It’s true, I’m making an appearance on my own blog. What will she write about after being MIA so long, one would ask. There really aren’t enough words or time or ears with that much storage to spare. So let’s cover a little bit of my favorite things and call this a trifecta cameo!
We’re almost halfway there! The good news is, I have a bunch more in store for you in the way of little changes you can make now to help you not feel like a slug for the holidays. Plus you still have 16 days to sign up for these blog posts and be entered to win a really fun cookbook (as a gift or for yourself – I won’t judge you for not giving EVERYTHING away that you buy this Christmas). So once again, here’s the scoop before we get down to the nitty gritty of Day 14!
Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good. I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:
It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is a little bit.
November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.
Here’s how it’s going down:
Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here so you get each day’s updates or find the Like button in the left-hand sidebar.
Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here we care a LOT about not feeling like crap.
Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a nerd like that.
Subscribe and win. <— See that little sign-up box to the left? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between OCTOBER 30th and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” Um, what’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!
Day 14 – Challenge Yourself!
Alright alright, I know that “challenge yourself” is soooo vague. So let’s get specific, shall we? I want you to challenge yourself in a way that fits what you’re struggling with in your world right now. Maybe this is fitting into your pants or maybe it’s something much, much bigger (no pun intended).
– Having a hard time not reaching for the afternoon sweets every day? Challenge yourself to stop by either doing something else or choosing a wiser snack (Trainer Tip: Plan ahead!).
– Stressed out? Challenge yourself to schedule some time for yourself or your family, even if it’s just an hour. We all need perspective now and then.
– Not losing weight? Challenge yourself by looking, I mean REALLY LOOKING, at where you might be slacking or over-thinking it or even under-thinking it. Reach out to someone who might be able to help you.
– Not moving enough? Challenge yourself to get up and walk around every hour.
– Not happy with your current situation? Challenge yourself to make a plan to start changing it! It doesn’t have to be an overnight plan. It might even take 5 years. Just start RIGHT now.
– Bored with your workouts or losing motivation? Challenge yourself to seek out some new methods and try some fun things. Working out does NOT have to suck all the time.
– Always comparing yourself to others? Challenge yourself to STOP. We don’t know what others are going through and we all have our own journey.
Those are just some examples off the top of my head based on what I talk with others about on a typical day at the studio. But find your weakness and give it a good shake!
And remember, if you’re looking for days 8-13 of the challenge, you’ll find them on my Facebook page!
You might guess that I’m inspired by wine, fit-like stuff and my children. You’d be right, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Recently when I was telling one of my clients how she might think about making a list of everything and everyone in her life that inspired her (in order to stay on-track with her health goals), she flipped the switch on me and asked what I find inspiring. While it was easy to superficially answer that question, I started making a list a week later and realized I was quite possibly going to run out of paper.
I think the point of making a list of what inspires us is to fully realize all we have going right for ourselves, even if we feel like we’ve stumbled off the beaten path, with a wine hangover and no H2O Fairy in sight. Not that I’ve been in that situation or anything…
So I’m just going to put this out there – my sources of inspiration – to practice what I preach and hopefully motivate others to do the same.
Things That Inspire Me
My kids – When they learn anything new about the world or themselves.
My family’s health history – Like many of you can relate, it’s a bit complicated. There’s Alzheimer’s and heart problems on the table and I’m just hoping I don’t take a whopping serving of either. Maybe having a healthy lifestyle matters in the long run, maybe it doesn’t, but in the end I want to say I did what I could.
The stairs – There are 3 flights of stairs at the studio and every morning I climb them with 30 pounds of crap attached to me because I am the Bag Lady. I did this throughout both pregnancies when I maxed out at 195 pounds just in bodyweight. I’m too stubborn to let these punks get to me.
Writers – The ones I’ve read, the ones I’ve met, the ones I haven’t yet read or met. They’re an amazing breed.
Lone Survivor – Yes, the movie and yes, it has Mark Wahlberg in it. But that’s not actually why it inspires me, although it does help. This movie was just eye-opening for me in regard to what it means to persevere and fight for what you believe in.
A really good run – Like the kind of run where your mind just stays the **** out of it.
Good natured people – Yes, they do exist and when you find them you know instantly. I try to surround myself with them and let the others choke each other out.
The outdoors – Sometimes a good walk outside with my kids is what saves the day.
My mom – She’s always supportive, even when I tell her things she probably doesn’t want to hear.
My dad – The man’s work ethic is astounding. Plus, when you realize you have the same idiosyncrasies as one of your parents, you finally understand them better.
My brother – If I were telling him this to his face, the compliment would sound more like, “You’re kinda cool and I’ll admit for a second that I’m associated with you.” Truth be told, he’s awesome.
My husband – He’s a worker-bee and devoted father and partner. What’s more inspiring than that in a husband?
Really !@#$ hard workouts – The kind that make me realize I can suck wind AND survive it.
People who admit when they’re wrong – Please and thank you.
Elderly/Widows/Widowers – Those who are out there doing their thing anyway.
Open minded people – Except those who are so open minded I think their brain escaped.
Good friends – Like, REALLY good friends. You know who you are.
Moms who know how to style their kids’ hair – Which class did you take in school that I missed? I’m guessing it was offered the same time I was failing Math 025.
Anything super, super funny – Make me pee my pants and I will worship you.
Creative chefs – Those who spend so much time perfecting dishes all so we can figure out how to work them off later.
People who know their stuff – Even if they’re just a checker at the grocery store, I love it when they know it inside and out.
Drinking a glass of wine near a fire – Something about wine and the heat from a fire make me impressively thoughtful and incoherently exhausted.
The coast – I’m mostly talking about the West Coast simply because it’s where I’ve spent the most time and it’s remarkable. Every time.
Trying new recipes – I screw them up just as much as I succeed at them. Either way it’s like crack for my soul.
Getting a list of things done – We list people can be so annoying. That is, unless we get our list of things accomplished. Then we are really fun to be around.
Other parents, who parent – Carry on, stay strong, and thank you for breeding.
Emergency service personnel – EMS, fire fighters, police officers, all of them. I’ve so much respect for what you see in a day and still come out the other side wanting to do it again tomorrow.
People who like my kids – I mean, I like them but I sorta have to like them. You liking them just makes me think I’m not crazy.
My clients – From 29 to 82 years old, they are all inspiring.
A warm cup of tea on a cold day – I feel like I should be doing something insanely profound. That may take a lot of tea.
Entrepreneurs – This stuff is tough! I don’t care if you own a food truck or Google, you’re taking risks and fueled by passion, faith, and adrenaline.
Memories of loved ones – They say we shouldn’t live in the past, but I have had in my life some incredible people who are the stokers of the fire that fuels me.
Being told no – It gets me every time. Maybe it’s a youngest child thing or maybe it’s just that I’m inherently a rebel, tell me no and I will do it again, but better.
Homemade anything – The crafts, the bread, the DIY garden boxes, the recycled wine bottle plant hangers, the tomato sauce…I love it all.
Winemakers – Captain Obvious over here. As a wife of a vintner, I’m inspired by the science behind it all and the glory of the end result. Amen.
A good book – The ones you just can’t shake. The ones you can’t put down. The ones you need a night off from reading because you’re still churning over last night’s pages and trying to catch up emotionally. The ones that make you think, “I will never write this good. Ever.”
People who don’t give up – Even if I don’t agree with you, I’m inspired by your tenacity. Unless the thing you won’t give up on is being annoying.
Ever get sick of hearing the same advice about how to break out of a fitness rut? I get ya. Or maybe you have no idea you’re even in a rut. So let’s see how you answer this question: Are you completely bored with exercise? If you answered that in any way other than a resounding ‘NO,’ you’re a nut in a rut.
I feel equipped to call you that because I too have been that nut. So rather than tell you all the ordinary ways to break out of it (which, for the record, are good approaches too), I’m going to give you the list of moves I revisit when I’m in need of a solid butt-kicking and motivational slap in the face. Or to put it more gently, a reminder to mix things up.
My clients will tell you how much I love treadmill lunges. They’re a great way to mix up your circuit or strength workout. My favorite time to do them, however, is in the middle of a treadmill cardio session. If I need a mental break from running or hill walking I’ll slow the treadmill way down to 1.0 – 1.3 mph and lunge for two to four minutes before resuming my workout. Not only will your quads burn, you’ll also burn more calories AFTER your workout because of the metabolic boost you’re giving your muscles.
Psst – Don’t hold on to the handrails, that’s cheating. If you feel like you have to hold on to something it probably means you just need to slow the speed down.
If you’re thinking you have to be an athlete to pull off box jumps, you’re mistaken. I’m not talking college football training height (unless you’re game for that), I’m talking about 12″ to 24″ box jumps. Stand in front of the box, use your arms to jump up as high as you can and land on the box in a squat position. Step back off the box and repeat, as fast as possible, for either a certain number of reps or for time. I like to place box jumps in my circuit workouts to mix up the intensity, so I’ll usually do them for 30 seconds or 20 reps depending on my workout. I’m always sore after these. As in, it-hurts-to-stand-up-from-the-toilet sore. I am completely aware that this is a strange thing to be proud of. That just goes to say I must be in the right industry.
Rolling Plank Leg Lifts
Most of you reading this are going to get to this point and decide I’m a freak of nature and I must be joking if I think you’re going to pull this off. You will say to yourself there’s no way in hell you’re trying this move. Just suck it up and do it! Yes, this looks ridiculously hard and yes, it’s incredibly awkward and challenging at first. But here’s the thing: It’s mostly a coordination issue and once you get that down, these cease to suck so bad. Here’s another thing: You only need to do a few to feel incredibly accomplished.
I wasn’t able to snap a photo of myself demo’ing this one for you. Instead, I found some still video shots (from fitnessblender.com) that I hope will work. I had to throw out some quality standards when posting these, so please humor me.
Essentially you start in a high plank, roll onto one arm to face the side and then keep rolling until your whole body is facing up, looking at the ceiling (but keep your hips off the floor). Roll to the other arm, all the way back into high plank and lift one leg straight back behind you. Repeat the other direction and with the opposite leg.
If you’re a woman and you’re thinking that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky, you’re wrong. I’m not saying you should always lift heavy but you should definitely consider doing it once in a while to change things up. Women just don’t have the muscle structure men do to make bulky muscles. With that said, one of my favorite ways to lift heavy is by doing pyramid sets.
You can play with pyramid sets a bit, but what I like to do most often is start with a lighter set of dumbbells – let’s say 8lbs – and do a high number of reps – let’s say 20. Let’s also say I’m doing bicep curls. The next time I come back to those bicep curls I’m going to pick up a heavier weight – let’s say 12lbs – and do a lower number of reps – let’s say 15. The third set I’m going to pick up an even heavier weight – let’s say 15lbs – and do an even lower number of reps – let’s say 10. You can either keep moving down until you’re absolutely fatigued or you can stop there. Or maybe you want to do a reverse pyramid and start with the heavier weights and lower reps. Any way you do it, pyramid sets are a fun way to mix up your strength training routine (and give you that sore feeling again).
It’s pretty common to see people at the gym resting for a minute or two before they move on to the next machine or free weight exercise. I’m not saying anyone’s doing anything wrong since everyone has different goals, but one thing I like to do in my workouts is move as quickly as possible between exercises. I set a timer and only allow 10 seconds between moves, which makes me sweat and challenges my body to keep up. Try going from squats to jumping jacks to lunges with only 10 seconds between each move, for instance.
The Element of Surprise
Try this: Set a bunch of alarms on your phone so they are anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 minutes apart. Start your workout. Every time your alarm goes off, stop whatever you’re doing and immediately do something else, like 30 seconds of jumping jacks or 10 squat hops or 20 crunches – whatever you decide the element of surprise will be, do it. Resume your workout and every time an alarm goes off you’ll stop immediately again to do the “surprise” exercise. If I’m doing a 30-minute workout I’ll typically set about 10 alarms to surprise me. This is a fun one to do when you’re really not motivated to do a traditional workout or when you really need to shake things up.
This post brought to you by Trainer Luke, who’s preferred way of kicking his client’s butt is by sitting on her anytime she does crunches, planks and pushups.
Can't we all just get along? Where wine, fitness, and child rearing come together.