Exercise on Vacation: It Can Go Together

In our vacation "gym" with the only equpment we needed.

It used to be a problem to keep the fitness routine going when I went on vacation. All the progress I made would take a giant step backwards when I travelled. Now there are many products on the market that make it easier to work out when you are on the road. Better yet, many really good workouts can be done with only body weight. So they can be done anywhere and don’t cost a dime!

My hubby and I spent two weeks at Sunset Beach, NC with the family. We tried spinning and Group Pump at the Fitness Studio in Ocean Isle. On a third day we walked 3 miles to prepare for the Freedom Run/Walk in Southport.  Other than that, we worked out together under the beach house.  We moved the car, used a few inexpensive and light to carry items and we were all set.   We worked out 8 total days in our makeshift gym.  Here’s what we did:

Workout 1 was a circuit workout.  Do each exercise for 30 seconds with a 15 second break between exercises.

  1. Push-ups
  2. Alternating rows with a resistance band
  3. Speed skaters
  4. Squat Jumps
  5. Inch Worm
  6. Chest Press with a resistance band around a beam
  7. Mountain Climbers
  8. Alternating lunges
  9. Burpees
  10. Bicep curls with a resistance band
  11. Tricep kickbacks with a resistance band
  12. Defensive Slide
  13. But Kickers

Take a short break and repeat the circuit

Workout 2 was a a Tabatas workout.  We did this one four days during our two weeks and changed the types of exercises we did each time. Here’s an example:

Do each exercise for 20 seconds and take a 10 second break between each one.  Do the circuit twice with no breaks in between.  Do each exercise as hard and as fast as you can. Make sure you warm up for at least 5 minutes beforehand and cool down and stretch afterward.

  1. Push-ups
  2. Jump Rope with high knees (no real jump rope needed)
  3. Knee to elbow crunch sit-ups (alternating elbow to leg)
  4. Basketball lunges (reverse lunge followed by a simulated layup jump)

Workout 3 was a circuit with three different parts.  Perform each of the six exercises for 40 seconds with a 20 second break in between.  We did each exercise group twice and took a water/rest break before starting the next set of six.

Exercise group 1

  1. Squat to press with resistance band
  2. Chest press with resistance band
  3. Swimmers with resistance band
  4. Reverse lunge (change legs at the 20 second mark)
  5. Med ball rotations
  6. Jumping Jacks

Exercise group 2

  1. Alternating overhead press using resistance bands
  2. Rows using resistance bands
  3. Bicep curls with bands
  4. Alternating side lunge
  5. Plank- elbows to hands (alternating arms)
  6. Stand to defensive stance jumps

Exercise group 3

  1. Med ball slams
  2. Inch worm
  3. Bent over altenating rows using bands
  4. Squat jumps (or just squats if you are tired now)
  5. Diagonal Woodchops using bands or med ball
  6. Burpees

Workout 4 was a circuit that is done counting reps rather than a time limit.  A short break should be taken between each set of exercises. We did each set twice.

Exercise set 1

  1. push-ups (15)
  2. Squat and row (15)
  3. Alternate reverse lunge (15 each leg)
  4. Ski hops (15)

Exercise set 2

  1. Squat thrust (15)
  2. Swimmers using a band (15)
  3. Alternate Lateral lunge (15 each leg)
  4. Speed skaters (15)

Exercise set 3

  1. Walk hands out and back (10)
  2. Robinhood row (15 each arm)
  3. Screamer lunges (15 each leg)
  4. Squat jumps (15)

A special thank you to One on One Fitness.  The trainers there prepared these for us to take with us on vacation. As always, check with your physician before you start any exercise program and build up slowly to the intensity of these workouts.

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Freedom Run 5K Southport, NC

My second 5K walk, the Freedom Run 5K  in Southport NC. I started doing 5Ks to give myself goals for my exercise and fitness  efforts. We vacation every year at Sunset Beach, NC. Over the years members of my family have participated in the 5K, but I had only done the one mile fun run a few times. This was the year I wanted to walk the entire 3.1 mile course. When my sister (Nancy) and niece (Lindsey) found out we were walking, they decided they would enter and run/walk the course together. My nephew, Ben also decided he would run.

The race stepped off at 8 so we had to leave the beach house at 6:30 a.m. (toothpicks for eyes please) to get to Southport. Nancy and Lindsey rode with us and I enjoyed listening to Lindsey’s excited chatter all the way there. This was her first 5K too. It was a super hot day and humidity was at 90% so we prepared by hydrating on the way.

When we got there it was off to warm up. We were excited to take pictures before the event. Ben was hardcore so he wouldn’t pose for any pictures (sorry young ladies, he’s a cutey) because he was really into his warm-up.


We lined up for our pre-race instructions and then the starting gun, no, make that a CANNON went off. We were part of a record number of over 400 participants. Our times were recorded by a high techno strip on the backs of our numbers. Bob walked with me for the first mile and then he decided to jog it for the next two miles. I walk too fast for his pace, but he runs too fast for mine so it worked out best this way.


I got into my power walking pace and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the people I interacted with. It was nice to walk near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and feel the ocean breeze cooling me off as I went. I crossed the finish line at 45:02, almost the same time I posted for the Train Wreck Trek. Pretty good considering the extreme heat. Here’s how everyone else did:


Ben: 16th overall and third for his age group with a time of 19:33. He won a pottery bowl crafted by a local artist.

Lindsey: 34:45 Nancy: 35:00 Bob: 37:08

If you are ever in the Southport, NC area over the 4th of July and want to run/walk in a fun 5K, give the Freedom Run a try. Were you there on June 30? Tell me your story!

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Spinning Class for Vacation Fitness

Hubby and I decided we would try some different fitness activities while we were on vacation this year. Today we took a spinning class at Fitness Studio in Ocean Isle, NC. Our niece, Lindsey (another fitness enthusiast in our family) decided to join us.


We got there a little early so we chose our bikes and stretched a little. Soon Stacey, our instructor came and helped us adjust our seats and handlebars. The class filled up fast and I was surprised that most of the participants were older than us. I had done a spin class at my local YMCA once but Bob and Lindsey had never done it before. They were in for a fitness treat!

The class we were in was a resistance class. It focused on hill climbing over speed. After a good warm-up song, we did our first hill climb. This consisted of adjusting your resistance until it was “sticky” and you had to push AND pull to make the pedals spin. We climbed in ride position, race position and standing. My legs were unhappy, but my cardio system was loving it. You could set your resistance to whatever you were comfortable with. I thought maybe I should back down a little after the first hill climb!


The music was great and it kept me motivated to keep going. After two hill climbs, we did a song where we travelled a flat road. We set the bike to lighter resistance and concentrated on speed. It was a nice “break” from the hills. We finished with a third, more intense hill climb. I was excited because now I had my second wind and was able to crank the resistance up higher than I had it on the first hill. It probably helped that I knew we were almost done! After a cool down song, we crawled off our bikes and had a nice stretch.

Both my workout partners liked their spinning experience. Bob said even though he is in good shape from working with a trainer, trying  a new exercise routine really made him work. Lindsey said, “It was really fun, an awesome workout and the music made it seem like we were dancing at times.”


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Exercise and Fitness: Try Tabatas!

Tabatas seems to be the new buzzword in fitness circles these days. Put in the simplest of terms, Tabatas is 20 seconds of exercise at 100% intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated for a duration of four minutes. You should start your session with a 5 minute warm-up and follow your session with a 5 minute cool down.

What are the benefits of Tabatas?

Tabatas improves both your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Pure cardio only improves aerobic capacity. When your anaerobic capacity is improved you can train at higher intensity levels for a longer period of time. This increases your calorie burn during AND after your workout. You create an oxygen deficit while you do Tabatas that HAS to be replenished after you’re done. The harder you work out, the harder you breathe and the higher your heart rate goes. As a result, it takes more time (and calories) to get things back to normal. Cool science eh?

The really nice thing about Tabatas is you can get a great workout in a very short period of time. You wouldn’t want to do this type of workout every day. It’s recommended that you take part in Tabatas once or twice a week tops. When planning your workout, use exercises that involve large muscle groups.

Time for the disclaimer: You should always check with your doctor before starting a work out program like Tabatas to make sure you are healthy enough for intense exercise. Ok, that’s out of the way…

When I tried Tabatas for the first time, I decided to do “Tabatas light”. I did 15 seconds at 100% intensity and rested for 15 seconds. I did six minutes at this intensity level. My plan is to work up to the real deal.

A traditional tabatas is 20 seconds as hard as you can go with 10 seconds of rest.

Here’s the workout:

Squats: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds
Push-ups: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds
Crunches: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds
(these were “criss cross” Elbow to opposite knee)
Mountain Climbers: 15 seconds Rest: 15 seconds

I did three sets of the above. The total time for the workout was 16 minutes, including my warm-up and cool down.

Here’s the cool tech tools that enhanced my workout:

i-Pad 3 with the following apps

Bit-timer: You can set your work time, your rest time and how many times you want it to repeat. An audible beep counts down to start each exercise round.

Songza: I used the “Drop-a-beat” workout playlist.

Give it a try! (see disclaimer) Then let me know how it goes by sending me a comment.

If you like this post and would like more fitness challenges, tip and tricks, follow this link:



 

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Sugar is the New Fat

There has been a lot of buzz lately about added sugar. It seems to be replacing fat as the bad guy in your food. Why should you be concerned about this? Do you know what happens to your car when you put sugar water in your gas tank? It doesn’t work correctly. The same thing happens when you put too much added sugar into your body.

Your body needs specific nutrients to perform at peak levels. When you eat too much added sugar, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels. This is followed by a crash. When you have a crash your body is telling you, “I’m hungry!” You didn’t feed me the nutrients you need. The sugar is not cutting it!” Your body wants nutrients. If you continue to feed it junk it can’t use, it will signal you to feed it something else. The more junk you eat, the more food your body will want, trying to get the nutrients it craves. See the problem?

How much sugar is too much?

According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day. That’s 100 calories or about 6 teaspoons. Men should have no more than 36 grams. That’s 150 calories or about 9 teaspoons. The good news is that the sugars found naturally in fruits and vegetables are good for you and part of a healthy diet. No need to limit those.

Since most Americans eat WAY to much added sugar, here are some tips for reducing the amount you consume:

  • Limit sugary drinks such as soda, tea and juice. Water is the best drink choice.
  • Cut back on sugary breakfast foods. Check the nutrition facts label and remember, if your cereal is changing the color of your milk, it’s probably loaded with sugar.
  • Check ingredients. If sugar or or sugar type ingredients (high fructose corn syrup, honey, etc.) are in the first five, avoid it or at least eat sparingly.

I just finished a 7 day “no added sugar” challenge I am doing with Slimkicker It’s almost impossible to limit your added sugar intake to 0. Sugar is added to everything in our society. I have been able to keep it to about 12/15 grams per day. I did not feel deprived and I loved the added benefit of not feeling hungry all the time. I did have to consciously make different food choices and it does take some effort. Happy to report that a nice flat stomach has made the effort worthwhile!

Here’s a sample of what I ate for one day to give you an idea of how YOU can cut back on the amount of added sugar YOU eat. Try it and let me know how it goes.

Breakfast: Shakeology 7 grams added sugar OR Whole grain sandwich thin with one teaspoon peanut butter 3 grams added sugar

Snack: Snack bag of grapes 0 grams added sugar

Lunch: Grilled pork loin, orange, 10 Tostitos corn chips 0 grams added sugar

Snack: 1/2 Pure Protein Bar 2 grams added sugar

Supper: Spinach dinner salad with grilled chicken strips, walnuts, feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 2 grams of added sugar.

Water to drink for each meal and snack.

Total added sugar for the day: 11 to 15 grams

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: 5K Prep Two Weeks Out

Happy Memorial Day weekend. Hope this post finds you enjoying some great outdoor activities. This weekend starts the gardening season where I live. Saturday morning meant a trip to the greenhouse to pick out some new perennials and annuals.

Gardening is  great exercise! Bending, stretching, lifting, and walking. There is also something very satisfying about digging around in the dirt. Even though it took me all day (I had to dodge two thunderstorms) to get the flowers in, I got it done and they look great now.

This morning hubby and I went to early church so we could get a 5K walk in before it got too hot. We will be walking in the Train Wreck Trek 5K (I hate to run) on Saturday, June 9. We did the course we will be walking for the 5K. It’s flat and shady and will be good for the runners to PR. This will be my first one so it will be my base time. Today we walked about 17 minute miles at 3.5 MPH

Hubby on the Train Wreck Trek trail.

I’m looking forward to doing this 5K. I would never run one but I can hardly wait to walk it.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Himalayan Salt Caves


Have you ever heard of a Himalayan Salt Cave? This is the ultimate
stress relief. Our local Curves just added one. I have visited it twice and love, love, love it! For $15 you can have 45 minutes of great relaxation. While you are relaxing, you are breathing in 84 different minerals and trace elements. These promote health by helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Lots of different ailments can be positively affected. The salt cave can help allergies, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, skin ailments and more. I could feel and hear (weird) my sinuses opening up a few minutes after I went into the salt cave.

My absolute favorite things about the salt cave is the total relaxation you get for the 45 minutes you are there. When you enter you sit in a recliner under softly lit lanterns and twinkling lights that resemble stars. You take about eight to ten deep breaths to get the minerals flowing through your system. Relaxing music begins to play and in just a few minutes I am transported somewhere else…some people fall asleep, but I feel like I get into more of a meditative state and I love it. When the lights come up, I feel totally relaxed and refreshed. If you get a chance, find a salt cave near you and give it a try!
If you have had a salt cave experience, share it in the comments.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Level Up! With Slimkicker

We could all use a little motivation to stay on track when trying to eat healthy and exercise. For all you techies, a new website and iphone/ipad app is ready to help you stay on track. The folks at Slimkicker.com asked me to review their new website and app and let you know what I think.

Slimkicker is a website and app where you can keep track of your food intake and exercise calorie output.  Nothing new.  There are lots of websites and apps that do this.  The difference?  Slimkicker is designed to work like a video game. As you record what you eat and what your workout is each day, you earn points. The points move you to different “levels”.

Now I liked this idea because I have always been a health nut and always been pretty much the same weight. So the sights that emphasize weight loss just are not for me. This one intrigued me so I joined.

Features

Track Food: Record what you eat by searching for the food item and entering the food amount.  It will keep track of the  calories you have consumed and compare that to your preset calorie goal according to height, weight, exercise levels and amount of weight you want to lose or  gain.

 

Track exercise: You can record the calories you expend during exercise by entering the types and amounts of activities you take part in each day. There is a large data base of exercises you can search to record what you have done.

Challenges:  This is my favorite part.  There are a huge amount of challenges you can join that help you reach your health and fitness goals.  Get points for checking in each day the challenge progresses.  There are fitness and diet challenges as well as others.  I joined the “Beauty Sleep” challenge.  It’s a seven day challenge to help you get to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual.  So far it has helped me get in bed before 11 p.m. each nite this week. There are also some challenges you can join that offer a chance to win prizes (like $100 gift cards) to people who finish.

Social Sharing: You can friend other members within the group and comment on their status updates and check-ins.  You can really support each other during your fitness journey.  There are lots of groups you can join to connect with like minded people.  I joined a beta tester group to give suggestions to make the site even better.

Rewards:  You can select and share what reward you will give yourself when you level up.  When I reached level two I downloaded an MP3 from Florence and the Machine.  When I leveled up to #3 I treated myself to a movie night and we watched “The Help” at our house. Haven’t decided what to reward myself with for level 4.  Any suggestions??

Things I’m hoping to see at Slimkicker soon

  • A barcode scanner in the track foods area.  It makes recording your calories so much easier
  • I use DVD programs to exercise like P90X,  Zumba etc.  It would be nice if they were in the exercise area to choose from.
  • A way to connect with friends you make in Slimkicker via facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.
  • An app for my Android phone please!

Take a look at Slimkicker at http://www.slimkicker.com or download the app if you have an Iphone/pad.  Then comment here on how you like it.

Online Fitness Coaching: A (Healthy) Trip to Pittsburgh

This past weekend we combined a trip to see our daughter in Pittsburgh with a trip to the Apple store in Shadyside to get an iPad 3 (yippee!) Since hubby and I are trying to keep it on the healthy side we combined (kind of) skinny dining out, exercise and walking. We didn’t leave until early Saturday morning so I got my ChaLean Extreme weightlifting in on Friday night.  I took my water bottle in the car and made sure I packed two Pure Protein bars to ward off those nasty Sheetz convenience store snacks.

We were at at my daughter Marla’s house in about three hours and from there we walked to the Apple store. It was close to her house in a funky little neighborhood filled with boutiques, shops and restaurants.  I sat in on an iPad basics workshop while hubby talked business with an Apple “genius”. If you have never shopped at an Apple store, it’s a pretty positive experience. Within about an hour we had purchased an iPad 3, had it all set up to use and knew the basics on how to operate it. (Stay tuned for reviews on health and fitness apps for you to try.)

After our big purchase, we all headed for Mercurio’s, a cute little restaurant just around the corner. They serve salads, sandwiches and pizza cooked in a wood fired oven. I ordered a “fungi”. It had mushrooms, marinara, fresh mozzarella and a tasty thin crust. We treated ourselves to some gelato, a Mercurios special. It had half the butter fat of ice cream and was delicious.

Now it was time to check in to our hotel and hit the gym for a workout. The kids decided to hang out in the room and relax. Hubby brought a circuit workout from his trainer. I decided to take advantage of the really nice gym and did 40 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the recumbent bike. Now we were ready for our complimentary free drink!

Next we headed for an old school restaurant in Greentree Marla found on the Internet. It was decorated in warm wood and featured Italian food. I had pasta in vodka sauce (ok not real healthy but definitely delicious). After dinner we hung out together in our room. Since I rarely sit still at work or home, this was heavenly.

Sunday was brunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my college roomie, Wanda. She and I both opted for the energy breakfast: egg whites, chicken breasts and mushrooms. Yum.  After some relaxing and lots of great conversation, it was time to head back home.  Hubby and I had a (mostly) healthy weekend, a great visit with our daughter and my roomie and a new tech toy to play with.  What could be better?

Online Fitness Coaching: Beginner’s Workout

Hey all! Just surfing around Pinterest today.  I’m home early from work prepping for a colonoscopy (yuck) and trying to take it easy.  Hey it’s all for healthier living, right?  Anyway..here’s a 30 day fitness plan for those of you who might be starting out from complete scratch.  Maybe you have not exercised for a long time and you need to start over.  It’s never a good idea to come out like a house on fire, overdo it and quit because you are too sore to walk for three days.  Print this out and put it on your fridge.  Follow it for 30 days and see how much better you feel.  While you’re at it, skip over to my “nutrition” tab and check out Shakeology.  They can both get you started on the right foot! Have a great weekend.