Friday, May 31, 2013

Week 2- Fight the Cravings

"Are you hungry or are you bored?" I ask my kids this all the time. All too often as a parent when my kids are bored, fighting, need a time filler we use snacks. We also go to food out of habit. What's a movie with out popcorn or a holiday with out baked goods? There are ways to help fight cravings and snack better.
Start out by allowing yourself to have snacks. Schedule your self a snack after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't skip them. Otherwise like Christy mentioned here you will binge or run to junk. Eat lean protein, healthy fats, or produce. Easy lean proteins are things like turkey, Greek yogurt, hard boiled egg whites, soy or black beans. Some great healthy fats can be avocado, nuts or almond/peanut butter. If you are going to have a higher sugared or carb snack eat it sooner rather than later. That way you give your body more time to burn it off.

A new study shows raisins as a great snack. Compared to other snacks raisins help you feel more full so that you intake less calories. Raisins are cholesterol and fat free, and have very little natural sodium. Plus they are a great anti-oxidant. Raisins are easy to take anywhere.
Celery and apples with peanut butter are one my kids favorites. I eat mine with almond butter. My son loves to make "peanut butter ants." Which are raisins with peanut butter. It's a little messy but healthier than a fruit snack. Click on the picture below for 100 more snack idea's

What do I do if I still crave things between snacks and meals? Hopefully if you are eating 3 proper meals, and 3 filling snacks you shouldn't crave too much. If you do here are some things I use to help me with cravings.
First of all I use any kind of positive motivation or sayings. I put them on my fridge. I use to have this picture on my fridge, right now it's a Hawaii picture.

If I you are craving sugars try eating a huge spoonful of actual sugar. Chances are you won't be able to do it. Even if you do I wonder if it would be healthier than whatever the alternative was?

When I have a chocolate craving I get out 10 chocolate chips, usually dark chocolate. I eat only 1 every minute. That way for 10 minutes I get a nice chocolaty snack. Usually those 10 minutes and a tall glass of water help hold me over till the next meal.
Try drinking some water or chewing some gum. Try something to keep you busy and occupied. I am sure there is some laundry, or a good book somewhere to help get your mind off food.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Week 2- Is Eating Healthier More Expensive?

We previously got some great advice from Christy on eating healthier. Now it's time to go shopping, and replace our kitchen with better food. Wait isn't eating healthier more expensive? I hear this all the time. Yes pre packaged foods are cheaper, but they are just that CHEAP! If you are what you eat, then why do we eat such crap? Sometimes it's convenience and other times it's cost. I want to show you that eating better isn't always more costly.

1- Buy Things In Season
Yesterday I encouraged everyone to buy more fruits and veggies. They are cheapest when purchased in season. Be aware of what is in season and where is it grown. A few months ago a 10lb bag of potato's were $.99. At that price my kids were eating potato everything. Baked potatoes, funeral potatoes, hash browns, potato soup and tons more. Here are some charts of when things are in season.


2- Price Match

There are lots of websites to help you price match. They do a lot of the leg work for you finding out where the best deals are. Then you go to a place that price matches like Wal-Mart and price match. Now I know sometimes these "cheaper" places don't have as good of quality produce, but the nutrients in the food don't change. Just make sure to plan on eating them quicker. I recommend using a website like
 3- Budgeting
When replacing unhealthy foods for healthier options, we are also replacing where money is being spent. For example instead of white rice buy brown rice. Instead of paying for chips, soda and candy buy dehydrated fruits, nuts and juice. Yes some healthier options do cost more money sometimes, the idea is to spend the money elsewhere not in addition to.

4. Cook More

Go out to eat less and cook more. Fast food and going out to eat adds up fast. Especially if you are trying to choose wisely from a menu. I'm amazed at how sometimes a salad for 1 person can be $7 or more. For that cost I could make a salad for my whole family. I know, I know, Café Rio and Olive Garden have a really yummy dressing though! Did you know that for the same price you can ask to buy just the dressing? Its true, next time ask your favorite restaurant how much for their salad dressing to go is, just be careful on portion control.

Do more cooking at home. Spend time cooking together as a family, not only is it more fun, but it encourages healthier eating in our kids. I am amazed when I find out how little some people eat as a family, and how much fast food they buy.  My husband and I joke often about when we first got married all I could cook was Mexican food. It was what I grew up on and loved, even when we went out to eat I chose Mexican food. So each year of our marriage I chose a new food to focus on and learn. The first year was chicken. Ways to buy it, prepare it, cook it and so on. Then I did ground beef, steaks, fish and this year is pork. One year I did cakes, that was a yummy and fattening year ;) Just like exercising, try new things. With the Internet (and pinterest) who needs a library of cook books? You can look up almost any recipe, or what to cook based on what ingredients you have on hand.
In the end eating healthier isn't always more money. Besides if you don't take care of your body now, you'll spend more in health bills in the future. Plus foods that actually fill you like lean protein may cost more, but you won't find yourself snacking as much because you are actually full. Tomorrow we will talk about healthy snacks and curbing cravings.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Week 2- Fruits and Vegetables

I am surprised on how often I hear fruits and vegetables aren't eaten in other's homes. I have had my kids friends ask me "What is that?" as they point to a kiwi, mango or other staple in my home. My kids have very few qualms with fruits and vegetables, but meat is an entirely different story. My kids fought over the last asparagus at Easter dinner. They beg me for mango's, peaches and pea's.

If fruits and vegetables aren't eaten often in your home then make a goal to eat more. Much like when I tried out fitness classes, try new things. If you want your kids to be better eaters, it starts with you. Try picking out something new each week to try. As a family research it. Where is it grown? How is it typically prepared? Look up recipes and stories and as a family and try it more than one way.

When my grandpa lived near us he would always make the most exquisite and unique fruit and veggie trays. Always with something even out there for my family like a pummelo or star fruit. He was the one that showed me papaya is best with some lime juice on it. Plus my kids always looked forward to his wide array of berries. I always had to make sure to send them in clothes that could get berry stained.

Make sure to have fruits and vegetables at every meal. Eat those first before you fill up from your main protein. Show your kids how excited you are to eat them and enjoy them. Feel free to season your vegetable with yummy spices. Now that summer is here bbq them! There are tons of recipes on grilling vegetables and even some fruits, like peaches.

One of our favorite things to do as a family is go to a Farmers Market. My kids love going to Farmers Markets. Not only is it great for supporting local business's but a great way to see what is in season. Last year my son wanted to save his money just for the Farmers Market. He not only paid for 3 peaches, but took his precious time picking each one out. One for himself and one for each sister, what a nice brother. To this day he says it was the yummiest peach ever.

Here is my tip to how I first got Kadan to eat asparagus. Besides pretending to eat Veggie Tales guys, I used this recipe.

Sugar Grilled Asparagus:

1 bundle asparagus, about 20 spears
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 orange, zested

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Cut the tough ends off asparagus, roll in oil and coat with sugar and salt. Place asparagus on the grill and cook for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Turn asparagus to ensure even cooking. You know the asparagus are done when sugar is caramelized and asparagus are starting to look burnt. Sprinkle orange zest over asparagus before serving.

I know, I know, not the healthiest thing to eat. Over time I used less and less sugar till he didn't even realize there wasn't any sugar on them at all. You could do this with brown sugar carrots as well. Besides if your going to make your kid try a vegetable, why not one covered in sugar ;)


My husband loves to make smoothies. He probably makes them almost daily. As long as you don't make them with sugar or ice cream these can be better snack choices. With cheaper fruit around the corner I recommend making your own freezer smoothie bags. If your banana's are going to go bad cut them up and add them to freezer bags. Then buy any kind of fruit like peaches, strawberries, black berries, blueberries, etc and add them as well.

 Fruits and vegetables are so yummy and make great snacks. Make a goal on eating more. Make sure to refuel with these and not quick fix's and sugars!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Week 2- Healthy and SMART Eating by Christy Stevenson

I am so excited to introduce today's guest blogger. I met Christy when I started trying out different classes and work outs. Remember my favorite instructor from this post ? She helped me loose those last few and most stubborn pounds after baby #3.
As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I get a ton of questions about healthy eating. It should be known right off the bat—I am NOT a nutritionist or a registered dietitian. What I am is a perpetual reader, experimenter, and studier of the most recent nutrition science. I’m also an avid runner, and I’ve done bikini bodybuilding—two very different sports with very different nutrition requirements, but I’ve learned how to fuel my body to feel good for a variety of demanding activities. I’ve also learned to not get so hung up on rules and numbers, which is an easy thing to do when you participate in physique contests! Instead, focus on eating REAL food, eating mindfully, and developing a healthy relationship with food.

Eating REAL. Most consumers are finally beginning to understand what REAL means—if it’s in a package, odds are high it’s not 100% real. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s definitely not REAL, unless you’re just a terrible reader. Real food is fresh, delicious, and makes you feel connected to the Earth. Nothing is more gratifying than making a salad purely out of food items I grew in my own backyard. Ethically, I do try to purchase "happy" meat and poultry and fish; economically, this isn’t always feasible but I definitely avoid processed meats, as they tend to be high in sodium and nitrates and have been linked to cancer and listeria (

Eating mindfully. When it comes to eating, all too often we are similar to dogs. We will put anything into our mouths, anytime, no matter what it is. We need to stop and think. Is this actually benefitting my body? Am I already satisfied? Is this an emotional craving or do I truly need this nutrient? Do I need to SLEEP or EAT? For my clients, I always ask: what are your sleep habits? If I can fix their sleep patterns (or lack thereof), I can help them drop 5-10 lbs easily. Late night eating is often a result of people ignoring their bodies, which are telling them to CONSERVE calories and go to sleep. Instead, they interpret is as, "CONSUME calories. You need energy." I’d guess this is the number one detriment to clients reaching their weight loss goals! The number two detriment is the misguided belief that you should always be full. You should NEVER feel full, even after a meal. Aim for 70% full, and eat when you’re 70% "starving". Typically, this translates to eating every few hours, small but satisfying meals.

Develop a healthy relationship with food. Food is not the enemy. It is not your friend. It is not your reward or your punishment. Food is fuel. Because it fuels us—gives us energy, heals our bodies, feeds our cells—we should put the best foods into our bodies. Food is also part of our cultures. Often, we celebrate with food, but the focus should still be on the people and moments we are celebrating, and not just about the food. When I first got into physique competing, I did find myself obsessing over food and viewing food negatively. Inevitably, my strict dieting and deprivations led to full-on bingeing episodes. These in turn led to guilt and negative self-image (how could I have no willpower?), and the cycle repeated itself. I had to re-establish healthy thought patterns. I had to let go of the "fruit after noon is a sin" and "bread is for fat people" mindsets. I now focus on the 90-10 rule: how do you eat 90% of the time? 90% of the time, I eat clean, no refined sugar, tons of lean protein, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and small portions. But 10% of the time, I enjoy splurges! I eat a chocolate chip cookie; I chomp down a gourmet burger; or I imbibe a sugary alcoholic beverage. And I don’t beat myself up. I move on easily to my 90% healthy eating lifestyle.
Now, the above tips are all fine and dandy. But I know my clients want some specific steps that work when trying to lose fat pounds. Here are the basic guidelines I give my clients to get them started on their healthy eating journey:

In a nutshell . . . Be SMART.
S- Simplify meals. No need for tons of ingredients & complex recipes. Think easy, fresh, real.

M- Make it mindful. Decide if you’re hungry. You may actually be thirsty, bored, depressed, stressed, etc. Eat slowly. Eat to satisfaction. Never ever feel FULL. Don’t ever let your blood sugar levels drop too low, either. The second you feel full is the second you’ve put on another pound. The second your blood sugar levels drop is the second you’re going to binge & make poor food choices.

A-Active all day. Seek ways to move more, especially after meals. A calorie is not just a calorie. Your metabolic rate plays a huge part, & activity is the easiest way to increase it. Also thermogenic: spicy peppers, green tea/coffee, & muscles ;)

R- Replace rather than Remove. Avoid thinking that you’re giving up foods; instead focus on replacing foods. Replace one bad habit at a time—try not to get overwhelmed with every change at once. Unless you do better cold-turkey approach!

T- Time. Time, time. Time your meals & stick to them. Make time for your workouts. Make time for YOU. Spend less time hiding out in your pantry & more time playing with your family ;)

Smart & simple meal formula :

Meal 1: 1 serving starchy carb, 1 serving fruit, 1 serving protein
Meal 2: 1 serving fruit/veggie carb, 1 serving dairy protein, teensy serving of healthy fat
(post-workout or mid-morning snack)
Meal 3: large serving leafy greens/fibrous carb, 1 serving protein, 1 serving fruit/veggie carb, teensy serving healthy fat
Meal 4: 1 serving fruit or veggie carb, ½ serving protein, ½ serving healthy fat
(afternoon snack)
Meal 5: large serving veggie carb, small serving starchy carb or large leafy carb, 1 serving protein, teensy healthy fat
Meal 6: ½-1 serving protein, 1 serving fruit or veggie carb, teensy healthy fat
(post-workout or pre-bedtime snack)

Christy Stevenson is a Fitflicks personal trainer, IDEA Fitness Journal writer, a high school English teacher, and mom of three. She teaches fitness classes and supervises the land aerobics program at American Fork Fitness Center. Learn more at .

Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 2- You Are What You Eat

Week 2- You Are What You Eat.

Thanks for sticking with me during week 1 of this fun series. It sure was a long hard week. Don't stop working out just because the week is over. Keep going. Make sure to surround yourself with positive people and remember what is keeping you motivated.  For me it's Hawaii.

This week we will be discussing healthy eating. I don't really like calling it a diet. I think all too often we make food the enemy. Food is good, and should be enjoyed. Only it should be enjoyed with reason. Baby steps are better than no steps. If you enjoy ice cream every night try slowly decreasing your proportions. Then move to every other night and hopefully getting to only once or twice a week. Baby steps is great for scardy cats and those just trying better eating habits for life.

I however have a specific goal in mind that is only weeks away. I have to jump right in and not look back at that yummy bowl of ice cream. I am not one to just test out the water, I like to cannon ball right in.

There are some key things to help you start out.

1- Count your calories. Annoying and time consuming I know. Unless you actually track what you eat, you won't know where to make adjustments. The first time I did this I didn't realize how many calories some foods had, and how often I ate them. After several weeks I got use to how many calories, fat and protein foods had and didn't need to track daily. Although when you get started you can't just assume, you need to know.

I recommend an app or program called My Fitness Pal. You can track on your phone or on your computer.  This also will help track how much fats, carbs, and proteins you eat. You can also just scan the barcode on your phone and it adds it for you. It even tracks what you had recently, so the more you use it, the faster it gets. Another bonus to counting calories is when you got to snack on a random small treat, it usually isn't worth inputting into your phone.

2- Write it down. Again time consuming I know, but it takes time to look good.
Write down what you no longer are going to eat. What are you going to replace those with? What can you eat? Write down your weekly meal plan, otherwise in a hurry you will go for those quick high carb and calorie meals.

After my 3rd child I was having a hard time loosing the weight. My big brother told me how important food is in my plan. He helped me come up with an approved after 8 pm snack list. I posted it on my fridge to help remind me. I will share the list with you, but please keep in mind, this list was designed for me. For my habits, my body type, and my lifestyle. It was my first step to getting healthy and back into pre pregnancy pants. There are some things on this list others would disagree with or even add, but here it is:

My brother recommends eating these in a smaller quantity. He says, "You shouldn't need a lot to curb the hunger. Basically anything that's low to no sugar/carbs. I usually just have a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of almonds/pistachio's and I'm good." -Big Brother of Chaos

3- Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time. This goes hand in hand with writing it down. Plan ahead if you are going out of town, to someone's house, or just for those busy days. Pre package and proportion snacks if you know you will be out running errands. Make sure you have healthy go to foods ready to go. Meal plan and grocery shop in advance. This helps eliminate bad snacking, quick unhealthy meals, and not having what you need.

Hope fully these things will help you get started. This week we have meals, idea's and much more.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May Cara Box

Last month I did a blog gift swap called the Cara Box. I have so much going on right now I decided to skip May, till I saw the theme for the month. The theme was to send goodies from your home state. I originally thought what a great missionary and sharing experience. I got to send some to Courtney from www.unpredictableandchic22. She is not only from Utah but also LDS. How funny?! Oh well, I had a lot of fun getting idea's from friends and putting her box together. I sent her Salt Water Taffy from Sweet's Candy. They make it here in SLC that we recently just toured. I sent a cookie cutter in the shape of our state, and some Utah caramels. She loves to watch movies with her husband so I sent her the movie 17 Miracles. It is a movie about some of the miracles some pioneers went through to get to Utah. Check out the movie trailer.

I also grew up near the lead guitarist for the band Imagine Dragons. I figure since he is from Utah, it counts.  Read about going to their concert here. Even though Courtney is also from Utah I hope she enjoyed her Utah cara box!

Then the person sending me a cara box was Kate from New Jersey. Kate's blog is www.classylivingblog.blogspot. com. I was looking forward to see what goodies she was going to send from New Jersey. We went through there on our way to New York, and almost went there again had Steven continued selling pest control 1 more summer.
I got this cute little green tea towel from her local farmers market. New Jersey is apparently the garden state, I had no idea. Then I got some yummy  marinara sauce from Roselli's which is really close to her. I am excided to try it, spaghetti is a family favorite around my house.

Last but not least chocolate. I had a friend say they love Tastykakes from Philly and local surrounding suburbs. Two thumbs up from the kids and I. They are so yummy, I wish I wouldn't have shared with my kids. They are now asking me if my "blog friend" will send more.
She also sent Lindt and Cadbury chocolate. Obviosley not from New Jersey but she has gone to their factories in Europe, so it counts. My brother served a mission in England for 2 years and brought me home similar chocolate. I like Europes Cadbury better than America's, it's creamier.

Thanks so much Kate for all the yummy local goodies.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alphabet Dating- Letter "I"

I keep saying I will try and do Wiffessionals alphabet dating but never do. I decried to finally jump in and plan a date with my husband around the Letter "I"
1- Indulge
2- Imagine Dragons
3- Ice Cream & Ice Water

image description

We started out the night with a trip to The Sweettooth Fairy. They had advertised this month was Mexican themed cupcakes. I had a hard time deciding, trying to be good and limiting my sweets right now. I chose a dulce de leche cupcake. Dulce de leche has becoming more and more popular. Too often people get it confused with plain caramel. I wanted to see for myself if it was real dulce de leche. Sure enough it was real, and it was real delicious.
I also got to try the Mexican hot chocolate cake bites, and boy were they yummy. Only a $1 a bite isn't too bad on your pocket either. It was very creamy with a small subtle taste of Mexican chocolate. It too was real Mexican Hot chocolate and not just hot chocolate with cinnamon. Thanks for using real Mexican flavors, it was delicious. I may just have to make a trip every May if they keep making some of my favorite flavors.
2- Imagine Dragons

Next we went to a concert I predicted years ago. I grew up and near the lead guitarist of Imagine Dragons. My senior year of high school he played his rendition of the star spangled banner. It was not only a tearful performance but the moment I knew he was going to make if big one day. Not to mention the multiple bands, orchestra's and many instruments he played. When my husband and I were engaged I predicted that we would one day see him play live from a very successful band. (I also told him about two drummers will most likely play professionally too. Drummer #1 & Drummer #2) Finally we got to fulfill that prediction, 9 years later.

Here are some highlights from the concert.

3-Ice Cream & Ice Water

Last we headed home. Since I already had so much chocolate I was good and had ice water, while my husband had ice cream. That's his favorite.
Thanks Husband for an Incredible "I" letter evening. It was nice to Inhale the fresh rain outside too ;)

Week 1- Girl Look at That Body Wrap Up



Thanks everyone for following along this week. We have had some great idea's and tips on getting back in shape and getting healthy. A reoccurring theme this week was to try new things, and keep trying new things. Don't worry about looking silly. The idea behind exercise is to sweat and raise your heart rate. Although you may not keep up in a cycling class, or know all the moves in a Zumba class you are moving around, and burning calories. That's the point in cardio activity.
Stretch more, exercise often and eat healthier. All 3 ways are going to help you feel better in your own skin. Next week is going to be a lot of fun, because we are talking about food. Food and exercise go together. You need to do both to not only get fit for summer, but to live healthier. 
Please always remember...

The point is to feel healthier and confident. I recommend getting a scale that reads body fat. Some gym's even do regular fat and muscle percent analysis. These numbers are lot easier to tell good progress than weight itself. The following are pictures of examples from here.

Next week check back in every day for great tips on eating healthier!
With such a fabulous week to get us out the door and motivated, why not do a giveaway for a gift card to help with some new exercise clothes?
Use the rafflecopter below to enter. Giveaway closes 6/2/13 an 12:00 AM
Winner will be announced with in 48 hours of closing. Winner has 48 hours to respond or new winner will be announced.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Week 1- Strengthen Your Core by, Discover Your Happy

I am way excited to feature today's guest blog post by Discover Your Happy . Discover Your Happy is one of my favorite blogs.  It was started by 3 inspiring mom's. All 3 were very active in High School, College, and still today as they find ways to encourage others. They have healthy recipes , workouts and tips .
We know it is coming up on racing season, summer, etc. so be sure to at least make sure you are doing something to keep your core strength. Core strength is essential to everything we do. When we think core, we normally think abs. However, core is abs, back, glutes, hip flexors...all the central parts of our body that controls so much of our movement. This challenge will help you to continue to strengthen your core!

So we put together an ab/squat challenge. These squats can be done with your own body weight or if you want to give yourself a challenge for all or some of them, pick up some hand weights to add some weight to your squat. It is set up as 6 days on-1 day off. So figure out whatever day you want as your rest day and start accordingly.
Day 1: 15 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, 20 sec plank, 50 squats
Day 2: 15 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, 30 sec plank, 55 squats
Day 3: 15 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, 30 sec plank, 60 squats
Day 4: 20 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, 30 sec plank, 70 squats
Day 5: 20 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, 35 sec plank, 75 squats
Day 6: 22 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 35 sec plank, 80 squats
Day 7: REST
Day 8: 25 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 40 sec plank, 85 squats
Day 9: 25 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 45 sec plank, 95 squats
Day 10: 30 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 45 sec plank, 100 squats
Day 11: 30 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 50 sec plank, 110 squats
Day 12: 35 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 55 sec plank, 120 squats
Day 13: 35 sit-ups, 17 push-ups, 55 sec plank, 125 squats
Day 14: REST
Day 15: 40 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 1:00 plank, 130 squats
Day 16: 40 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 1:00 plank, 135 squats
Day 17: 45 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 1:10 plank, 140 squats
Day 18: 45 sit-ups, 22 push-ups, 1:15 plank, 145 squats
Day 19: 50 sit-ups, 22 push-ups, 1:20 plank, 150 squats
Day 20: 50 sit-ups, 22 push-ups, 1:25 plank, 155 squats
Day 21: REST
Day 22: 50 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, 1:30 plank, 160 squats
Day 23: 55 sit-ups, 25 push--ups, 1:35 plank, 165 squats
Day 24:  60 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, 1:40 plank, 170 squats
Day 25: 60 sit-ups, 27 push-ups, 1:45 plank, 175 squats
Day 26: 65 sit-ups, 27 push-ups, 1:50 plank, 180 squats
Day 27: 70 sit-ups, 30 push-ups, 1:55 plank, 190 squats
Day 28: REST
Day 29: 70 sit-ups, 30 push-ups, 2:00 plank, 195 squats
Day 30 : 75 sit-ups, 30 push-ups, 2:00 plank, 200 squats
Doing this each day will take about 5-10 mins. I actually do them most days right before bed. This may not be the best time but I have found what works for me. And what is even better, is most nights my husband will join in with me to work on his core strength as well!!!
Doing it every day will help get the results you are looking for!
By Discover Your Happy
 Thanks so much for sharing this with us! I love this and am starting today myself. Keep in mind not to strain your lower back. Your abs and lower back have a connected relationship. Your back will "pick up the slack" where your core/abs can't. There's a line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself. The more you do this and strengthen your core, the less work your back will need to do. I am excited to add this to my daily routine. Which will most likely be those only few quiet moments I get alone- in the bathroom.  Yup 10 minutes before hopping in the shower is a great time to do it for me. Thanks again  for the guest post!    **Jennifer**

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Week 1- Run, Run As Fast As You Can

If someone had asked me 2 Years ago to join them running I would have barfed in my mouth a little. Seriously, the thought of running for enjoyment would have literally killed me. Now I feel quite the opposite, I look forward to those moments of peace and quiet. I can't wait to leave my house, my kids and husband behind and just run.
It all started last March when my sister sent my cute niece to me. She gave me her big puppy dog eyes and asked if I would do the Color Me Rad 5K with her. How could I say no? I was working out 5-6 days a week, a little adjustment to keep my body guessing would be ok this once. Well I fell in love.

I ran my first race with my sister and my niece. We had a blast. This is a great fun starter race to get you motivated.
There are different reasons to run. The two most popular reasons I have discovered are to build endurance or to burn fat. Make sure you aren't doing the wrong kind of running for the right reasons.
Endurance Running
Endurance running is typically to build your endurance and have a distance goal in mind. If you are training for something like a race or just trying to push yourself. A beginner is usually trying to run a certain distance. A more experienced runner typically tries to increase their speed or endurance. Summer is one of the best times of year for running. There are so many types of runs available. I recommended here to just pick one and pay for it. Once it's paid for, who is going to let the money go to waist? Start training now. Even if it's only to get to a mile, that's ok. Don't compare yourself to marathon trainers. Even they had to start at a mile once. Our bodies are amazing and can do amazing things. They are meant to move, so why not try running.
Burning Calories
Moving, sweating, and running all help burn calories. If your only goal is to burn fat and calories I don't recommend running slow long distances. Although that will help, it's not the best and fastest way to utilize precious workout time. The key here is intensity not endurance. This is a little easier if you have access to a treadmill. That way you can adjust speeds, inclines and track timing.

 If you don't have a treadmill try using your playlist. Alternate songs with different styles and speeds. Pick a few key songs that when they play you push yourself hard, and when slower songs play match the tempo. It's ok to alternate walking with running.
Reduce Injury
An injury not only is hard on your body but can make getting back in the saddle that much harder. A lot of injuries happen from going too far or too fast too soon. Please listen to your body and know your limits. Stretch, stretch, stretch. Stretching and cooling down are very important and should never be overlooked. The increase in blood, nutrients and oxygen to your muscles can help decrease muscle soreness. Stretching not only increases your range of motion, but can lengthen your muscles and help create better posture. Pay attention to your body as you run. Do you clench your fists? Or raise your shoulders like me? Loosen up. I have to remind myself to loosen my shoulders, neck, and arms all the time. Please invest in proper shoes. Especially if you are going to be doing this often. Bad shoes, or shoes not meant for running can be "no bueno." Your shoes do more than support your feet. They support your feet, legs, knees, and even hips.
Running has so many benefits! Even if the only one is just to stop huffing and puffing when walking to and from the mail box. I suggest experimenting what works for you. Do you like running outside or with a treadmill? Do you like the camaraderie at the finish line of a race or just the peace and quiet on your own? Whatever your reason is, find it. The sooner you do the better off you will be.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Week 1- Work Out From Home

Yesterday I spoke about some fun classes you can attend at a local gym. What if you don't live close to a gym? There is still lots you can do from home.  Now that I have moved further from my rec center, I find that the 1 hour round trip can be better spent at home working out. Here are some things I use to help me stay on task at home.

 Try some free online video's. There are ton's of videos on You Tube of just about every kind of work out. Cross Fit, Zumba, Turbo Kick, Weight Training, Yoga and many others. One of my favorite videos is this Jillian Michale's video from Be Fit. It is a combo of short cardio exercises, strength training and abs all in one single video. She uses some light weights in it. If you don't have any weights try a heavy soup can or fill a gallon jug. Growing up we didn't have weights yet that didn't stop my brother. He would rinse and fill empty milk jugs with water. I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find something to use or buy some really inexpensive weights off Craig's List.

Try the app Nike Training Plus. My cousin showed this to me over the holidays, and it was an instant love/hate relationship. The training app has tons of workouts to do. You start out by picking a goal. For instance you can choose to get lean, to get tone or to develop muscle strength. There is also a list of 15 minute workouts each targeting different parts of your body. You can then choose an intensity level for your work out. They kick my butt, quite literally sometimes. I suggest downloading the app and at least giving it a try. What's the worst that could happen, you burn calories and look silly?
Near me are a lot of  running trails. This makes biking and running close and easy. Well not easy, but easier then driving to a gym. It's the time of year where, 5K's, 10K's, half and full marathons are everywhere. I recommend just scheduling one. Once you have paid the money you won't want it to go to waste, and you'll start running. There are lots of running training guides on pinterest, the internet and even the app I mentioned, NTC. Another app I love for running is Time Keeper. Not only will it track your running distance and time, it also has training plans and target paces.  For more on running check back tomorrow when I dive into this topic a lot more.

When working out from home sometimes it's ok to not go crazy and just stick to the basics. Simple exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, squats, jump rope, sit ups and push ups.  I recommend a mixture of cardio and strength for the fastest results. Try doing 3 minutes of cardio, then 3 minutes of strength at least 3 times, that's a total of 18 minutes. Plus with 4 minutes before and after of stretching you are at 24 minutes. That's like watching a half hour episode of your choice.

Some great cardio that can tire you out (which is the point) are burpees. Here is a one minute clip on burpees and how to modify them.

Try doing stair runs if you have stairs. Do them in intervals like up one, and down, up two and down, up three and back down, and so on. Or just run up and down for 3 minutes straight. Alternate jumping jacks and jumping rope.

Some of my favorite strength training exercises from home are sit ups, squats, and planks. Squats can be done while waiting for some water to boil, or for an independent kid to finish getting dressed. Planks are also one of the best exercises, because they work so much of your body. Here is a video clip of me doing some of my favorite planks and sit-ups. Keep in mind I am not an expert and either is my help on making the video. You should get the general idea though.

These are some tips and idea's to help you work out from home. I recommend mixing it up every now and then. Keep your body guessing. Come back tomorrow for more on running.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week 1- Find Something You Enjoy


After Adrianna, my 3rd child, I  had a hard time loosing the baby weight. Two months after she was born I went home, to Utah for my brothers wedding. With all the moving around I hadn't weighed myself in over 6 weeks, because we didn't have room for a scale.  I borrowed his scale that told me my body fat % and I about died. The next 3 months with moving around I started with my eating  (which we will cover during week 2.) Then when we finally got settled back in Utah it was time to get my butt in gear!
Me at my brothers wedding June 2011.

I was luckily already a member of the local recreation center. I decided to just start trying out classes. I would just pop into any class I could find the time for. Then I started making time other days to try out new classes or new instructors. Over time I started figuring out what classes I enjoyed, and which instructors. Working out is so much easier once you find something you enjoy.

The first class I fell in love with was Turbo Kick. Turbo Kick was created by Chalene Johnson. It is a choreographed cardio kickboxing class. It's very high intensity, lots of fun music, and very addictive. I found myself even waking up early some Saturday mornings just to go to a Turbo Kick class. This class helps burn over 500 calories, and helps strengthen too. I was surprised how sore I would be the next day after a cardio class.
Another great and very popular class is Zumba. You can find this Latin inspired class just about anywhere. The idea behind Zumba is to party yourself into shape. The class has fun international beats and lots of high energy. There are different types of Zumba classes, even a water Zumba. The more I tried out different instructors the more picky I got with my Zumba classes. I wanted to sweat and push myself. If you went once and didn't like it, don't give up. I recommend trying a different day or time. Zumba is a lot of fun if you find the right class for you.

I know Yoga is also very popular, but I personally prefer Pilates. Don't let this discourage you from trying a Yoga class, but I highly recommend also trying a Pilates class. I love Pilates so much I keep going back and forth on even becoming certified to teach it.  Maybe I had a phenomenal instructor (who also happened to be my favorite Zumba instructor.) Pilates isn't high cardio but great for strengthening and flexibility. You will only get as much out of this as you put into it, so don't be afraid to push yourself in this class.

If toning up is your goal try a body pump type class. Cardio mixed with strength training is the best and fastest way to burn fat and build muscle. Plus these types of classes are great stepping stones to learning things to do when doing strength training on your own. Just be prepared to be sore afterwards, so make sure to drink lots of water after this or any work out for that matter.
One class I often dragged my dad or husband to was a cycling class. Now your legs may literally feel like rubber after your first class. That's a good thing, it means you worked hard. Don't let the amount you use your legs fool you either, cycling can be a full body work out. You can change your resistance on the bike to fit you and your needs. Ask your gym if they have an introductory or starter class. Most gyms will have a class once or twice a month to teach things like changing the resistance, adjusting the bike, and so on. I personally just jumped right in and asked lots of questions.
Don't be afraid to try something new. Through trying new things I found what I liked and who I liked. You may even be as lucky as I was to find an instructor that I didn't care what class she was teaching, I went just because she was teaching it. Stay tuned during week 2 as she will be one of our guest bloggers.
March 2012

These were the only jeans that fit me when my brother got married. Needless to say hard work and trying new things worked out great for me. All my hard work made my 4th pregnancy so much easier too. I was active and eating healthy. I was the same weight going home from the hospital with baby #4 as I was 4 months after having baby #3! People would say, "You look so good." That is because I worked out 5-6 days a week for 6 months pre-pregnancy. Then I still worked out 3-4 days a week through out my pregnancy, till the Dr. said I couldn't any more. Never thought I would be so sad to hear "No more exercising."
Try any of these classes or any others you see near you. If you can't get to a gym try renting a Netflix Pilates video, buying Zumba for the Wii or even searching on You Tube for video's. Tomorrow we will talk a lot more on what you can do to work out from home.