Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Of My New Amazing Leg Workouts

So I have had a few requests regarding one of my new leg workouts, instead of emailing everyone back I thought I would blog about it. It is my power, muscle, burn workout, and it is CRAZY good! Today I just trained my hamstrings and this is what I did:

1. Deadlift----this is for power-----4 sets-----3-5reps
2.Deadlift----muscle---------------2 sets----8-15 reps
3. Wide stance Good Morning----muscle----2 sets---6-12 reps
4.Glute/Ham Raise--------------Muscle-----2 sets---6-12 reps
5. Leg Curl--------Burn---------------------2 sets---40 reps

You will keep the same weight for each individual exercise, within the exercise. However, you may go heavier/lighter when you change the exercise. This is an awesome workout and I definitely will keep it in my rotation of leg workouts!

TRX Training Thoughts

Now a few days removed from my TRX seminar I am now able to have my thoughts gathered a bit better to speak on it. All I can say is it is amazing. I have been intrigued by the TRX concept for quite some time and could not wait to have an opportunity to become qualified in instructing TRX and to learn as much about the TRX training as possible. For those of you that are reading this and are wondering, "What is TRX"? I will tell you. It is suspension training. It is a training method that actually has quite a history and was originally developed in the Navy as a form of exercise and a method to get total body conditioning in limited space. It utilizes suspension training and your body weight as the resistance (although you can add outside weights and props for more challenge and variety) and can work out your entire body. I honestly swear by this training and have fallen even more in love with it after taking this course. I will be using this method in my training. It builds true functional strength while improving your flexibility, balance, and requires your core to work hard the entire time. I totally support the principles behind TRX and love the fact that it can be used on a 20 year old the same way I could use it, the same way my grandpa could use it. It caters to the person that is just beginning to be active all the way to the professional athlete and everyone in between. And unlike most gym equipment, the TRX trainer works multiple planes of motion to get the most benefits, where most machines use one plane which only allows for a certain amount of benefit and is not functional to real-life movement. Are you curious about it yet??

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alternative To The Infamous Flaxseed Craze

Everyone is always raving about flaxseed as a source of fiber and a good source of "healthy fats". This still remains true but I recently stumbled across a new seed, that in my opinion is kicking flaxseeds butt by the numbers. Here is an article I came across that goes on more detail about the benefits of this SUPER seed.
Long ago, before the Spanish conquest of Latin America – and well before the Ch-ch-ch-chia Pet was born – chia seeds were a staple food, like corn and beans, in the diets of the Aztecs and Mayans. Chia actually got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.”

Most evidence shows that humans began using chia seeds around 3500 BC. Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds regularly, grinding them into flour, pressing them for oil and drinking them mixed with water. At this time in history, chia seeds were considered to be almost magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time.

After the Spanish conquest of Latin America, chia seeds and their benefits became somewhat eclipsed, as the Spanish introduced their own foods and prohibited the farming of chia. Now, as modern scientists and nutritionists are recognizing the extreme lack of certain nutrients in the standard American diet, they are looking to history for natural solutions, including chia. Because of this, it is regaining popularity and its benefits are becoming known to modern America.

The chia seeds are “super” because, like a superfruit, they deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories. They have several of the same benefits as the more well-known “super seed” flax, but unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more – even protein!

While the American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day, unfortunately the average American only gets 12 to 15 grams. With nearly 11 grams of fiber per ounce, chia delivers 42% of your recommended daily value of fiber in a single serving. Fiber is vital for all aspects of health, and is especially key for weight loss and digestion. Fiber helps slow digestion and makes you feel fuller by soaking up fluid and expanding in your digestive tract.

Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive.
Contributing to its super-seed status, ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon! Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food. It also contains high amounts of omega-6. Everyone needs to consume high amounts of these essential fatty acids in their diet, because these EFAs build new cells and regulate various processes of the body, but our bodies cannot make them internally. They also support heart health and beautiful skin, hair and nails.

Chia also contains calcium; in fact, it delivers 18% of your daily value per ounce, which is three times more than skim milk. Many Americans – especially vegetarians or those who avoid dairy – are not getting enough calcium. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by porous and fragile bones. Osteoporosis is a serious health problem for more than 10 million US adults, 80% of whom are women. Another 34 million have osteopenia, which is essentially pre-osteoporosis.

Overall, this tiny little seed packs a big nutritional punch.

First Things First.....FORM!!!!

One of my biggest pet peeves in the gym is when I look around and see anyone doing an exercise with bad form. It literally takes everything in me not to stop what I am doing and go over and correct them...That is definitely the trainer in me coming out. But I refrain because it is not my place. However,I am mentioning it here, and if you are reading this please know that ALL your efforts in the gym are a waste if your form is NOT correct. Seriously. It's a complete waste of your time. So before you get caught up in reps, or sets, or amount of weight you can lift depending on the exercise, CORRECT YOUR FORM! However you have to do it, by asking someone who is knowledgeable, hiring a trainer, looking at fitness/workout books, looking online....Use your resources, educate yourself, and clean up your form so you can start seeing results...I would prefer everyone to squat, lunge, curl, etc at a LOW weight with correct form then overloading your body with excessive weights and bad form. The latter will get you nowhere but qualify you for possible injuries. Take your time with each rep....Focus and really feel your muscles doing the work on the lifting and lowering phase of the exercise, proper breathing is huge (you should exhale on the exertion/lifting part of the exercise and inhale on the lowering), get a good SQUEEZE out of the muscle you are working so you can really feel it. Remember FORM is everything!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Goals Revisited

Let me preface this by saying as New Year's approached I made it clear that I had some general tweaks that I wanted to make in the upcoming year, but just as we all change as individuals our goals are subject to change. I am still working on the "get out of my gym clothes after the gym" goal. That is really difficult for me, because it is so easy to stay comfy and I'm constantly on the go and my days usually escape me. I am taking it one day at a time and I keep reminding myself, I work hard for my body so I need to wear more flattering things (and hoodies/sweats do NOT equal flattering). I am also on track with my reading a certain amount of time per week. My goal is a book per month, which is realistic. I truly believe you must keep your mind sharp and reading is a great way to do that. My eating habits have definitely become more strict. I am working on timing out my meals, keeping my diet clean, tremendously upping my protein intake. My final tweak is my workout. This is definitely being revisited because shortly after the new year I started thinking about competing in a fitness show. So yes, cardio will be a must and more then the minimum I was originally thinking, add to it my resistance training is about to drastically change. I have to become more focused and even more dedicated then I already am if I want to achieve THIS goal.
I have noticed in certain conversations with various people, on social networks that getting healthy seems to be a common goal. And yes, I know that it is a standard goal for the new year that is short lived. But something seems different about it this time. People seem more dedicated and determined, and I love it. Just as I hope these posts are a source of inspiration or get you thinking, I have to admit the daily posts on social networks along with the conversations I have had recently inspire me!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Strength Training To Stage

I have mentioned that I have wanted to do a fitness competition for a few years now. It has definitely been a goal on my bucket list, however I always back out or change my mind. Something in me this year has me more serious than ever. So this is the first of many posts I will have that are about my training for this competition, just another facet of fitness and source of inspiration for the reader. I know we all have fitness goals, be it a bodybuilding show, losing those last few stubborn pounds, participating in a 5K/marathon/triathlon, toning up, or just feeling more healthy. Whatever your goal may be, I hope that my journal entries on this blog while I embark on this journey will inspire you to keep striving to accomplish your own goals.
Let me tell you how I have no idea how to really train for a show. I have never even been to one before to see what it looks like. So my first step is to attend one to see a glimpse of what it all entails. However, being that the first available show to attend in STL is not until March, I am spending my time from now until then going youtube crazy trying to see different workouts, competitions, posing, etc, and starting the clean up process of my diet, while modifying my workouts. After March,I will make my ultimate decision to proceed with the competition training and really get down to business. That will give me a very small time frame to get stage ready, the show I would compete in is in August, so approximately 5 months to do it. I work best under pressure....But did I mention I have severe stage fright???Because I do! BUT, like I have said before and I keep telling myself, you have to face your fears, step out of you comfort zone, and take on new challenges.
I definitely have my work cut out for me. In addition to these preliminary changes I have started to make to prep for a possible show, I have also started keeping a journal of my exact workout and food consumption daily, which is something I have never done. It will be a great reference to look back on as time goes to see increases and changes with my workouts, etc. Also, since this is technically week one, I took all my measurements and took pics to also measure my progress. I am a huge fan of measurements over the scale. The scale fluctuates too much and isn't as accurate in predicting fitness levels/muscle growth as measurements can be. So the training begins......

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone

I am a big believer in this concept for all areas of your life from major to minor, big to small. Even the most insignificant changes can make a big difference. Be it a different outcome/result, or even something as simple as making you feel good because you know you were able to step outside of your comfort zone/routine, be it for a certain amount of time or even for a moment and try something new. Like I said, I TRY to apply this to all areas of my life, and although I am not always successful in doing so, brave enough to do it, I try my best and when I don't succeed I keep trying. For example, yesterday I tried a new coffee place. Yes, this seems trivial and to some maybe a silly example to prove my point, but anyone who knows me, knows I love coffee drinks and even more so I love Starbucks.....faithfully. However, yesterday I met up with an old friend for a talk and ventured outside of my Starbucks comfort zone. I will admit I was beyond reluctant. I didn't know what to expect, what to order, nothing. It was all unknown to me. But I went...And I loved it. So much that I went back today...And I remember feeling a little proud of myself to venture outside of my routine and try something new last night.
Now to apply this to your workouts. Everyone knows you stick to a training program for a certain amount of time and then you must switch up some variable(s) of the workout or the workout entirely to avoid a plateau. I know that, but what I know more than that,  is what it takes to keep my body in the shape its in, and to maintain it at this level of fitness. Meaning what exercises to do for legs, back, arms, abs, etc, which is different for every individual. However now that I am contemplating competing in a fitness show I must take my fitness to a whole different level. And I have to be honest, this is the first week that my workouts have been geared more towards competition prep, and it has scared me. I have started training parts specifically for what I NEED to train, not what I LIKE to train, chosen very different exercises, different intensities, it is all new. I am beyond out of my comfort zone and at times worried, thinking "well what if I lose certain muscle tone", etc. But I am trying to ignore those thoughts and keep trying new things each day and switching things up in hopes that I will see new RESULTS.
So my thoughts for you, is to try new things...If you love weights, try cardio....If you love cardio, pick up some weights. If you always take pilates and feel you have no rhythm, take zumba...or whatever....If you are hardcore with weights try yoga...You get my point...Just get out there and try new things...Go outside of the norm...what is comfortable..Who knows..You might discover a new interest you never knew you had!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Another Way To Prepare KALE

As most of you know I juice kale, and have been for months.It is an amazing veggie,that provides numerous nutritional benefits which make it a super food. I recently came across the following recipe for kale lasagna and prepared it last night for dinner. It was amazing! I will definitely be making it again and might even make a few adjustments. Although it has a yummy flavor as is, I would also like to suggest the option to add more veggies with the kale so your health/nutritional benefits just increase!
Spicy Kale Lasagna
Yield: about 8-10 servings
1¼ lbs. kale (or spinach), stems removed
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, (preferably with herbs)
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 cups cottage cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ tsp. pepper
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (or noodles cooked according to package directions)
To prepare the kale, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the kale to the pot and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. Wrap the kale inside a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. Chop roughly, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
To make the tomato sauce, combine the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in a cold saucepan. Heat over medium-high, stirring frequently. Once bubbling, cook for about 30 seconds. Mix in the crushed tomatoes, reduce heat and let simmer 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
To make the cheese mixture, strain all of the liquid out of the cottage cheese. (I used a fine mesh strainer and pressed down to remove the liquid.) Mix in ½ cup of the Parmesan, 1½ cups of the mozzarella, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. To assemble the lasagna, add a thin layer of the sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture, half of the kale, and half of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, and the remaining kale. Top with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan.
Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ditching the word "DIET"

Ahhhh welcome to a new year, where the one of the top 5 used words in everyones conversation at any given time is "diet". I am here to share my thoughts on the word, to either eliminate it from your vocabulary or change the context in which you use it. "Diet" has such a negative stigma associated with it typically. It embodies restrictions, deprivation, not good tasting food because it is supposed to be good for you, etc. I definitely used to be in a place where I used the word diet endlessly. I have deprived myself of numerous food choices, to then eventually eat an insane amount of whatever it was because I had not allowed myself to satisfy the craving when I first had it. I have participated in a variety of diets that are built on restrictions, consumed  my fair share of food that was selected because it was "good" for me but tasted horrible. I have been sucked into alllllll the fad DIETS, all of which have not improved my health nor helped me accomplish whatever fitness goal I had desired when I first attempted the DIET. Finally I had to re-define diet for myself. I had to come to grips with all the things previously mentioned were not healthy and not productive. I had to stop. Now when I use the word "diet" it refers to lifestyle and eating habits. I turned a stereotypically negative word into something positive. I don't deprive myself of anything. If I am craving it, I listen to my body, satisfy the craving, and move on. Part of my diet/lifestyle is to make healthy choices most days of the week. I have mentioned it before but I describe my diet for the most part as "clean". When I say this I mean, while shopping at the grocery store I follow these few simple guidelines:
1. Stay in the perimeter of the store. The aisles will get you in trouble. I rarely venture down them. But if I do its for things like brown rice, tuna, condiments, spices, etc.
2. FRESH IS BEST!!!I can't say this enough. It has a shelf life and must be eaten in a timely manner, but fresh is always best. If you can't buy fresh, next best is frozen. Canned anything is horrible!!!It has so many additives and preservatives to allow it to have shelf life that the nutrition value suffers.
3. Look at the ingredients. The fewer the better. If you can't pronounce whats in it, your body can't recognize it and will struggle to effectively digest it.
Those simple quick tips will help you eat "clean" and contribute to a healthier lifestyle through your diet.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kale Recipe

I have mentioned Kale in a previous blog and every time I mention it in conversations people always ask me,"how do you prepare it?" Prior to this recipe I used to strictly juice it, which is super great, it blends well with other fruits and veggies and provides amazing benefits! However I was recently looking for ways to mix it up when it comes to kale and came across this recipe I thought I would pass along:
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 58 | Total Fat: 2.8g | Cholesterol: 0mg