because my room doesn’t quite get up to that 97 or whatever degrees.

So I’ve decided that I would do this on my rest days from the gym.  I actually look forward to it!  I get the kids all laid down for bed and try to get my chi flowing.  Here’s what’s happened just after a few sessions…. My skin is way more clear and soft.  (I’m guessing its due to the loads of sweat/toxins that was pouring out)  My flexibility has increased,  it took away that week long soreness from those dang body weight back squats! I’ve even noticed a change in my waist size and I’m a couple pounds down.  And on top of it all I feel so great afterward.  And this is only after a week or two of trying it!

So, thanks sis, I really enjoy the hot yoga…even if I probably look silly doing it.  Falling over and what-not, it still is a great workout and super relaxing!

Here’s a couple more tips for those of you who want to try it at home

Find a small room, a bathroom works great.  Get a space heater and turn it up as high as it goes. Fill a hot bath for humidity just before you start.  And make sure you read up on hot yoga and watch some videos just so you see what you’re supposed to look like and so you don’t hurt yourself.  For the poses, I just google image searched “bikram yoga poses” and a bunch of printables popped right up.   It also helped to look through the images of the people doing the poses.

There you have it. This is an awesome way to spruce up your workouts, lose some inches, work on some meditation skills and de-stress!

Let me know how it goes!!

Before and After: My Transformation

I thought I could get a little personal, so here you have it.As embarrassing as it may be for me, I figured it might be inspiring for someone else. Either that or get a good laugh out of you.

This is me post baby after baby #3.  (I know, hotness)

And this is me again, post baby after baby #4

Here’s the mini version of my story:

I’ve been active pretty much my whole life in one form or another. After I graduated high school and started a family I felt kind of in this exercise limbo.  I used to workout because I was on the volleyball team and that’s just what we did.  Either that or I did weight training for a grade.   After the season was done and the semester was over I didn’t really know what to do with myself.  I joined a “traditional” gym and would go to spin class and maybe mess around on the machines or walk/jog on the treadmill, but whatever I did, I could not get that athlete body back.  With every kid it seemed to get worse.  Then, I found crossfit and it changed my life.  That competitive edge that I needed was brought back into my life.  That fire to excel burned like crazy.  I felt like an athlete again.  When I started getting more intense in my workouts I started noticing a change.  It was more mental than anything.  I was confident, happier and proud of myself.

So, for any of you wanting to get back to the gym, or even step up what you are currently doing,  this one’s for you!

TOP 10 REASONS HOW EXERCISE HELPED ME AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET MOVING TOO!

10.  to boost your self confidence (I promise, no one is judging you while you’re working out.  no longer a valid excuse)

9.  to feel alive (post workout your blood is flowing and you feel like you can conquer the world)

8. you will sleep better!  (science has proven that exercise helps you zonk out)

7. you will want to eat better (who wants to do a crazy hard workout and then go eat doughnuts?!  well maybe you do,  but most likely when you work your body, you will naturally want to nourish it)

6. functionality (picking up kids, bending down to pick up toys, moving furniture.  All of this becomes easier)

5.  to be an example (you want your children to be fit, right?  show them how!)

4.  to look better (duh!! those “skinny pants” in your closet need you!)

3.  exercise cures depression (its true!!)

2.  improve your relationship with your man or woman (yes, we do want to look better naked and as a bonus exercise helps us to feel more confident and desirable.  always good for a relationship)

1. you deserve to live a long healthy life. get your rear off of those prescription meds!  high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease! Don’t let disease take you over!

only you can chose a healthy life.  it is not something that just comes free.  it is something that you have to work for every day.   When you give up, you are not just letting yourself down, but those around you who want to share a life with you.  But at the same time you can’t be a slave to diet and exercise.  I found crossfit and that helped me because i enjoy it.  Your form of exercise might be riding a bike, or swimming or raquetball.  Whatever it is, get passionate about it.   Make room for it on your schedule everyday and make yourself do it!   You deserve to be healthy and happy!

Share your thoughts/experiences!  I would love to hear them!