Fitness Challenge 30 Days to a Healthier YOU Day 2

fitchallenge

Day 2-Set a SMART goal.  Sorry this a a day late.  I’m not a super techie so I had quite a time uploading this video to Youtube for some reason.  But I did it!  It’s taken all evening, but I have been successful.  And so now, if you are a fitness newbie and you have decided it’s time to get healthy and take the steps you need to do it, you have landed in the right place.  Day 1 we found our motivation and today it’s time to set at least one goal for your 30 days, but you have to do it the SMART way! Let’s get crackilackin.

Free healthy recipes

 

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How To Vary Your Workout

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Are you getting everything into your workout that you need? Did you know that to be healthy you need to do cardio, strength training and flexibility?  You have to mix it up. it keeps your heart, lungs and muscles strong and flexible.  You need it all.

I recently finished a round of PiYo.  It’s a program I really like, but I do need to change it up after 8 weeks.  Here’s a sample of my weekly schedule.  I try to cover, cardio, strength,  and flexibility.  I have incorporated one day where I can put any workout in that I would like.  Trying something new each week keeps me motivated to keep working out.

Monday:  PiYo workout (strength, flexibility, cardio)

Tuesday:  Strength workout, concentrating on back  (there are a lot of push-ups in PiYo) and legs.

Wednesday:  Elliptical and stationary bike (cardio)

Thursday: Strength workout (a different one from Tuesday focusing on the same muscles)

Friday:  PiYo workout (strength, flexibility, cardio)

Saturday:  This is the day reserved for any new or interesting workout I would like to try.  So far, I’ve tried Turbo Fire Low HIIT 20 and an ACE stability ball workout.  They were both fun and I looked forward to them once I picked them.

Sunday:  Rest day. If I have to skip a different day during the week, I use Sunday as a make-up day.

So within 30 to 45 minutes per day, I can keep my entire body healthy and have a different workout every time I step into my home gym.

How do you vary your workouts?

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Recently I was invited by Jennifer Whitehair (she promotes vacationing in Las Vegas and it sounds like there is tons to do there besides gambling and going to see shows on the strip) to blog about staying fit on vacation. It’s a part of #TravelFit2014. She contacted me right before I was headed to South Bethany Beach Delaware.

We have been going to Sunset Beach, NC (and loved it) for years. This year all of our young adult kids have jobs that don’t mesh too well with traveling 12 hours away so we decided to bring the party North.

This is a perfect time for me to explore what kinds of fun things I can do to stay in shape while I enjoy the shores of South Bethany for two weeks.

June 15 was our first full day here. I decided to try some Yoga on the beach. I have my P90X Yoga X pretty well memorized so I just walked down the beach access and gave it a shot. It was great gazing at the ocean while doing my sun salutations. I felt very relaxed after about an hour doing Yoga in the wind and salt air. Sure beats my basement home gym!


Today my sister and I took a two mile bike ride up highway 1 to Bethany Beach. There is a bike path that runs parallel to the road. We were able to park the bikes and walk around, check out the shops and restaurants, and walk the boardwalk a bit. It was a beautiful day for it! On the way back DelDot had a bike safety station and installed free lights on our bikes. Thanks 🙂

When we got back to the beach house, I decided to use my 12 Minute Athlete app on my smartphone to get some resistance exercise. This app is great for traveling and it only costs about a dollar so the price is right. You just put in how long you want to work out (12 or 16 minutes) and what equipment you have and it creates a workout for you. If you don’t like it, you just shake it and it creates another one. Since it didn’t have resistance bands as an option for equipment, I had it create a bodyweight workout and substituted 2 band exercises for two bodyweight exercises. I just went under the beach house in the shade. Who needs to spend extra money to go to the gym?

What’s in Your Workout App Collection?

It’s been crazy around the house this week. I haven’t been able to take any more back exercise video yet.  I just got a new iPhone 5 and loaded some new workout apps on it. Here’s what I’m using these days:

Songza:

This is a great music app, you can pick out several different types of music genres from the “concierge” depending on what you’re in the mood for.  I use this app when I am riding the stationary bike or doing a number of other workouts where music enhances things. My favorite is, “drop a beat workout”, but there are tons you can choose from. Cost: FREE

Bit Timer:

All you need to do with this app is set the “work” time,  the “rest” time and how many times you want it to repeat.  Hit start and this timer will keep you on track for circuit and interval workouts.  Bit Timer gives you a three second audible count before you change from work to rest or back.  I use this app to time tabatas, mountain hike intervals and circuit workouts.  Cost:  99 cents

Map My Walk:

This is what I call a  motivational gadget.  Start “Map My Walk” when you begin walking, or running.  It will record a GPS map of your walk/run route.  It will tell you when each mile has been completed. When you save your workout, you get a summary that includes total distance, speed, speed per mile, elevation changes and other nifty info.  You then have the option to share your workout details on facebook, e-mail, or twitter.  Cost: FREE (Note-there is a “Map My Walk” premium available at a cost.  The company sends you e-mails frequently to see if you want to upgrade which is mildly annoying after a while)

Rip Deck:

This app is great for when you’re travelling or when you need to work out with no equipment and little space. (Warning: excuse eliminator!) Just program in the four types of exercises you want to do, plus a bonus exercise for jokers if you want. Rip Deck “shuffles” the cyber deck of cards. You touch the screen and do the exercise and the number of reps each card represents. Instant workout.  You can read my review of Rip Deck here. This one costs 99 cents.  Economical, simple and effective; this is my kind of app.

 

Lose It!

The only thing that has ever worked for me when it comes to weight loss is counting calories, making sure that calories burned from basal metabolism plus exercise is greater than calories in for the week.  Lose it! makes this sooo much easier.  Put in your age and current weight, how much weight you want to lose and how much per week you want that to be. (You HAVE to be realistic. I put in 1/2 pound per week.) Lose it gives you a daily calorie intake you should shoot for and helps you keep track of calories in and calories out through exercise. It has a HUGE database of foods, plus restaurants and brand name foods.  You can also scan bar codes on any packaged foods you buy.  This app is FREE.  The free version does so much, but there is also a premium version that gives you extra features as well. Read my expanded review of Lose it! here.

Now I’m asking for your help.  Let me know what workout apps you love.  I want to add to my collection.

 

Be More Consistent with Short Workouts

 

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? You have a crazy day; work, appointments, obligations with kids, supper, clean-up, homework, bedtime. You have no idea how you will fit a workout in so you just skip it for the day. Doctors recommend at least 60 minutes of exercise each day, but studies done at Boston Sports clubs show that people who exercise for shorter periods of time remain more consistent with their workouts. If your day is jam packed you are more likely to stick to your work out if it is shorter.

The recommendation for 60 minutes of exercise can be broken into smaller pieces. You could do two thirty minute workouts or three 20 minute workouts or even six 10 minute workouts and fit them in wherever it made sense. I read about one  professional woman who would do a few minutes of ab or lower body exercises every time she took a bathroom break. She said some of the other people in the bathroom gave her some funny looks, but she was getting results and that’s what really mattered.

A short workout is better than no workout at all. If you only have time for 10 or 15 minutes, do it! It will keep you on track and make you less likely to give up all together. Of course you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther away from the entrance when you go anywhere and play with your kids instead of just sending them outside to get your minutes in.

Another option is a workout program designed specifically for busy people. Ten Minute Trainer is a workout program that gives you cardio, total body, upper body, lower body and flexibility training all in ten minute clips. If you have time, you can do two or three, but if you don’t…well everyone can find ten minutes in their day to work out right? I like this one when I don’t have time for my usual workout. That way I can stay..consistent! See the theme? If you think you might be interested in Ten Minute Trainer, watch the video. It’s about 7 minutes long and in that time you could almost have your workout done!

 

Fast Food and Fitness

My daughter had an interview at a fast food restaurant. The interviewer pointed out the store manager and regional manager during the process. Both were (if I were guessing) obese. I wondered if the company attracted overweight employees, or if employees became overweight while they worked for the company. The perverbial chicken (nugget) or the egg (breakfast sandwich). It started me thinking that these fast food establishments are missing a golden opportunity. Why not offer employees and managers a wellness/fitness program through the company? There would be numerous benefits, but the one that comes to my mind first is that it would be awesome advertising. What if you walked into your local fast food place and all the people behind the counter were fit and healthy looking? Wouldn’t that make you less afraid to eat more of the product? What if they could point you to the healthiest food choices because they were making those choices themselves? Maybe the big fast food restaurants should start thinking seriously about some quality wellness programs for their workers. It would be great advertising.

Childhood Obesity

I am a teacher and it is contract time.  Lately it’s been stressful.  The federal government is not required to balance its budget and has accumulated an enourmous deficit.  State governments and local school districts are required to balance budgets. States are tightening their belts and education is on the chopping block this year.

Last week our school district voted to cut all specials from the elementary school in order to lessen an 8 million dollar budget deficit.  “Specials” include Art, Music and Physical Education.

Art and Music are bad enough, but Physical Education in an era when childhood obesity is a problem we hear about almost daily in the news?  When the percentage of overweight adults stands at 65% and the obesity rate for children stands at 25%?  When study after study shows that students who participate PE on a regular basis score higher on the standardized tests that the federal government requires for No Child Left Behind?  Really?

It’s hard enough  to beat back the media messages of junk food and sedentary entertainment.  If we don’t have the 30 minutes, twice a week to counteract those messages, how will we ever ingrain the love of a healthy lifestyle into our younger generation?

That’s why this website has become even more important to me than ever before.  This is where I will continue to get the message of exercise, fitness and nutrition to you through great information and exercise and nutrition programs that I believe in.  YOU can make a healthy lifestyle a priority for you and your family even if the government does not.

What are your thoughts on cuts to physical education in public schools around the country?

Muscular Endurance

Remember the last time you went for that very first jog when you weren’t in shape yet?  Remember how after a while your legs felt like lead and didn’t want to take another step?  Now think about that same jog about a month into your daily exercise routine.  Your legs felt stronger and less fatigued didn’t they?  You were improving muscular endurance.

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to continue to perform without fatigue.  Many repititive fitness activities will improve muscular endurance.  Riding a bike, swimming, spinning classes, running, and certain types of calesthentics will all improve muscular endurance if they are performed on a regular basis.  If you are weightlifting, using lighter weights while increasing repetitions will improve muscular endurance, while lifting heavier weights at decreased repetitions will increase muscular strength. What’s your favorite way to improve your muscular endurance?

Muscular Strength

Do you want to be able to do your favorite physical activities without tiring out right after you start?  Do you want to be leaner? (more muscle/less fat) Do you want better posture? Do you want to have less chance of injury? Sure you do!  Muscular strength is defined as the amount of force a muscle can produce in a single effort.  You can improve muscular strength by getting involved in strength training exercises.  Ladies:  Strength training will not turn you into a giant walking muscle.  It will replace those flabby places you don’t like with more muscle mass.  Guys:  Strength training will bring you quick and very visual results that I’m sure you will like.

You can strength train by using free weights (dumbbells and barbells), weight machines (check out your local gym), or your own body weight (crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, leg raises etc.)  You can also use a combination of these in your training routine.

When you start a fitness program it’s so so important to work on muscular strength as well as cardiorespiratory endurance.  Two of my favorite fitness programs that incorporate strength training into an overall fitness program are Beachbody’s P90X and ChaLean Extreme.  These programs include cardio, strength training, muscular endurance and flexibility with a progressive plan to improve your fitness level.  What are some strength training programs you think are effective?

My Five Fave Flexibility Exercises

Good flexibility will prevent injuries and keep your lower back happy and healthy.  Here’s five of my favorites.  These are the ones that make you go “ahhh…” after you have completed them.

1.  Cross Foot Hamstring stretch This one will stretch your upper back, lower back and your hamstrings.  You get three stretches in one.

Stand straight and cross your feet. Slowly roll each vertebrae down as you reach for your toes.  Let your body hang and look at your legs (or knees depending on your flexibility level).  Breathe deeply. Now slowly roll back up, one vertabae at a time.  Cross your feet the other way and repeat.

2.  Shoulder Stretch This feels great after an upper body workout.

Hold your right arm up and straight, bring your arm across your body and hug it to your body with your left arm.  Put your chin on your shoulder and hold.  Repeat with your left arm.

What are your favorite flexibility moves?

3.  Seated Leg Hamstring Stretch If I am having twinges in my lower back I do a few of these and it usually disappears.

Sit on the floor with your right leg straight and your left leg bent (your legs form a number four) With your back straight, raise arms then lower while reaching for your toes.  Think about bringing your ribcage as close to the thigh as possible.  Breathe deeply while holding the stretch. Repeat with the left leg.  Now extend both legs and repeat the stretch reaching for both feet.  If you are able to reach to your heels easily, add a yoga block.

4.  Pigeon Pose This is a Yoga Stretch that really opens up your hips.

Put your palms on the floor about shoulder width apart. Bring right leg through and sit on the floor with your knee bent.  The right side of your foot and leg should be on the floor.  Extend your left leg behind you.  Hold this position then repeat with right and left leg switched.

5.  Child’s Pose This is a great stretch after ab and core work.

Kneel on the floor and extend both arms, palms down on the floor in front of you.  Put your forehead on the floor and breath. Ahhh….