Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Spartacus Workout

     I tried an awesome workout this morning and I have to say, I'm already sore! (I love being sore though, do you?) Remember this book? I was flipping through it last night looking for some inspiration now that I'm cleared to get my postpartum body back into some real shape and I came across The Spartacus Workout. One of the things I loved about it was that it required minimal equipment and mostly body weight. And you can make it 10 minutes or 30 minutes depending on how much time you have (and my time is very limited with a 7-week-old and a 2-year-old running around).

     The Spartacus Workout is a circuit, you need to treat it as such or else you miss out on the benefits of the workout. Circuits are awesome because they get your heart rate up and you work your muscles well so really, you're killing 2 birds with one stone (which I very much like). You get your cardio, and you get your toning.

     There are 10 stations you rotate through, you spend 60 seconds at each station and allow yourself 15 seconds to move from station to station. Perform the exercise at your station for as many reps as you can within than 60 second period. If you can't make it to 60 seconds, it's okay to take a break but then pick back up where you left off. If you need to take that break, pause only for a few seconds. You don't want your heart rate to drop too much. Repeat the circuit for a total of 3 times (if you can haha) leaving a 2 minute break in between circuits. Ready for the circuit?

Station 1
Goblet squat
Station 2
Mountain climber
Station 3
Single-arm dumbbell swing
Station 4
T-push up
Station 5
Split jump
Station 6
Dumbbell row
Station 7
Dumbbell side lunge and touch
Station 8
Push up position row
Station 9
Dumbbell lunge and rotation
Station 10
Dumbbell push press

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pyramid Training Method

     You may have seen some pyramid workouts floating around the internet or places like Pinterest that look something like this:

20 calf raises
30 squats
40 toe touches
50 second wall sit
100 jumping jacks
50 second wall sit
40 toe touches
30 squats
20 calf raises

     (I tried this one and yes, I was sore!) While these workouts do resemble a pyramid in terms of going up in the number of reps and peaking before coming back down, traditionally the pyramid method of training is much different. There's nothing wrong with these other pyramid workouts, in fact, I really like them, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to explain what the traditional pyramid training method is.

     I could get all technical and talk about 1 rep max and all that but I'm going to keep this really simple. You're going to decrease your reps as you increase your weight. For example, if I'm using the pyramid training method while doing bicep curls I would do something like this:

12 reps at 8 lbs
10 reps at 10 lbs
8 reps at 15 lbs

It could even look like this...
12 reps at 8 lbs
10 reps at 10 lbs
8 reps at 15 lbs
10 reps at 10 lbs
12 reps at 8 lbs

It's totally up to you.

     It's totally up to you how many sets you would like to do, what weights you do, how many reps you start at, and how many reps you decrease by. Obviously the less reps you do, the heavier the weight. If you get all the way down to 1 rep, it needs to be so hard that you can only lift that weight the 1 time. If you get down to just a few reps but you feel like you could lift that weight 10 times, you need to change your weights.

     One of the benefits to a pyramid workout is that by starting with lighter weight and more reps, you give your muscles a chance to warm up before hitting the heavier weights. Also, being able to hit heavier weights towards the end will help you overload the muscle and as you may remember, we want to overload the muscle so that it becomes stronger.

     So, have fun with pyramids, leave comments sharing ones you like with everyone else and, as always, leave me an email with any more questions you may have! sarabsorensen@gmail.com

     Since your weight-lifting pyramid workout is going to be unique to you, here's another of the different pyramid workouts like I showed at the beginning of this post to try. Enjoy!

          The PT Pyramid

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm Back!

     I'm ready to get Turbo Fit going again (not gonna lie, this blog is an excellent motivator for me!) but I don't always have time to sit down and write a post and come up with workouts. If any of you are blog writers you know, blogging can take a lot of time! So, to keep giving you all something new (and to help myself get back into the swing of things) I'll be posting links to some awesome workouts I find. This way, you don't have to go looking for them, and I can keep posting regularly in less time. Sound good? I thought so. ;)

     Here's a 15 minute equipment-free cardio workout from FITNESS Magazine! Perfect, right? If you have invested in equipment that's awesome, however most people don't invest in their own equipment so it's awesome to find some cardio workouts that also help tone you up with nothing but your body weight and gravity. Enjoy and let me know how you did!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Miss me much?

     Well, I didn't plan on taking such a long break before the baby was born, but I did plan on laying low for a while after! I apologize for the 2 month break in posting but sleepless nights mean no energy for anything, including blogging! People don't often realize that blogging takes quite a lot of time and since I don't get paid to do this, it's hard to justify some of the time I spend on here which is why I've taken such a long break. My cute little kiddos need me! (And I need a good night's sleep - I'm not sure when that'll come though. :))
     I'm still going to be taking a few more weeks to try to catch up on some sleep and to prepare things to get this blog going again, but I thought I'd drop a line to assure you all that I have survived this first month with a newborn and a crazy toddler, and that I will be coming back! I hope you all have been doing wonderfully well in life and especially in your fitness goals. I'll be back in a few weeks to help you get going and to give you some great new health and fitness ideas! You're all so wonderful!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Asked... Rip 60 Program

     Recently on the Turbo Fit Facebook page I asked what you were most interested in hearing about right now. I've got 4 weeks until baby boy is born which means 4 weeks or less for me to get in all the posts you are really wanting to hear about now. One follower asked me what I knew about the Rip-60 program and I'm not gonna lie, I'd never heard of it before. That being said, I don't know any real people who have tried it so I don't know what the real world results of the actual program are, but I can give you my professional assessment of the program based on what they are claiming. I have a massive list of programs I want to do once this baby is born and I'm cleared for exercise (though I have to admit, it's SO hard to wait for that clearance!). I'm going to have to add Rip-60 to that list and then I can give you a different perspective on how the program works.

     The first thing I noticed as I got onto the website was the Jillian Michaels was on there. I have to tell you that at that point I was trying really hard not to have a negative opinion about the program haha. Perhaps I shouldn't mention this, but I'm not a fan of Jillian Michaels. I've read some of her books and I've watched her quite a bit on multiple fitness shows and I think she's pretty fake and that because something worked for her to get her out of her obese adolescence, it should work for everyone and that if you don't do it her way, you're wrong. Fortunately, she's not the creator of this program so the fact that she's on it shouldn't be that big of a deal. I have read some articles, however, stating that her kettlebell workouts do not use proper technique and that people have gotten hurt following her kettlebell workouts so I would strongly advise you to look up proper technique on the kettlebell exercises that she leads before fully participating in those exercises.

     Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest about Jillian, I need to address the claims that it's better than P90X and Insanity. Rip-60 claims that you lose more weight, build more endurance, and blah blah blah. I'm not gonna lie, whether these claims are true or not, it has nothing to do with the "betterness" (is that a word? it is now haha) of the program. It's different than P90X and Insanity so of course you're going to get different (not necessarily better) results. Each program focuses differently on those aspects and so results will be different (again, not necessarily better). No matter what program you peruse, time and effort are key parts that no program can force you to do at any level. It's going to be all about the time you put into it and the effort you put into it. Also, different programs are going to have different amounts of strength, endurance, and cardio training. If a program is weighted more towards cardio (programs like Insanity) then yes, you will lose more weight with that program. If it is more weighted towards strength training, then chances are you're going to lose less weight, and build more muscle. (Though to be fair, a small change with the numbers on the scale can be misleading - you're building muscle, so the fat loss that occurs isn't going to show up as dramatically on the scale because you are gaining more muscle mass.) They all increase strength, they all help you reduce body fat, and they all increase endurance, so really, you can't go wrong. My personal opinion is that all three of these programs are going to be great, you just have to figure out which one you will like the most and that you will stick with.

     Having not done the program myself or knowing anyone that has, from outside appearances this program seems great and you'll be happy with your results, though I have no real testimony from anyone to back this up. Again, if you're putting the effort in that you should, almost any program is going to be great. As long as the meal plans are balanced and realistic, those are great tools in the program to help you get the body you want. Be wary though of supplements and meal replacements. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, you do NOT need meal replacements OR supplements! Once you have the body you want, you need to find a way to maintain it. If you can't continue going on at the pace you were during the program, you need at least to keep it as part of your routine at whatever level you can and keep eating healthy. The reason people revert back to their old bodies is because they revert back to their old ways. Keep eating healthy, keep exercising, and your results will last. Have fun, enjoy, and if you have any experience with Rip-60 please share in a comment below!

     Click on the Turbo Fit Facebook page link to "like" on Facebook and stay updated on all of Turbo Fit's newest posts and have more opportunities to let me know what you want to learn about!

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Challenge!

     Alrighty! I'm finally home from my many summer travels and won't be going anywhere for a while (with 6 weeks left until baby boy gets here, my body is very grateful for no more car rides!). I've been thinking a lot about the direction I want to go next with this blog and I haven't quite got it figured out yet but I didn't want to leave you all hanging (as I have for the last little while here) so I decided to throw out another challenge to help you look your best. This one is just as simple as the push up challenge but will change your body in big ways. I decided we were ready for a sit up challenge! Yahoo! Don't you just love sit ups? Haha okay maybe not, but I can promise you that you will love what happens to you when you are consistently working your abs.
     Did you know that a lot of lower back pain is caused by weak abdominal muscles? Well, now you know, and now there's no reason for you NOT to work your abs. Speaking as one who is suffering from extreme back pain due to pregnancy right now, I would KILL to do some sit ups! So, two biggest reasons to do the sit up challenge? Stronger, flatter abdominal muscles for a flatter tummy, and lower back pain relief! I think we can all agree that the benefits far outweigh the horribleness of doing sit ups. ;)
     I promise that not all challenges will be outlined this same way, but this one is going to be the same as the push up challenge. You're going to work your way up to 100 sit ups at a time. You can start with as few as you like and slowly add more until you can work up to 100. I personally like to do several sets of sit ups throughout the day (well, I would if I weren't pregnant right now haha) so that I'm getting in a large total of sit ups. If your abs are in decent shape already, you'll probably be able to do close to 100 per day in sets. For example, you could do 25 in the morning, 25 in the afternoon, 25 in the evening, and 25 before you go to bed. While doing the push up challenge, I did 25 after my morning warm up (just before my cardio) I did my cardio, did another set of 25 push ups, stretched, and then did another set. If I could remember (which is always the tricky part) I would do another 25 later in the day. I haven't been able to do 100 in a row yet, but I have been making progress! ;)
     So, I officially issue the challenge to work your way up to 100 sit ups in a row and leave comments on how you've been trying to accomplish this. Please comment on ways you keep yourself motivated to do this so that your ideas can help others! I'd also love to hear about how far you've come on your push up challenge! Good luck!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Swim Suit Ready Series: The Back Workout

     Yahoo! The last workout is here! After this I'll post a weekly schedule for you to follow so you get a total body workout throughout the week!
     The first exercise is the dumbbell row. You'll need a set of 5-8 lb. weights for this. Stand with feet about hip width or so apart (the distance isn't too important, as long as you're comfortable). Lean forward, keeping your back straight so that your upper body is close to paralell with the floor. (You may bend your knees and you don't have to be all the way paralell, just close to it.) Let your arms hang down and then draw the weights up towards your chest, bending your elbows as you go. Squeeze your shoulder plades. You'll do this for 12 reps and then follow it with 10 pulses. You'll stay in this position for the next exercise. Perform a rear lateral raise by letting your arms hang down again for the start and then lifting them outward so that you open up your chest to the floor, palms toward the ground, and arms straight. You'll feel this more on the sides of your back than at your shoulder blades. Do this for 12 reps and then follow it with 10 pulses. Stand up to relieve the stress on your lower back, and then head back down for another set of dumbbell rows and rear lateral raises. You'll do both for a total of 3 sets.
     This next set of exercises are going to involve a little more cardio but hey, cardio during a strength workout is a good thing. ;) First, take an exercise band and tie a knot in the middle of the band. Throw the knot over a door and close the door so you have the two ends hanging down. Pull on it with caution at first to make sure it's secure. Next, get down on the floor and set up for push ups. Why push ups? Because it's not just for your chest! Push ups are an awesome core exercise and they do a lot to strengthen your back. Do 12 push ups (on your knees, or toes, it doesn't matter) and then stand back up and hold onto the ends of your exercise band. Stand so that you've got some tension on the band and hold your arms out straight. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band down and touch your fists to the tops of your thighs. This is a lat pulldown. You'll do 12 reps. Alternate the push ups and the lat pulldowns for a total of 3 sets on each exercise.
     The last 2 exercises are performed on the floor. You'll need to lay all the way down on your stomach, arms stretched out above your head. You'll be doing a Floor Y Raise and a Floor I Raise. For the Floor Y Raise, move your arms out so that your arms and body are in the shape of a "y", thumbs pointed up toward the ceiling. Raise and lower your arms for 15 reps, keeping your head down. Bring your arms all the way back up over your head for the I Raise. Raise and lower your arms for 15 reps, keeping your head down. Continue to alternate the Floor Y and Floor I Raises for a total of 3 sets of each exercise.

The Back Workout:
Dumbbell Row - 12 reps followed by 10 pusles
Rear Lateral Raise - 12 reps followed by 10 pulses
Stand for a small break
Repeat Dumbbell Row and Rear Lateral Raise for a total of 3 sets each
Push Ups - 12 reps
Lat Pulldowns - 12 reps
Repeat Push Ups and Lat Pulldowns for a total of 3 sets each
Floor Y Raise - 15 reps
Floor I Raise - 15 reps
Repeat Y and I Raises for a total of 3 sets each
Stretch!

Swim Suit Ready Series: The Thigh Workout

     We're almost there! This is the 4th of 5 workouts and I pormise the last one will be up today! I'm gonna skip all the talking and get straight to The Thigh Workout! You'll need a set of weights and a step stool or aerobic step for this workout.
     I hate lunges as much as the next person but the work so there's really no way around it. Our first exercise is a lunge/squat combo. Starting on your right leg, you'll lunge forward, come back to center, then squat out towards the right, and come back to center. This is one rep. Remember to push through your heels on the squat and don't let your knee go past your toes on the lunge. Proper form will help you get the most benefit from the exercise as well as prevent injuries. You'll do 12 lunge/squat combos on the right and then 12 on the left. You may take a small stretching break and then go for it again. 12 on the right, 12 on the left.
     The next exercise is the deadlift. I love deadlifts because they strengthen the hamstrings (which can be hard to get at) and because they also stretch the hamstrings at the same time and a lot of us frequently forget to stretch our hamstrings. Also, a lot of knee problems cam be solved by making sure your hamstrings and your quadriceps are equally strengthened. A lot of people forget to strengthen both muscle groups and the result is knee pain. So, don't skip this one! To perform a straight-leg deadlift you'll stand with your feet about hip width apart. You'll need to be holding some type of weight, whether it's dumbbells, a barbell, or homemade weights, to make this exercise challenging. Standing tall, begin to bend forward, keeping your back flat and your legs straight. Let the weights hang down, don't force your arms to stay at your sides. Bend down as far as you can (you'll feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings and you should be able to go down a little further as your muscles warm up) and then raise your upper body back into an upright position, making sure you feel your hamstrings and your rear lifting you back up. This will strengthen your lower back as well, but you should be focusing on using your hamstrings and glutes to bring you back up into an upright position. You'll do this for 15 reps.
     Set your weights down and center yourself in front of your step stool (or aerobic step). Step up on just your right foot (let your left foot hang off the side of the step) and then step all the way back down. Do 15 on the right, and 15 on the left. Alternate this exercise with the deadlift for a total of 3 sets of each exercise.
     Remember the hip raises from this post? Well, we're bringing it back! This variation is actually not on the list from that post but it's a really simple variation. You're basically going to do a normal hip raise as described in this post, only you'll raise one leg off the floor so that you're doing a single-leg hip raise. After 12 resp on your right leg, do 12 on your left. Without lowering your hips, bring both feet back to the floor and maintain the raise while squeezing your glutes for 30 seconds. Lower back down and take a very short rest. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.

And the condensed version!
The Thigh Workout:
Lunge/Squat Combo - 12 reps on each leg
small stretching break
Repeat Lung/Squat Combo and small stretching break
Straight-Leg Deadlift - 15 reps
Step Ups - 15 reps per side
Repeat Straight-Leg Deadlift and Step Ups for a total of 3 sets each
Single-Leg Hip Raise - 12 reps on each side with a 30 second squeeze at the end
Repeat Single-Leg Hip Raise with squeeze for a total of 3 sets

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swim Suit Ready Series: The Ab Workout

     Happy day after the 4th of July everyone! I sincerely hope you all were able to celebrate heartily and enjoy some awesome fireworks! I had an all-American BBQ dinner topped off with some Apple Pie, lit some sparklers with my family and watched the Capitol 4th celebration on TV (we watched some awesome fireworks provided by the town my parents live in on Sunday so that all the visitors could see the show instead of missing it on the actual 4th while driving home). It was awesome and I truely feel blessed to live in this great country. Even with all it's problems, it's still a great country and I LOVE the patriotism displayed on the 4th!
     I've had some time on my hands today and I finished up the last 3 workouts for the Swim Suit Ready Series and I'm so excited to share them all with you! After these next 3 posts you'll be ready to start the Swim Suit Ready Workout Routine (I've put together a weekly schedule to follow, feel free to modify yours as you see fit) and I've got a new challenge for you as well! More on those later. For now, we're going to focus on the ab workout! Now, before we get into that I feel I should remind you all that the strongest abs in the world will not show through the layers of fat that we tend to store so be sure to eat healthy to promote weight loss and to cut down on bloating, and keep up with your cardio routines to blast that fat away and make sure your beautiful abs show through! On to the workout!
     You're going to start off in the plank position, up on your hands and toes, and you're going to start with mountain climbers. You'll pull your right knee in towards your chest and then extend your leg back into plank position. Repeat on the left side. Do this for a total of 10 reps (5 on each side) and then hold plank position for 10 seconds. You'll do 3 sets with little to no rest in between (don't rest on your knees unless you can't go on without a rest).
     The next exercise is called a Russian Twist. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat, and arms extended out in front of you, palms pressed together. Lean back slightly so that your abs are engaged. Maintain a straight back. Twist your upper body so that your extended arms will point all the way to your right. Come back to center and then twist to the left, and then to center. This is one rep. You'll do 10 reps. After the Russian Twist you'll lie straight down on your back to do leg drops. Start with both feet extended straight up into the air and slowly let your legs lower straight to the floor. Go down as far as you can while keeping your lower back pressed to the floor and then raise them back up. You'll do 10 leg drops. Your goal should be to be able to go lower as time goes on and your abs strengthen. Alternate doing a set of Russian Twists and the Leg Drops until you've done 3 sets of each. Do these 2 exercises with littler to no rest in between.
     These last exercises have been around for a long time and as much as you may not like them, they still work and you'll have to suck it up and cranck out a few crunches to reall finish things off. ;) You'll start off with normal crunches. You'll do 8 slow crunches (2 counts up, 2 counts down), 8 fast crunches (1 count up, 1 count down), 8 more slow, and 8 pulses. After the crunches you'll do a reverse crunch. Lay back on the floor as if you're going to do more crunches. Instead of lifting your upper body, you're going to draw your knees toward your chest (but not all the way into your chest) and then lift your lower body off the floor (basically you tuck your pelvis so that your lower back comes off the floor slightly, you'll feel the burn in your very lower abs). You'll do 8 slow (2 counts up, 2 counts down), 8 fast (1 count up, 1 count down), 8 slow, and 8 pulses. Alternate between the crunch and the reverse crunch for a total of 3 sets. You should be taking little to no rest in between these 2 exercises.
     And there it is! If you notice, there are 3 sets of 2 different exercises you're alternating between. You may take rest or even stretch for a minute between those sets but I will encourage you to try not to take any rest at all between the 2 exercises within that set. With these 6 exercises you're working all parts of your abs so it's very important that you don't skip a particular exercise becuase you don't like it. For well-toned abs you need to strengthen all parts of your abs. Well-toned abs will also decrease any lower back pain you may be having so if the thought of a six pack isn't enough, think of your pain-free lower back to motivate you to finish the workout and do it regularly!

As always, the condensed version:
The Ab Workout:
Mountain Climbers - 10 reps
Plank - 10 seconds
 - repeat for a total of 3 sets -
Russian Twist - 10 reps (right, center, left, center is 1 rep)
Leg Drops - 10 reps
 - repeat for a total of 3 sets -
Crunches - 8 slow, 8 fast, 8 slow, 8 pulse
Reverse Crunches - 8 slow, 8 fast, 8 slow, 8 pulse
 - repeat for a total of 3 sets -
Stretch!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Swim Suit Ready Series: The Arm Workout

     I hope you all enjoyed The Butt Workout as much as I did. My rear is sore but tight and that, my friends, is worth all the burn! ;) I've decided I'm a pretty big fan of timed workouts like The Butt Workout. Sometimes when I'm working out on my own I'll throw a workout together with several exercises with multiple sets but I get to the last few sets and I just don't want to do them and quitting is SO easy - no one is there to make me do it! I've written The Arm Workout similarly in that there aren't really sets and reps (in the traditional sense) but it all flows together and can be done with very little rest in between making your workout more effective and will take less time to complete. So, that being said, throw on some fast paced music and use the music to help you keep the pace for this arm workout to make you feel more like you're in a group fitness toning class and less like you're on your own and ready to give up! ;)
     Grab a pair of 5-8 lb. dumbbells (or any of your improvised home weights) for this workout and crank up that music (fast paced with a strong, easy to follow beat - I promise music will help you keep pace and will make this workout fly by)!
     Begin by standing tall, arms at your sides. Following the beat of the music, begin doing arm curls. Count out 8 curls, followed by 12 half arm curls (starting from a 90 degree angle and going up toward your shoulders), immediately go back into 8 full arm curls. At the end of 8 arm curls, pause at 90 degrees and pulse for 10 beats. At last, do 8 more full arm curls.
     Hands back down at your sides, do 12 lateral raises (you may keep your elbows slightly bent to take some pressure off the elbow joint) not going above shoulder height (you don't need to go any higher). After 12 lateral raises, bend forward slightly, keeping your back straight and tall, and do 12 tricep kickbacks. After the 12 kickbacks, pulse for 10 beats at the height of your last kickback. Go back to 12 lateral raises, followed by 12 tricep kickbacks and 10 pulses.
     Set up to do a shoulder press, but instead of just a shoulder press we'll do a combination of two exercises. You'll do a full shoulder press, come back to starting position, and then push your hands outward as if bracing yourself in a doorway (a wide doorway where you can extend your arms fully). You'll do this combo for 12 reps. After 12 reps you'll come back down to do arm curls again, but this time you'll set your arms at a wide angle (elbows stay tucked at your sides). Do a set of 12 wide arm curls. Follow that with 12 more shoulder press combos and then 12 more wide arm curls.
     The last exercise is tricky and you do not need weights for this move. You'll actually need to get down into push up position only angle your position so that your rear is up in the air and your body is in an upside down "v" position. (You can search "inverted shoulder press" for more clarification on this move.) Bend your arms to lower your head toward the floor and then press back up. You'll do this for 8 reps and then straighten your body out to hold a normal push up or plank position and hold steady for 30 seconds (or as long as you are able). Get back into your upside down "v" position for 8 more inverted should presses and then hold plank again for another 30 seconds.
     Whew! Are you tired? You should be! With this workout you've worked several different angles of your biceps and triceps, multiple angles of your deltoids (shoulders), your trapezoid, your lats, your forearms, and your core. Along with those major muscles you've worked a miriad of smaller muscles in between to help give you a toned, defined look worthy of swim suit season and tank tops all summer long.
     Just to recap (as I did with The Butt Workout) here's a condensed version without all the explinations that you can keep right in front of you as you work out so you don't have to stop and chekc your computer screen every 30 seconds. ;)

The Arm Workout:
8 arm curls
12 half arm curls (from 90 degrees and up)
8 arm curls
10 pulses at 90 degrees
8 arm curls
12 lateral raises
12 tricep kickbacks followed by 10 pulses
12 lateral raises
12 tricep kickbacks followed by 10 pulses
12 shoulder press combos
12 wide arm curls
12 shoulder press combos
12 wide arm curls
8 inverted shoulder presses
30 second plank
8 inverted shoulder presses
30 second plank

Don't forget to stretch! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Swim Suit Ready Series: The Butt Workout

     Sorry I've been MIA for the last few weeks! My husband was preparing for his first clinical rotation which involved us moving temporarily out of our apartment and into my parents' house for six weeks and let me just say, I'm not a fan of packing for a 6 week vacation (I say vacation because we weren't fully moving out of our apartment, just getting 6 weeks worth of vacation-like things together and then some - crazy!). But here we are, all nice and settled for the most part and ready to blog again. (Just a side note, I didn't proofread before posting so please excuse any mistakes, I'll fix them later!) I really hope I can crank out the rest of this Swim Suit Ready Series for you so that you can get cracking on ALL parts of the workout and feel confident this summer!
     You'll start off with The Butt Workout and while you're waiting for me to post more of the Series, start The Butt Workout every other day for a nice, toned and lifted rear that you'll be proud to show off and not to hide with your cover-up!

The Butt Workout:
     You'll need to be looking at a clock for this workout, one that will show the seconds go by, not just the minutes. This workout doesn't take long - only 5 minutes with a little bit of set up time in between exercises - but you will feel the burn by the end and you'll be so happy I didn't make it longer. ;) You will need to be near a wall, and you will need a chair for balance at some point in the workout so have one nearby (don't worry, the chair is not going to affect the difficulty of the workout, it's simpley there to help you out so you can do the exercise without having to stop and regain balance).
     Stand with hands on hips, feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward. Squat down nice and controlled and then jump explosively off the ground landing back in the squatting position. Continue with the squat jump for 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, hold your squat postion and pulse for 10 seconds (be sure you are pushing through your heels, not the balls of your feet). After 10 seconds of pulse and the lowest point in your squat, continue to jump squat for another 20 seconds and then pulse at the bottom of your squat for another 10 seconds. Stand up and immediately get ready for the next move.
     Stand behind your chair and hold on lightly with both hands, without leaning over the back of the chair, extend your right leg straight out behind you as far as you can, squeezing your glutes. Bring the leg back to the starting point. Continue to lift and lower your leg behind you (please don't lean over your chair!) for 20 seconds and then pulse for 10 seconds at the height of your lift. Return your right leg to the starting point and then switch to do the same thing for your left leg. Return to the starting point and immediately get ready for the next move.
     Stand with your chair-back at your left side and hold on with your left hand. Then chair is only here for balance so do not lean on your chair. Place your right hand on your hip. Lift your right leg straight out to the side as high as you can and lower again. Lift and lower your right leg for 20 seconds and then pulse at the height of the lift for 10 seconds. Return to the start. Switch the chair to your right side and perform the same exercise for the same number of seconds for your left leg. Be sure to stand up straight and not lean while performing this exercise. Return to the start and immediately get ready for the next exercise.
     Get down on your hands and knees, back straight and knees hip width apart. Keeping your right leg bent, lift your heel to the sky as high as you can and then lower. Continue to lift and lower for 30 seconds. Return your right leg to the start and then perform the same exercise for 30 seconds on your left leg. Stand up and immediately get ready for your last exercise (yay!).
      Back up against a wall and perform a wall squat by squatting down so that your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle and your back is flat against the wall. Place your hands in whatever position is most comfortable for you as long as they are not helping to support you at all. You should be pushing throuhg your heels and not the balls of your feet. Hold this squat for 1 minute. It is okay to take small breaks during this minute but you should be working up to being able to hold the squat for 1 minute. Stand up and you're done! Way to go! Now go and give your glutes a well deserved stretch!

Just to recap, here's what the routine looks like without all the explaining:
Jump Squat - 20 sec.
Pulse - 10 sec.
Jump Squat - 20 sec.
Pulse - 10 sec.
Standing Rear Leg Lift Right - 20 sec.
Pulse - 10 sec.
Standing Rear Leg Lift Left - 20 sec.
Pulse - 10 sec.
Standing Side Leg Lift Right - 20 sec.
Pulse - 10 sec.
Standing Side Leg Lift Left - 20 sec.
Pulse - 10 sec.
 - Down on your hands and knees -
Kick Back Right - 30 sec.
Kick back Left - 30 sec.
 - Return to standing -
Wall Sit - 1 min.
Stretch!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Swim Suit Ready Series

     So I've got some good news and some bad news. I'll start with the good news because the bad news isn't super bad and I'm excited about the good news. ;) The good new is, I've been brainstorming like crazy and decided to come up with a Swim Suit Ready Series! It's summer time and everyone is breaking out those swim suits and starting to get rid of the pasty white skin of winter in exchange for nice tans and I'm sure everyone wants a nice body to go along with that. :) I'll have about four or five posts on the Series, each workout focusing on a different muscle group, and then I'll post a workout schedule for each of the different workouts. I'm sure somewhere in there I'll throw in some ideas for tasty summer treats you can go crazy with!
     Now for the bad news. I'm pretty darn tied up with some home things at the moment and I can't guarantee when these posts will come out. I will tell you this, however. I'm very excited about this and I will try my hardest to squeeze this in at night after my toddler goes to bed and I can't make too much noise (this forces me to have to sit down and take care of some quiet things, like blogging). I'm hoping the first one will come out tonight - but don't quote me on that! In the mean time, I'd like your input on areas of your body that you are most concerned about and I'll incorporate tips on helping you with your problem areas. Get commenting and look out for the Swim Suit Ready Series! :D

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pushup Challenge Checkup!

     Have any of you started the pushup challenge yet? I'm wondering how everyone is doing and what you're trying to do to keep yourself motivated and when you're finding time to squeeze it in! Leave a comment letting me and all the other readers know how you're doing it and help others find the motivation to do the same! Also, if you have any inspiring stories you'd like to share with the Turbo Fit world please email me at sarabsorensen@gmail.com and I'll share your story with others. Thanks! Good luck with the challenge!

Super Fit Mama

     In my quest to stay in tip top shape while pregnant I did A LOT of searching for some good fitness books for pregnant women. I have to say, there's a lot of crazy stuff out there than is not helpful at all. I visited a few book stores and I was not able to find ANYTHING that I found helpful at all. I came home quite discouraged and hoped on Amazon praying that I'd be able to find something there and I did! I found this amazing book by Tracey Mallett with tons of great workouts for every trimester and even for that 6 week period after the baby to help tighten those abs back up.
     What I love about these workouts is that they are still challenging while keeping in mind your new pregnant body. I hated looking at books with these simple workouts that were not challenging and that made you feel like you were in a nursing home rather than trying to keep your awesome body in shape while creating another human being at the same time.
     Tracey talks about pelvic floor disorders and diastasis recti (the separation of the abs that can occur in some women during their pregnancy) and has notes throughout her workouts on modifications for women who have these issues so that they can continue to workout safely.
     Just to give you an idea of what's in store, she has a chapter on each trimester including workouts, a chapter for the first six weeks postpartum (during this time you should not be doing real exercise programs, however Tracey's little ab routine is perfectly safe for those postpartum weeks and will especially help moms with diastasis recti to heal during that time), the 7-19 week postpartum phase where you can finally begin a normal workout routine again, eating for two, and baby workouts on the go (which I'm very excited to try out!). She even has a chapter devoted to helping moms learn to eat for one again and she's got great recipes for healthy foods and snacks.
     I will definitely be using this book more to help me stay in shape and to help pull my abs back in after this cute little boy is born! I would suggest that you all take a look at this book and you can find it here at the Turbo Fit Store!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Weight Loss and Nutrition Helps

Little Helps for Those of Us with No Self Control
Ways to Make Weight Loss Easier

            I know I’ve already posted an article very similar to this but I had to write it all out again for a friend and figured I may as well post it again because I honestly and truly believe that these ideas will help you in your weight loss goals. Repetition will help you to remember and hopefully it will help inspire you to make small lifestyle changes to keep you healthy and to help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

- Switch to low fat/fat free versions of anything you can:
            - fat free milk, sour cream, and cheese (fat free cheese tastes fine but it doesn’t melt well so if you’re using it on something that requires it to be melted – like pizza – go for the reduced fat version)
- Substitute the butter on your toast, potatoes, whatever you like to butter, for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray. You can’t really tell the difference and it’s got barely any calories and fat at all.
- Eat frozen yogurt instead of full fat ice cream.
- Search for recipies that allow you to substitute applesauce for oil in baking (lots of breads and cakes can be adapted to use applesauce instead of oil).
- Low fat/fat free yogurt and cream cheese (cream cheese isn’t that great fat free but you can’t really taste too much of a difference with low fat versions).
- Fat free, sugar free pudding is awesome! I love it as a snack and when made with skim milk, it’s still fat free and tastes so good.
- Switch to whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals to help you feel full quicker and longer.
- Buy snacks already portioned out or portion them out as soon as you get home from the grocery store into individual serving sizes so you don’t over eat your favorite snacks. This also allows you to eat some of your favorite foods but in a more sensible way.
- Clean and prepare (chop, peel, shred, whatever you do) your produce as soon as you get home from the grocery store and  store it in the fridge in such a way that it’s easy for you to grab and eat when you’ve got the munchies. Fruits and veggies have few calories so it’s better to munch on an apple or carrots than potato chips.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER! Drink water before every meal, drink water when you start to feel hungry (in case you’re body is confusing thirst with hunger which happens quite frequently), and sip water throughout the day. Find yourself a nice, 32oz. water bottle and shoot for 2-3 of these a day.
- Don’t store food on your table or counter tops (unless it’s fruit or veggies) and keep snacks where you can’t see them. This cuts down on cravings, grazing, and impulse eating.
- Eat breakfast: 1 cup of cereal and ½ cup of skim milk should be enough and if it isn’t, drink more water and add a piece of fruit, not more cereal.
- Plan lunch and dinner menus (this saves you money at the grocery store too!) and plan to have salads or vegetables with ever meal. Try to have more poultry than beef on your menu (though meatless nights are good too – your body doesn’t need as much meat as we tend to think it does).
- Have a list of approved snacks hanging on your fridge or pantry with snacks that you’ve okayed yourself to eat. Include next to the name of the snack the correct portion size to be eaten and how many calories and fat grams are in that particular snack. This can help you keep track of calories consumed on snacking (hint: it should not be a lot…).
- Don’t eat your kid’s leftovers. Save it for later or toss it (and don’t feel bad).
- Try to eat the least processed versions of fruits and vegetables. Lots of processed versions have added sugar or are fried.
- Keep a food journal.
- Check nutrition labels at the grocery store. Some brands have less fat and calories than another brand of the same food. Case in point: I looked at nutrition labels on my daughter’s fruit snacks because I snack on them too and I found that the ones we were eating had more fat and calories than another particular brand that had about 30 less calories and no fat.

Push Up Challenge!

     My hubby has recently decided that he wants to lose some weight. I think he looks like a stud but he was feeling a little flabby so of course I supported him in his weight loss endeavors. In the last few months he's managed to lose about 15 pounds and he's now adding push ups every day (sometimes several times a day) and has inspired me to do the same. I'm allowing myself to do "girl" push ups (on my knees) since the pregnant belly is too stretched out to hold a technically correct push up position. Anyway, he's working his way up to 100 push ups in a row and he's currently up to 70 (way to go!). I'm sadly only at 25 but hey, I just started and I'm 6 months pregnant so I say I should be cut a little slack on that one. ;) We do our push ups several times a day so that we're doing well over 100 total. It only takes a few minutes at a time which means you can do them virtually any time, any place. I'm really liking the way things are going. My husband is proud of his manly chest (though I thought it was pretty manly before) and my upper body is getting much tighter (something I appreciate since it's one of the few places of my body I still have some control over).

     I decided I wanted to issue the challenge to all of you to work up to 100 push ups in a row! Now, 100 is quite daunting, I admit. My suggestion would be to put to use some of the goal setting tips found here and make 100 push ups your long term goal and create some short term goals along the way (25, 50, 75...) that way you can feel small accomplishments throughout your long term goal.

     Push ups are an amazing exercise and here's why. Push ups work your pectoralis major (your chest) which makes you look, shall we say, perkier, your deltoids (in your shoulders), your triceps, your biceps, your abs, your lower back, various muscles within your upper back, and even your glutes (mostly when you're on your toes instead of your knees). Push ups are definitely a core exercise in addition to an awesome chest exercise which is why you'll be amazed at the toning that takes place within your body in general, not just in your pecs.

     Feel free to post comments updating us on your progress! Remember, it only takes a few minutes at a time to do a set of push ups and regularly dropping down for this exercise will give you amazing toning results in most of your upper body so what have you got to lose besides some inches? No excuses! Now drop and give me 10!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting Aquainted with Swimming Terminology and Etiquette

     I just posted some swimming workouts here and thought I'd make sure to do a little post on swimming etiquette and give a refresher on some terminology you may not be familiar with or have forgotten. This list will be added to as I see fit or as you all have questions for me. :)

     First I'll touch on etiquette. It's simple and basic and if you practice good etiquette you won't have any disgruntled swimmers following you in your lane (heck, some of those people probably need to hear this too!). One major rule is to let faster swimmers in your lane go first. I understand that this sounds insultingly obvious but you'd be surprised how often you get stuck behind slow people that won't let you pass. If you happen to be that slow person, please let faster swimmers pass! You can let them pass by finishing your lap and then stopping at the wall to let them go ahead of you. I know it may interrupt something you're working on but that's a sacrifice we have to make in sharing lanes with other people. It only takes a few seconds to let them pass so be courteous and let them go ahead. Don't ever stop in the middle of the lane to let someone pass. This is more likely to cause a crash and make them upset than it is to make them happy.

     The next rule is to circle swim. It really is as easy as it sounds. Swim in a long, stretched out circle (I guess that would be an oval haha). To circle swim, always stick to the right side of the lane, just like driving. Keep your right shoulder to the lane and viola, you're circle swimming. Circle swimming prevents head-on collisions, and keeps everyone happy because no one is guessing which side everyone else is going to swim on. In the even that you are in the lane with only one other person you can ask if they prefer to circle swim or to split the lane. Splitting the lane means you divide the lane in half lengthwise and stick to your half. Lane splitting is nice because you don't have to ever worry about passing your lane-mate because they are happily swimming on their side, and you yours. As soon as a third person joins your lane you need to switch back to circle swimming. There, etiquette is covered. Simple, right?

     The following are some terms/signs I will use when I post a workout. Use this as a guide to understanding my workouts so you're not frustrated trying to figure it out yourself. :)

- streamline position: You can figure this one out right now by standing up, extending your arms to the ceiling and placing one hand on top of the other. Lock your hands together by hooking your top thumb around your bottom hand. Squeeze your head just behind your ears with your arms and maintain a straight body alignment. your elbows should not be bent at all. This is streamline position.

- 1x00, 2x50, or any other signs like these: In a regulation lap pool one lap or length is 25 yards (some are meters but it won't matter which your pool is when trying to read my workouts). Let's look at 4x25, for example. The first number (4) indicates how many times you will swim the distance shown in the second number (25). A 25 is short for 25 yards and is 1 lap. (Some people say that a lap is down to one side and back and that a length is just down to one side. I choose to use the word lap to mean down to one side. From here on out, 1 lap means 25 yards.) 4x25 does NOT mean that you swim 25 yards 4 times in a row. If that were the case it would be written 1x100. 4x25 means that you swim 25 yards and then stop until you have done it 4 times.

- a 25 means 25 yards or 1 lap

- a 50 means 50 yards or 2 laps

- a 75 is 3 laps

- a 100 is 4 laps... and so on

- A "sprint" means as fast as you possibly can while maintaining good technique.

2 Swimming Workouts in Honor of Summer!

     With summer just about upon us (here in Vegas it seems like it's been here for a few months now haha) I thought it might be fun to throw in some great workouts to do in the pool. I decided to keep things basic since I realize that not everyone has competed and knows all of the strokes well enough to utilize them in a workout. However, if you are one who knows all of the strokes, feel free to substitute freestyle out for whatever you want to mix things up a bit. For those of you who are new to swimming and don't understand some of the terminology that I use or don't understand how to read my workouts, please click here for further explanation!
    
     The beautiful thing about swimming is that it is low impact and it works your entire body, head to toe. Whether you're swimming continuously or using equipment and modifications to focus on certain muscle groups, your whole body is getting a great toning workout while you're getting some intense cardio. If there's one thing I love, it's getting both the toning and the fat burning all together! Another beautiful thing about swimming is that it is the perfect exercise for pregnant women! (Which is a big deal to me right now as my belly gets more and more in the way.) Being in the water can ease a lot of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy (and for those with back and joint pain) and I find it incredibly helpful with lower back pain. My lower back is constantly painful but that pain is relieved while I swim and even helps to relive that pain for a long time after I get out.

     I've got two great workouts for you today. I'm going to keep them around 1,000 yards (including warm up and cool down) with some interval training that will give you a nice cardio boost. If you feel that you cannot complete the workout then go ahead and do what you can but don't forget to do your cool down. If you feel that you can do more, go ahead and add more of the same intervals. The second workout in this post focuses a little more on strength and will require you to get up and out of the pool regularly and for this reason I ask our pregnant readers to do this workout with caution. Use your best judgement and please don't hurt yourself. If you have stairs or a ladder close to your lane please use them to assist you in getting out of the pool. If at any time you feel weak, dizzy, or your heart rate is too high, please sit at the side of the pool and rest until you feel you can get back in (and please don't dive back in - diving is a bad idea for pregnant women :)).

Workout #1
Warm Up:
- 1x100 freestyle easy
- 2x50 kicking only (either use a kick board or hold your arms in streamline position)
Main Set:
- 1x200 freestyle, even laps moderate, odd laps faster (not a sprint)
- 4x50 first lap sprint, second lap easy - rest 1 minute in between
- 1x200 freestyle moderate
Cool Down:
- 1x100 freestyle easy (rest 1 minute)
- 2x50 freestyle easy with moderate rest in between
- stretch

Workout #2 (If possible, choose a lane at the end of the pool.)
Warm Up:
- 2x50 kicking only
- 2x100 freestyle easy to moderate
Main Set:
- 4x25 sprint freestyle
- Torture Tens
   - swim one lap across, hop out and do 10 pushups, repeat for a total of 10 laps
- Lunges
   - swim one lap across, hop out and lunge along the side of the pool 25 yards back down to where you started (you'll be making a loop, always swimming down to one side and lunging back to the other), repeat for a total of 6 laps
Cool Down:
- 1x200 freestyle easy
- stretch


* Something I find helpful in my workouts is to write/print out the workout and stick it in a plastic sandwich baggie so that you can have your workout at the side of the pool and it won't matter if it gets wet. Just remember to take it with you when you leave so you don't litter!
    

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Exercise Alone is Not Enough

     The inspiration from this post comes from the incredible number of times in the past month or so that I've heard people say "All I want to do is exercise and then eat whatever I want." Well, to all those of you who have ever said this (I include my past self in this category) this one is for you! (To those of you who think I may have heard this from you in the last month or so, thanks for inspiring the post and I hope you enjoy this. :))

     The unfortunate truth is that as we age so does our metabolism and sometimes our metabolism does not age well. Those of us who have had children are quickly finding that out and it is a rude awakening. And so unfair. :) In high school and maybe even in college we could eat whatever we wanted, exercise a little, and stay nice and trim. Not so much anymore, am I right? I found this out the hard way (the very hard way) after a high school athletic career and a college major that allowed me to play sports most, if not all days of the week for several hours at a time. I could eat whatever I wanted and it made no difference! I loved it! And then I had a miracle come into my life weighing in at a mere 7lbs 4oz. I, on the other hand, was weighing in at well over 200lbs (prior to my pregnancy I was about 158). No big deal, I though. I'm still in school which means sports every day, this will come off in no time. A year and a half later I weighed 215lbs and I was miserable. I'd never been so overweight in my life and I could not handle it. I was so depressed. I was convinced that it had nothing to do with my diet because this is the way I always ate and I never was fat before! I didn't eat unhealthy foods, I just ate a lot of food.

     I tried everything. I kicked my exercise routine into high gear, doing intense cardio workouts for about an hour every morning while my daughter was still asleep. Nothing. I threw in a weight training routine. Nothing. I switched to fat free or reduced fat foods (while still eating the same amount). Nothing. What in the world was I suppose to do? Well, I opted for a complete lifestyle change and and tried *gasp* portion control. Yes. I finally came to see that it was my diet. And you know what, eating less caused me to drop over 30lbs in about four months. Most weeks I lost about 2lbs a week, some weeks were 5 o 6 lbs. Honestly it felt like instant weight loss. I ate the same things I'd always eaten (remember, I didn't eat tons of junk food, just a lot of food in general) but I reduced the amount of food I ate and viola! Say goodbye to 30lbs!

     It took me a year and a half to recognize that my workouts were not enough by themselves. Did I stay strong? Yes. Was I in great shape despite my extra fat? Yes. Could I leap tall buildings in a single bound? I sure felt like it. But nothing I was doing was enough to get rid of that extra fat my body had stored until I changed what I was putting into my body.

     That being said, you can refer to all of my previous posts on nutrition and weight loss to help you figure out how to do this. As I mentioned above, I had to make the decision to make a lifestyle change. Diets don't work and the reason they don't work is because you treat it like a temporary fix to help you lose a few pounds and then you go right back into your old habits. You have to make a lifestyle change. If you're not ready to make that change now, maybe 20lbs from now you'll believe me and you'll be ready.

     Dieting usually involves depriving yourself of foods you like (because let's face it, most of our favorite foods are high fat and high calorie) and forcing you to eat foods you don't like (brussel sprouts for dinner? Yuck!). When you make a lifestyle change your finding the right balance of foods to eat that help you stay healthy and help you lose or maintain your weight. Do I still have ice cream? Sure do, but not always and I measure it out now. Do I make cookies still? You bet, but I portion them out. I still enjoy my favorite foods and I even have pizza for dinner a few times a month but I always, always use portion control and I cut out fat wherever possible. It's a lot easier than you think once you get the hang of it. It's become such second nature to me that I don't even think about what I'm going to eat or how I can squeeze in more fruits and veggies because it's just what I do. It's a part of my routine and it's easy now.

     My inbox is always open to you, so email me at sarabsorensen@gmail.com if you have questions about how to fit in healthier foods to your routine and help you make the lifestyle change that you need to get yourself into a healthy weight zone, stay there, and be happy about the way you eat.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quicky Workouts to Help Maintain Current Strength

      Oh. My. Gosh. Has it really been over a month since my last post? My sincere apologies! April was a whirlwind of quick family trips, stomach flues, colds, and the best news yet: our 18 week ultrasound that showed our little jellybean proudly displaying that yes he is a boy! Now with only 19 weeks left to go I'm feeling those wonderful baby kicks and loving every minute of it. I could do without the constant stretching feeling, the headaches, dizziness, and the occasional nausea but oh how I love those baby kicks! Just a few short weeks after finding out we were expecting a baby boy my baby girl turned 2! With my husband at the peak of finals this last week her celebrations were spread out a little and I feel like we're just starting to recover from the go-go-go of April and May.

     With all of the insanity and time constraints I've had to endure the past month and a half I thought I'd share my workout routine that I've managed to squeeze in. I tried to come up with something that would allow me to get a lot out of a half hour since that's basically all I had to devote to my workouts in the mornings before my little girl would wake up. These workouts are not intended to provide you with amazing fat burning and muscle toning results. I know that sounds weird, like it's not doing anything for you, but these workouts are intended to help you maintain regular exercise and to help prevent any loss in strength due to even temporary quitting of your normal routine (so yes, it's definitely doing something for you). So, before you jump into these workouts remember, this is for that tough spot in life where you can't fit much in and all you can do is maintain. Got it?

     The first 20 minutes of my routine are devoted to a warm up and a cardio activity. I can't leave the house since my husband is not home and my daughter is still sleeping so I pop in aerobics videos that I can do in about 20 minutes. It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, most days of the week. Keep in mind that it's 30 minutes of exercise, not 30 minutes of cardio, so just because you did 20 minutes of cardio and 10 minutes of another activity doesn't mean you cheated yourself by not doing cardio the full 30 minutes. It's all exercise and it's all good.

     After my 20 minute warm up/cardio routine I have a really quick circuit I complete that uses just a few exercises for every major muscle group. This helps me to maintain the current strength I have in all parts of my body and prevents me from neglecting any one group. It is best to work through each exercise with no rest in between - this keeps your heart rate up and also moves you through the workout quicker. Remember, these workouts are to help you maintain your current strength and fitness level so it doesn't take much to stimulate that muscle to maintain. I have an upper body routine and a lower body routine and I alternated days. The first week I'll do upper body on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then I'll do my lower body routine on Tuesday and Thursday. The second week will be opposite; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will be lower body, and Tuesday, Thursday will be upper body.

Here's the upper body routine:
   -Shoulder Press (12 reps)
   -Bicep Curl (10 reps immediately followed by 10 pulses halfway through the movement)
   -Reverse Bicep Curl (10 reps immediately followed by 10 pulses halfway through the movement)
   -External Rotation (12 reps) Hold weights, palms up, with arms at a 90 degree angle in front (you'll look like you're halfway through a bicep curl). Maintaining that angle, externally rotate the shoulder (hold elbows tight to your body and rotate the weights out to the sides and then back in.)
   -Bent Over Row (12 reps)
   -Push Ups (12+ reps)
   -Hold Plank Position for 30 sec to a minute 

And the lower body routine:
   -Lateral Band Walk (12 steps each direction) Tie an exercise band tight around your knees. Side step to your left for 12 steps and then to your right 12 steps.
   -Weighted Lunges (10 reps per leg)
   -Weighted Squats (15 reps)
   -Weighted Calf Raises (20 reps)
   -Straight-Leg Deadlift (12 reps)
   -Banded Left Lifts (12 reps each side) Tie an exercise band tightly around your knees before performing leg lifts. Do without the band if it is too difficult.

     I know this wasn't much of a post after being gone for a little over a month but my husband has this week off which means I've got some time to catch up on everything I've been slacking on for the last little while so expect some more exciting posts this week!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Packing Healthy Lunches

     I think a lot of us have fallen out of the habit of packing lunches when we spend the day away from home and opt for vending machine lunches, fast food, or packing our bag with processed foods that don't really make up an actual lunch and leave you hungry in a few short hours. Especially while trying to lose weight, this can ruin all our hard work! We exercise, we try to have a healthy breakfast, we cut back at the dinner table, but all is lost if we're consuming fatty foods and extra calories at lunchtime. Here are some ideas to help you pack better lunches for yourself and for your kids as they head off to school.

     It doesn't do you any good to learn how to pack a healthy lunch if you're not going to actually do it. The morning of is not the time to be packing a lunch. If we leave it until the morning, we won't do it. We're too busy getting ready for the day or getting multiple children ready for the day and lunches take a back seat. The first thing you have to do is commit and make the habit to make lunches at night. Even children are fully capable of helping to make their lunches the night before and you can make it a little activity you all do together before going to bed. If you've got a nighttime routine, add it in!

     Keeping your lunches cool until lunchtime has always been a challenge. Sending kids off to school with a lunch containing an ice pack is not always a great idea because if your children are anything like I was, that ice pack will get lost or thrown away (whether because I didn't want to carry it around all through my lunch recess or because I forgot to take it out of the sack before throwing it away). Fortunately there are ways to get around having to pack an ice pack. One thing I especially love to do is pack frozen fruit (usually strawberries) that help me keep the rest of my lunch cool but will also thaw out enough to eat by lunchtime. Another great option for edible ice packs are Gogurts. If you've got yogurt eating kids, stick some Gogurt in the freezer the night before and toss it in their lunch in the morning. Again, it will keep lunches cool and they have a nice, creamy yogurt slush for a treat. By keeping lunches cool you have a whole new variety of foods your kids (or you) can take for lunch besides PBJs (though there's nothing wrong with a good ole PBJ now and then).

     If you prefer the ice pack way for yourself there are some great containers out there to help you in your quest to pack a healthy lunch. I own several of these containers and can attest to their greatness! Fit N Fresh has a huge variety of products to help you keep your lunch cool (and some to keep them hot!) and they even have a kids line of products. Be sure to click on the Fit N Fresh link to see what's available. A lot of their products are available for retail at stores like Target and Walmart. I even saw a few lunch containers at Big Lots and various grocery stores. These containers are awesome and come with special ice packs that snap into the lid of the container and can be removed to re-freeze when you're done. The have special salad containers that hold your salad in the main compartment and then a little space in the lid for your salad dressing which you can dispense onto your salad and shake to coat your salad before eating. No joke, these lunch containers are wonderful!

     Now that we've worked out how to keep lunches cool, let's pack them with all kinds of yummy healthy foods! I've got a list of my favorite lunch foods here and keep in mind that while some of these foods do contain fats, they contain healthy fats that your body needs to function properly. Fats found in peanut butter for example are mostly unsaturated (though some are saturated) and you've got a green light to eat it!

ham and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread and loaded with lettuce and tomato
peanut butter and honey sandwich on whole grain bread
tuna fish sandwich prepared with light or fat free mayo on whole grain bread
whole grain pasta salad with light dressing
green salad loaded with veggies (and maybe even chicken) with light dressing
chicken wrap on whole grain tortilla
frozen berries
celery and peanut butter
apple slices
carrots and light ranch dressing
low fat yogurt
frozen (or thawed) grapes
make your own veggie tray with baby carrots, raw broccoli, grape tomatoes, celery, and snap peas
make your own fruit tray with your favorite fruits washed, chopped, and ready to eat
reduced fat string cheese

     The possibilities for a healthy lunch are endless! Take your favorite healthy foods, plan ahead, make your lunch the night before, and enjoy a lunch packed with the nutrients you need to have a healthy and energy filled day. Be sure to leave a comment with your favorite healthy snacks to pack on the go and help others with your great ideas!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Summer Ready Arms

     I admit, there's some leftover jiggle in my arms from winter and with spring here and summer approaching I thought it would be appropriate to post a nice arm toning workout to help us feel more confidant with bare arms. And preparing to have awesome shoulders in our new halter tankini wouldn't be bad either, right?
     
     The secret to nice toned arms doesn't necessarily include lugging big heavy weights during your workout. In fact, these wonderful arm and shoulder workouts can be done at home with a small weight set or with some household items like soup cans, milk jugs (filled with water), and whatever else you can find that's easy to hold onto and provides a good weight for you. The great thing about toning workouts is that they require high reps with low weight which means yeah, you'll be doing a lot of the same exercise but you'll be able to since you're using weights anywhere from 2-8lbs. (And no one can tease you for using a 5lb dumbbell for bicep curls.)

     I designed this workout in the format of a circuit for a couple of reasons. First, I like circuits because overall they take less time which means you're more likely to stick with it. Second, a circuit is really going to tire your arms which is good because you'll start toning up faster. If you're just beginning to workout your arms again, I would start with a lower weight first. If you find that you're not tiring by the end of the circuit then move up to a heavier weight. You shouldn't need more than about 8 or 10lbs.

     I found a kind of cheesy website that has little videos of out to do the motions if you're not familiar with an exercise in the circuit. Click on the link to take you to the video. The Bicep Curl (outward) is the same movement as a normal bicep curl, only your arms are angled outward. If an exercise asks you to pulse, do the reps first, and then hold your last rep in the middle of the lift and pulse up and down 10 times. Start with doing the circuit once through and as you get stronger you can work your way up to three times through (with 60 seconds of rest in between each circuit of course!). Those of you who are in decent shape can start off with more sets. Combine this with the Rear End Circuits to work your way to a beach-ready body!

The Toned Arm Circuit:

Exercise
Repetitions
Rest
15
0 sec
15 (with 10 pulses)
0 sec
15
0 sec
12
0 sec
Bicep Curl (outward)
15 (with 10 pulses)
0 sec
15
0 sec
12
60 sec

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Staying Fit During Pregnancy

     I've been trying to do a lot of research on staying fit while pregnant (for obvious reasons) and so I decided I'd do some posts on just that, staying fit while pregnant. Before I jump right in I'd like to make note that you need to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program because every woman's situation is different and there may be some things that are safe for some and not for others. I would also like to point out that because your body changes so much during pregnancy it is important to keep in mind that because of certain hormones present in high levels in your body, ligaments become much more relaxed and are subject to injury much easier than they were before, and your balance is compromised, especially later on during your pregnancy. Also, pregnant women should not lay flat on their backs past 20 weeks and should never assume and inverted position during exercise (where your head is below your heart) so you may have to modify some exercises that you normally have done in the past. Please listen to your body, check with your doctor, and stop exercising right away if you experience abnormal pregnancy symptoms.

     For a very long time it was thought that pregnant women should not be active at all or they were putting themselves and their babies at risk. Fortunately it was discovered that this was not true at all and was in fact, the opposite. Women are now being encouraged more and more to be active during pregnancy. This answers the question then, is exercise safe during pregnancy? And the answer is a loud and clear, YES!

     The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (hereafter known as ACOG) has stated that if you were active before there are few modifications you need to make during your exercise now. They've also come out with a statement saying that if you were not active before becoming pregnant, now is a great time to start. This is wonderful news because it means that if you're not active now, or not as active as you'd like to be, pregnancy in no way means you're doomed to nine months of further inactivity and health issues associated with inactivity. Now is a perfect time to make the lifestyle change and live a healthier, and more active lifestyle for you and your baby. For ACOG's educational pamphlet on exercise during pregnancy, click here.

     Along with staying strong and healthy during pregnancy, keeping fit can help ease the pains of labor and delivery. Don't get me wrong, it's still going to hurt, but your body will be more prepared to take on this natural challenge that our bodies were made to take on and your recovery will be so much easier. I'm a huge fan of natural childbirth and was able to birth my first child naturally (I'm aiming for that again this time) and I give all the credit to exercise. Through exercise I was able to prepare my body for what it was made to do. If natural childbirth is not your cup of tea, exercise will still help you to have a shorter labor, an easier delivery, and a smoother recovery (and there is no epidural for recovery so you're on your own on that one, better to be prepared with a fit body that is ready to handle it).

     I'm really excited to share my experiences with you on staying fit during pregnancy (and I'm working on guest posters to add their experiences to mine as well) and please stay tuned for some great workouts that are safe for pregnancy and will help you to prepare your body for the day when you're little cutie pie makes it's grand entrance into the world!