Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gym Session: June 25

I haven't done one of these posts since before my Florida vacation!

Today I'm working my Back, Shoulders and Abs - feel free to use this workout for yourself and/or tweak it to fit your needs. I also think I'll be jammin' to a Michael Jackson playlist in remembrance of his passing on this day four years ago.

Gym Session ::: Tuesday, June 25th ::: Back/Shoulders/Abs Day

Cardio :: Elliptical :: 30 min
Front Shoulder Raise ::  3 sets / 15 reps / 8 lb DBs
Dumbbell Lateral Raise :: 3 sets / 15 reps / 8 lb DBs
Bent-Over Barbell Row :: 3 sets / 15 reps / 30 lb BB
Shoulder Press :: 3 sets / 15 reps / 12 lb DBs
Lat Pull Down :; 3 sets / 15 reps / 50 lbs
Back Extensions :: 3 sets / 15 reps / holding 5-10 lb plate
Planks :: 3 sets holding for 1 min ea set
Stability Ball Crunches {Obliques and Center} :: 3 sets / 15 rep ea side
Medicine Ball Russian Twists :: 3 sets / 20 reps ea side w/15 lb ball

Hope you have a great workout today!


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Monday, June 24, 2013

The First Run Is Always The Hardest

This weekend, I decided I should just go for it and hit the pavement. As I mentioned in Thursday's post, I wanted to start this week getting prepared for my half marathon training, though my official training start date is July 1st - 16 weeks out.

Even though I'm in the gym regularly on the elliptical or treadmill, this was just so different. Here's how I did:

Yeah, crappy.

I had only planned on running about two miles anyway, but still, I just did not feel in good running shape at all...plus I was not in A/C like at the gym...it was very hot and humid {thank you, SC}. I am so far from where I was just six or so months ago when I was training for the half marathon I didn't end up doing. I know I'll get back, but man, what a hit to the ego this was. I'm not going to let it discourage me though...I know I will improve with time and that is what training is for. I've never been much of a "runner" - it's a totally different kind of fitness for me. Put me in a dance studio and I could go for hours, but when I run, sometimes I feel like I might die. I'd like to be someone who runs regularly - if I could run a consistent 20 miles a week, I'd be satisfied.

I also think a those running results had a lot to do with the fact that a) I went out the night before and had a few drinks with friends, b) I didn't drink as much water  that day as I should have and c) my body was not properly fueled with the right foods.

Anyway, I know I've got a long road ahead of me {pun totally intended - hehe}. It's more of a mental challenge than anything. I know the endurance will come, but it's the mental battle that I have the hardest time breaking through. I have to find ways to not get bored - gorgeous scenery, great music, etc.

My plans this week and going forward are to:

a. Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day and cut back on alcoholic beverages during training.
b. Be a bit more strict on my diet - only consume what will fuel my body and cut out unnecessary calories.
c. Plan out my run times so I can know what to expect and thus keep up with my running schedule easier.
d. Stay motivated and not get discouraged!

I'm using Map My Run to plan my routes and RunKeeper to track my stats for each of my runs. If you're new to running, training for anything, or just looking for some good fitness apps, I highly recommend these.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

A 13 in 2013

This goal must be met, people. My goal to run a half marathon sometime in this lifetime. What better year for a 13-miler than 2013? It sounds so unlucky that it just might be lucky.

I have decided to make a goal of the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon again this year.

It was my half marathon goal last year that I never made good on. It is on October 20th. This would put my official 16-week training start date on July 1st. I actually plan to get back into running over this next week and a half so that I am ready to be in training mode on July 1st.

Here is my 16-week training plan:

It's going to be a challenge, and I know that {especially with the Charleston, SC heat and humidity in July and August!} But I really want this...I have for a long time...and it's high time I got my ass in gear and got it done!

I plan on updating y'all throughout the training...follow me on Facebook and Twitter for my RunKeeper app updates. I use that app on my iPhone to track my mileage and time - I love it.

Wish me luck and keep me motivated with your support!

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Random Update: See above where I mentioned that a 13 in 2013 "sounds so unlucky it just might be lucky"? Well, I just happened to look over at my blog archive and realize this is also my 13th post since starting the blog!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You Snooze, You {Don't} Lose

Weight, that is.

For many people, fitness is hard to squeeze in to the often busy and hectic lives we live these days. A lot of us start the day rushing to get the kids and ourselves ready for the day, then rushing to get everyone to their respective destinations and at times may not return home until there's just barely time left to get a meal on the table. Where does a workout fit into this kind of life?

Well, what I just described above is pretty much what my life seems like most days. Especially now that it's summer time, my kids are in their daycare and day camp and then the hubs and I each work all day. After work, there's usually an activity, or beach time, or pool time for the boys...and then of course managing to get dinner on the table and get them through their bedtime routines. So when am I working out amidst all of this?


That's AM, people.

That's right, I have to start before the hectic day even begins - while everyone else is still enjoying themselves in dreamland.

On M, W & F, I actually HAVE to be out of bed by 3:30am because I am my gym's opener those days and have to be there by 4:30am {an extra side job I picked up that gave me the perk of a free membership}. So what I've been doing is waking up a half hour earlier to get there at 4am and do some cardio before I start. It's not a full workout, but it gets that out of the way and I normally find time to get some strength training in later in the day.

On Tues and Thurs, I get to "sleep in" until 5:00am. I get ready, get to the gym around 5:30-5:45am and workout until 6:45am. I get home around 7am to relieve hubby and let him get to work while I freshen up and finish getting the boys ready to head out the door at 8am.

It's not easy. On Tues and Thurs, I definitely want to hit the snooze and just tell myself I'll workout "later". But I know that I might really not if the day gets away from me or exhausts me completely. So what do I do to make it easier for myself to just get up and go those days?

This is key for me. I read this advice somewhere once and thought, "now
 that's genius". If I actually have to get myself up and out of bed to turn off the buzzer, I'll be likely to just stay up and go. After all, it's the getting up that is the real battle in the first place.
If I can make it so I have to do the least possible in the morning, I am more likely to go. I don't have to rummage through drawers in the dark or try to find the right gear.


This might not be for everyone, but if I'm already clean and ready to go, that is that much less time I need in the morning to get out the door and to the gym. Otherwise, I'd need to get up 15 min earlier than I already do. I jump in and rinse off really quick when I get back from the gym.

Good news is, your body tends to get on a new schedule in two weeks time, so hopefully it will only get easier and easier for you to roll out of bed. I hope some of these tips work for you if you decide to be an early riser for your workouts.


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Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting Back Into A Routine

Hey y'all! I didn't post much here last week because I was on vacation with my family in Florida. We went to Disney World and Sea World - it was an action-packed week - also not my best week fitness-wise. I had the good intentions of using the resort's fitness center all week, but I made it like twice. Ugh. Bad Gym Bunny.

It's not easy to stay on track while on vacation, so I'm not even going to pretend like it is. This particular vacay was go-go-go from sun up to sundown. We had to get up early each day, get ourselves and the kids ready, do breakfast, then head out to the theme park of the day early to beat crowds. We would stay at each one all day long and be exhausted by the time we got back to our resort. And then of course, that's when cocktails would start flowing.

So yeah, I wasn't at my best at all...and I'm seeing the havoc I've wreaked on my body this past week. But in all actuality, I am glad I enjoyed myself...that I did make it to the fitness center twice (meaning I did make an effort) and we did walk around all day at the parks. I read online that the average person walks anywhere from 6-13 miles a day at Disney World. We also didn't pig out on park food - we brought a cooler with our own lunches and healthy snacks.

But now it is definitely time to start this week off the right way. I'm working the opening shift at my gym this morning and I came a little early to get some cardio out of the way before my shift started.

Bottom line, it's OK to relax and enjoy yourself once in a while, so long as you get yourself back on track right away. And these two happy guys - well, they were worth it.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why You Should Use Weight Gloves

Hey y'all - I'm here to tell you about an important item I carry every time I hit the gym --- weight gloves.

Here are my reasons why you should have a pair in your gym bag too:

1. Prevent Callouses

Strength training is an important part of anyone's fitness routine. But that metal or plastic-y exterior of the weights can wreak havoc on your hands.



Wearing weight gloves can prevent this painful and not-so-good-looking problem.

2. Better Grip

Many glove options provide a better grip for you - making it less likely to slip on the bar or drop a dumbbell. Many are moisture-wicking to keep hand sweat at bay.


And here are some that I recommend, if you're looking for your own pair:

{GoFit Elite Weight Lifting Gloves}

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Monday, June 10, 2013

{Easy} Healthy Recipes You Should Try

Menu planning is something I'm trying to become much better at...feeding my family at the end of a busy day is a crazy task when I don't have anything planned for dinner and end up flying by the seat of my pants. I've discovered THE BEST website for healthy meals...and the ones I've tried are SOOOOOOO yum! Even the boys approve. I love to sit down on Sundays, peruse the website and plan my weekly menu and grocery list.

Here are a few of my faves from Skinny Taste:

Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos


I make these tacos for dinner often. They are easy to make and use a few of the ingredients you are likely to have around the house anyway. I could definitely eat this once a week. My husband just loves it.

PB & J Yogurt

My boys absolutely love this for breakfast - and I do too! It's a guilt-free, yet very satisfying way to start the day. You could probably even make it the night before, cover it and pop it into the fridge to have a quick grab-n-go option for breakfast.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich w/Avocado & Tomato

This makes a great lunch or dinner. 'Nuff said. Looks yummy, right?

I encourage you to check out Skinny Taste - you won't be disappointed! xoxo

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Vitamins You Should Be Taking

Many of us aren't getting the nutrients and vitamins our bodies need simply from the foods we eat. Whether we are on the go too often to stop and replenish as often as we should, or whether we have some days where we don't make the healthiest of choices when it comes to what we put in our bodies.

Here are some vitamins and supplements you should be taking...and WHY.

Fish Oil

Fish oil taken daily has been shown to decrease triglycerides (the type of fat that is stored in the body), help keep skin clear and healthy, lower blood pressure, increase joint health and even decrease depression due to its positive effects on serotonin levels. In studies, it has even shown helpful with behavioral problems in children vs. using medications such as Ritalin.



Biotin, the common name for vitamin B7, helps your body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats. It also helps your body process glucose, in turn, making your body able to take food and turn it into energy more quickly, resulting in a higher metabolism. Biotin helps build strong tissues in your muscles, enabling you to gain more muscle, lift more weight and thus burn more fat. It also builds strong tissues in the nervous system. Additionally, Biotin has many effects on your exterior, as it promotes healthy and longer hair and nails, and brighter, healthier skin. Take at least 1,000 mcg per day.



Last, but certainly not least, you should take a multivitamin daily. Packed with vitamins and minerals such as niacin, zinc, calcium and magnesium, these pills are essential to your body's overall health. Multivitamins help prevent heart disease, colon cancer and breast cancer. Remember you only need a multivitiamin that carries 100% daily value of the 12 essential vitamins and minerals, i.e. zinc, B, C, E, etc. Any more than that will not do you any better. I have also heard that it is better to take 1/2 the pill in the AM and the other half in the PM for better absorption.

Now, if you're like me, sometimes swallowing a large pill can make you gag. I can do it, but it's not my favorite thing to do. I have found for me, taking my vitamins and supplements at night helps, as for some reason, first thing in the morning, the idea of swallowing some large pills makes me queasy. Also, if you are able, breaking them up into smaller pieces might help. Since I take mine at night, I keep them on my nightstand next to my large glass of water so I don't forget to take them. After all these years, I have found that to be what works best for me to ensure I am consistent in taking them. FInd what works for you, and stick to it.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Meal Planning & Prep

The busy life of a mom, much less a working mom, can easily get in the way of clean eating efforts. Today, we are often on the go from here to there, from sun up to sun down. It's nearly impossible to stay on track with your nutrition without proper planning ahead of time.

My best, cleanest eating weeks are those where I set aside a little time after the boys have gone to bed, usually on a Sunday evening before the work week begins, to prep and package my food to be easily thrown in my lunch bag every day of the week. You will also find, you might save a lot of money this way, as you hopefully will spend a lot less on meals out.

Here's a peek of how I do it:

This week, my plan was to have a leafy spinach salad with cucumbers and grape tomatoes for lunch each day. {Some may prefer more variety, but I absolutely love this salad, so I have no issue eating it every day.}

I often make the salad in a very large Tupperware container I own:

And I spoon some into a smaller Tupperware dish to take with my in my lunch bag the next day.

I then make sure to have a small dish with my current favorite salad dressing in it. This is Newman's Own Lite Sesame Ginger...it is sooooooo good...and only 15 calories per serving. I make sure to take just a serving's worth.

Additionally, I like to have some good protein to go with, so I hard-boil some eggs to get me through the week {and a few extra for Tanner's lunches}.

As far as snack foods to get me through my long work days, I pack things such as string cheese, raw almonds, carrots, apples, grapes...just anything that is naturally low-cal and nutritious.

As soon as I'm done with prep, I pop a day's worth of snack and lunch into this super-cute lunch bag I found at Marshall's for $9.99:

Isn't it cute? I just love it. And it's the perfect size, like a purse. I plan on getting it monogrammed eventually. So everything goes in here when I'm done, and into the fridge. The next morning before work, I take it out, pop a freezer-pak in it and go.

As far as breakfast, I usually carve out a few extra minutes in the morning to scramble up some egg whites, top them with avocado and drizzle with hot sauce {to get that metabolism going!} If I don't have time for that, I make a whey protein smoothie...I'll have my personal recipe for you here on the blog soon.

How do you plan for a healthy week?

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Making The Most Of Your Routine

I strive to find a little time each day to dedicate to fitness. And knowing how hard it is to carve out that time, I want to make sure I am making the most of it. My workout needs to be effective and worth the effort I put into it. I make a point of not "phoning" it in.

Here are some tips I have for making the most of your exercise routine:

1. Change it up and often. I would say that the biggest game-changer for your fitness routine is making sure to keep from plateauing. You need to switch it up. I see so many of the same people at the gym doing the same things over and over. It's like their body is coasting...5 miles on the treadmill {check}, abs {check}...and so on and so forth. A great rule of thumb is to change things up every two weeks. Especially with strength-training. This may simply be adding in more weight/reps, or trying a completely new exercise for the muscle group you work. I found a book a few years back that changed my fitness routine forever and highly recommend it - The Body Sculpting Bible For Women. It taught me what my routine needs to entail in order to be effective. Keep those muscles guessing...and you will see better results.

2. HIIT. Another effective way to keep from plateauing is high-intensity interval training {HIIT}. This is a form of workout that keeps your heart rate high while switching off and on from different forms of cardio/strength moves that for the most part use your entire body {think Insanity}. It's also a great form of workout when you are short on time...these quick bursts of intensity keep that metabolism high and burning calories long after your workout is done.


3. Focus on one or two muscle groups per workout {strength-training}. I don't like to be all over the place when strength-training. I find it best to focus on one big or two smaller groups of muscles per workout. If I jump from arms to legs all the time, I'm not sufficiently tearing down those muscles enough to rebuild and tone them. When you focus on a single {or two smaller} group{s}, you are able to tear down the muscles...and afterward provide sufficient recovery via rest {wait 48 hrs to work the muscle group again} and nutrients to rebuild them...which brings me to my next tip:

4. Simple Carb + Protein after each workout. You have to refuel your body with the right nutrients post-workout to rebuild what you just tore down. This is the best method I have learned. Great examples of this type of post-workout snack would be - chocolate milk, fruit protein smoothie, string cheese + fruit, nuts + fruit, etc. Your simple carbs are sugars - try to get those from something like fruit, not candy...and then any protein source - nuts, eggs, cheese, lean meat, whey protein, etc.

5. Aim to workout 5-6 days per week. An ideal workout includes a focused strength-training workout {one large or two smaller groups as described above} and at least 30 minutes of cardio. Here's an example of the workout schedule I try to follow and rotate week to week:

Day 1: Legs/Glutes, Cardio - Elliptical 30 min
Day 2: Chest/Triceps/Biceps, Cardio - Treadmill 30 min
Day 3: Back/Shoulders, Cardio - Elliptical 30 min
Day 4: Legs/Glutes {I work these twice a week}, Cardio - Treadmill 30 min or a Spin Class
Day 5: Chest/Triceps, Cardio - Elliptical 30 min
I work Abs every day - they are muscles that do not require 48 hrs rest.

And I just keep on rotating those, while maybe adding in a barre class, outdoor running, etc. in place of something else to keep mixing it up. One rest day a week is important...and always listen to your body.

Do you have any tips of your own for making the most of your workout routine? I would love to hear them!

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Gym Session: June 4

Hey y'all - here's my workout of the day - feel free to use it, tweak it, or let me know what you plan on doing! Happy Tuesday!

Gym Session ::: Tuesday, June 4th ::: Biceps/Triceps/Chest/Abs Day

Cardio :: Treadmill :: 30 min at a 9-10 min mile pace
Planks :: 3 sets holding for 1 min ea set
Stability Ball Crunches {Obliques and Center} :: 3 sets / 15 rep ea side
Medicine Ball Russian Twists :: 3 sets / 20 reps ea side w/15 lb ball
Chest Press :: 3 sets / 15 reps w/30 lb BB
Chest Fly :: 3 sets / 15 reps at 50 lbs
Tricep Kickbacks :: 3 sets/15 reps w/12-15 lb DB
Barbell Bicep Curls :: 3 sets / 15 reps w/30 lb BB
Tricep Extension :: 3 sets/15 reps w/15-20 lb DB
Tricep Dips :: 3 sets / 25 reps
Incline Curls :: 3 sets / 15 reps w/12-15 lb DB
Tricep Pulldown :: 3 sets / 15 reps at 30 lbs

I typically don't lift too heavy on my arms because I like to go for a few more reps at less weight to achieve the lean muscle look. Naturally, my arms don't really put on weight of any sort - be it fat, or muscle...so I just aim for them to be tight and toned. I also don't do a lot of bicep work because when I do my Shoulder/Back Day, they will also get worked.


Happy Workout!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Gym Session: June 3

One of the things I wanted to accomplish with this blog was sharing what I do at the gym with you. For some of you, this may be advanced. For others, not advanced enough. For some, maybe just right. I want to give you an idea of what I do to make sure I work my entire body each week, plus, this serves me as an exercise journal as well. Feel free to use this as your workout today, or tweak it a little bit to fit your needs. I welcome questions and comments!

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 ::: Glutes/Legs/Abs

Cardio: Elliptical :: 30 Min
Step Ups w/Back Leg Extension :: 3 sets/15 reps
Deadlifts :: 3 sets/15 reps :: Bar Weight at 65-80 lbs
Leg Press :: 3 sets/15 reps :: Weight Set at 130-150 lbs
Stability Ball Leg Curls :: 3 sets/15 reps
Super Set
Hip Adductor :: 3 sets/15 reps :: Weight Set at 130-150 lbs
Hip Abductor :: 3 sets/15 reps :: Weight Set at 130-150 lbs 
{Super Sets are two different exercises performed back to back, with little or no rest in between, for opposing muscle groups.}
Calf Raises :: 3 sets/25 reps
Kettlebell Swings :: 3 sets/15 reps :: 15 lb KB {This is a full-body exercise, but really hones in on the leg muscles due to the squatting action.}
Medicine Ball Oblique Twists :: 3 sets/20 reps {each side} 
Stability Ball Crunches :: 3 sets/15 reps {Obliques and Center} 
Bicycle Crunches :: 3 sets/50 reps {left leg then right leg = 1 rep} 
Straight Leg Crunches :: 3 sets/25 reps
And as always - a good stretch session to finish.

What's your workout today?

I'd also like to walk my pup later, but it's a rainy couple of days here in Charleston, so it's doubtful.

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Working Out Makes You Happier? Say WHAT??

I read an article recently that just BLEW MY MIND. Check it out for yourself...I mean, the title alone had me skeptical.

STUDY: Working Out Makes You Happier

Oh, I should probably add this little disclaimer for anyone that either does not know me or has not read any of my blogs before: I am a very sarcastic person.

OF COURSE working out makes you happier! This is news to some people?

The first paragraph I read in the article sort of made me roll my eyes and want to close the webpage. {But I didn't because I'm nice.}

"Break a sweat, beat the blues. Physical activity fights off depression, finds new research from Belgium." 

I mean, I would say it's a pretty factual statement, so this article is not misleading, but who the heck in Belgium is just now deciding to study this? "New research"? I think someone's wasting their time...time that they could probably be using to "break a sweat" and "beat the blues". This stuff has been researched a looooooong time ago...and it's sort of got that "well, duh" notion to it by this point. {Thank you, Dr. Obvious.}

Though, regardless that this "new" research is actually old news, it's definitely the truth. And I respect the little reminder they were trying to give. 

Some people look at working out like a pain in the ass - like it requires too much time and effort. It hurts, it's challenging...yada, yada. What they might fail to realize is that once they get their ass in gear...like real, regular, regimented gear...they will fall in love with fitness. They will crave the endorphins, the mental high, the mood boost. They will see areas of their life become less stressful because they will be naturally happier and able to handle stressful situations better. They'll find that they want to go work out when they are tired because they will know it's what their body is telling them it needs. The energy will spike and they'll be able to live a life more fulfilling, with more zest.

So go on, get happy.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

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WERQ It, Baby.

Have you heard of WERQ?

I just tried this class at the gym I work at today. It was the first WERQ class ever there. I hadn't originally planned on doing it, but being a former dancer and dance fitness instructor, I thought I would try it out.

I would say the moves and choreography are pretty easy to do and follow - which makes it a great class option for all fitness levels. It's upbeat and I was definitely breaking a sweat. It's an hour long class and brings that "fun" element to fitness, so it might just be the thing to get some people movin'.

See if there's a class offered near you.

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