So, I've just committed to my first marathon. Training starts this week. That means running four times per week in this winter weather. Luckily, the dreadmill is there if necessary, but I plan to do three out of the four days outside. That being said, I know there will be days when I will need some serious motivation. One of my favorite bits is this You Tube video of Joan Benoit Samuelson winning the marathon in the 1984 Olympics.
I've watched it countless time, and never tire of it. It always makes my heart pound and my stomach flip. If you're in need of a shot of inspiration, no matter your sport or passion, this clip should help.
Here it is. Your very own workout for the month of January. This circuit targets all major muscle groups, and is performed in timed increments. This is suitable for all levels of fitness, but if you’re a beginner, please check with your doctor before tackling this.
Equipment needed: dumbbells; jump rope; ball/bench is optional
Warm-up: 5-10 minutes on a piece of exercise equipment (bike, treadmill, etc., if that’s available to you), jump rope, run up and down stairs or jog in place. Perform some light stretching (20 second holds) for hamstrings (back of thighs), quads (front of thighs), adductors (inner thighs) chest, lats (back), and any area that feels tight or stiff. A longer warm-up may be necessary if you’re starting off with cold muscles, like first thing on a chilly, winter morning!
Perform all strength exercises for ONE MINUTE, and all BLAST! exercises for 30 SECONDS. Move through the entire circuit without resting. Rest for 1-3 minutes after each circuit. Perform 2-4 sets, 2-3 times per week.
STRENGTH Walking Lunge with Bicep Curl: (quadriceps, glutes, biceps) Stand with feet hip distance apart; lunge forward with right leg until your right thigh is parallel to the floor; perform bicep curl; pressing into the right heel, lift left foot and bring forward until left thigh is parallel to the floor; perform bicep curl; repeat.
BLAST! Jump rope, sprint on treadmill, jog in place, run up and down stairs, jumping jacks, etc. Anything to get your heart rate elevated. Perform the same BLAST! move throughout the circuit, or switch it up. Whatever you choose, just go for it as hard as you can for 30 seconds. If you’re a beginner, feel free to omit the BLAST! moves for now, and focus on the STRENGTH portion of the workout.
STRENGTH Chest Press (on ball, bench or floor): (pecs) If you’re using a ball, be sure your head, neck and shoulder blades are in contact with the ball. Feet hip distance apart, glutes contracted, press weights up over your chest and lower, not allowing elbows to drop below the line of the body.
STRENGTH Sumo Squat with Tricep Press: (inner thighs, quads, glutes, triceps) Stand with feet wider than shoulder width and point toes outward. Hold dumbbell (s) overhead and while you squat down, bringing thighs parallel to the floor, drop the weight behind your head, keeping elbows pointing up, upper arms in close to your head. Pushing through the heels, keeping kees lined up over toes, press up to standing, while you bring the weight back up overhead.
STRENGTH Row with Rotation: (back, obliques) Lunge forward with left leg, until left thigh is parallel to the floor, knee over ankle. Place left forearm on thigh, holding weight in right hand, keep back flat, abs contracted, while you pull weight upward, keeping your elbow close to your body and add a rotation, focusing on obliques (side abdominal muscles). Draw weight back to start position and repeat. Switch to other side after one minute.
One Leg Shoulder Press: (deltoids) Stand on one leg, hold dumbbells with elbows bent to the side, press up overhead and lower. Be sure to have abs engaged, and squeeze the glute on the standing leg. Alternate standing leg every set.
Cool down: Stretch hamstrings, quads, inner thighs, chest, back and triceps. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
*Form Patrol. I am the leader of the Proper Form Police. For those of you who have worked with me personally, you know what I’m talking about. I tried to be succinct, yet clear in these instructions, but if you have ANY questions on form, PLEASE contact me before doing this program. Here are a few key points to remember:
1. Keep back straight, abs engaged.
2. Don’t round shoulders forward. Roll those shoulders up and then draw them down your back.
3. Think crisp, tight movements, squeezing the muscle at the top of the movement.
4. Avoid performing this program on back-to-back days – give your body at least one day of rest between sessions, allowing the muscles to recover.
5. Intensity! What you get out of it is what you put into it!
So, it’s January 2nd. How are those resolutions coming along? I’ve talked with many people about their goals for the new year and it comes as no surprise that losing weight and inches is the most common theme. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is killer for maintaining a healthy eating plan and regular exercise. Losing that weight and changing the shape of your body BEGINS with a healthy eating plan. (don’t worry, we’ll get to exercise later!)
Some of you may be juice cleansing, or embarking on a specific, specialized diet program to get on track. I am not opposed to these methods at all. I could literally write a book on all the different plans and programs I’ve tried. I know first-hand how making a dramatic change for a week or so can bring forth results. Seeing a change (especially a quick one) can be very exciting and most likely, is something you can hold on to for a while. That is, until you “fall off the wagon” and start allowing whatever forbidden food back into your mouth, and then the snowball effect sets in and you’re back to where you started.
Again, I support you New Years (safe) cleansers and (healthy) dieters. Keep it up and feel free to share your success here! However, I would encourage you to also try to make a food change that becomes a lifestyle change. Here are twelve suggestions in no particular order.
1. Switch regular, white pasta for 100% whole wheat. (same thing for rice and bread)
2. Just say “no” to soda! Yes, even diet!
3. WATER! Carry it with you wherever you go. Drink it throughout the day.
4. Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast every morning.
5. Um . . . maybe I should have started with “eat breakfast every morning”!
6. Try a new, healthy recipe once a week.
7. Limit pre-packaged foods.
8. Switch bottled dressing for vinegar. Rice, balsamic and red wine all taste great and have little to no calories!
9. Eat in color. Mixed greens, sugar snap peas, red peppers, sweet potato, summer squash, etc. Make your plate pretty!
10. Bake breads, muffins and scones with whole wheat pastry flour.
11. Eat a meal containing beans or legumes instead of animal protein.
12. Go ahead and eat dessert . . . once a week.
So, here’s a challenge for you (I know you LOVE challenges!): take one of the above-mentioned suggestions and stick to it for the month of January. Let me know which one you select and how you fare. Comment on this post so everyone can see, or feel free to e-mail me privately. Good luck and be well!
It’s that time of year. New beginnings; a fresh page; a clean slate. So many of you have health and fitness goals and resolutions for the new year. Let’s reach those goals together! I will be posting a fresh, new workout at the beginning of each month, along with health tips, healthy recipes and support. My goal is to help you make health and fitness a lifestyle, not something you jump into each January and forget about a few weeks later.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Write down specific goals. Both short and long-term. Small and lofty.
2. If you want to lose weight/inches, take a photo of yourself, weigh yourself and take measurements. Keep this information in a drawer or in a private file on your computer, and forget about it for now.
3. Subscribe to my blog feed, so you are instantly updated on all new postings to help keep you motivated!
So, that’s it for now. That’s not so bad, right? Stay tuned for a lot more to come and please e-mail me privately with any specific questions you may have.
Happy New Year!
Have you ever needed to find a way to motivate yourself? Do you like the idea of going to the gym, but continuously find excuses to stay home? What about that treadmill or stationary bike that’s serving as a clothing rack?
I’ve had this little 8x8 yoga room in my basement for over three years and I’ve probably actually done yoga in this room maybe 20 times. I’m not quite sure why I’ve had such a hard time motivating myself to spend time on my mat in that space, but it’s a definite block.
I really want to overcome this. When I tell people I have a yoga room in my basement, it evokes images (in my ownhead, mind you) of blissfully long stretches of uninterrupted yoga, breath work and relaxation. I am determined to make this space work for me and realize it’s not going to happen without taking action.
Letting you, dear blog readers, know of my plan instantly holds me accountable. The next time you see me in class or jumping over pumpkins (hahaha . . . blog joke), you may ask how my time in the ol’ yoga room is coming along. Knowing these questions could arise at any time, fuels me to actually spend time in there.
Now, how much time? How often? To start, I will be committing to 30 minute sessions, twice a week. There was a time I thought I needed a full 90 minutes to “do yoga”. That is certainly not the case, and I know I can get much accomplished in 30 minutes. Besides, my current goal is to actually use and learn to enjoy my actual space.
I will keep you all informed of my process! Here are some tips for you when it comes to finding motivation to exercise:
1. Set a goal;
2. Tell your plan to friends, co-workers, family members . . . everyone!
3. Put your workout on your calendar, and honor that date and time.
4. Start slow. Taking on too much too soon can backfire. Start with smaller increments of time or fewer set days of exercise for a week or two. Once you conquer those hurdles, you’ll be ready for more time, an extra day, or a new class.
5. Be proud of yourself! Taking your fitness in your own hands is a great accomplishment and you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of health.
What motivates you? Comment on this post or e-mail me privately and share! I can’t wait to hear from you!
There are times when my body feels a little overloaded. Too much stress, not enough sleep, eating the wrong foods. I’m sure we’ve all been there. A few times a year, I like to get back on track, or reset my body with a juice cleanse. Cleansing can detoxify the body, boost your immune system and help you sleep better. When you cleanse, you are giving your digestive system a break from working, which can give you increased energy.
If you search online, you’ll see so many different types of cleanses or fasts. Many are targeted toward weight loss. I am not a fan of cleansing for that purpose alone, as any weight you lose is not true fat loss, and would most likely be put back on as soon as you start eating normally. I do like the idea of cleansing or fasting to “reset” your system and get back on track to eating well and being good to your body. If you are interested in a cleanse, check out Live Lighter; there are many different recipes that can meet various needs. Please consider your general state of health in this process, and check with your doctor before embarking on a fast.
My favorite juice recipe is for a green juice, which I have named “Green Juice”. Clever, huh? I will drink this juice between meals over the course of a few days for an added energy boost, or drink it 2-4 times a day if I’m doing a full cleanse. Give this a try and let me know what you think. A serving is between 10-16 oz. , and the juice can keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.
3 green apples
2 celery stalks
1 cup romaine lettuce
1 cup spinach
3 slices fresh ginger
Juice apples, cucumber and celery. Pour juice in blender, along with lettuce, spinach, parsley and ginger and liquefy.
Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions!