Tag Archives: fitnessblender

A Regular Lois Lane

I know I mentioned that I’ve been writing a column for my organization’s e-newsletter, and it has given me a great sense of accomplishment since I started. After the first column, I received a couple of e-mails and personal responses that really boosted my confidence! My department resides in a building apart from the rest of the organization, so sometimes seclusion and involvement are problems for us. We’re the mysterious and faraway crew that obviously get paid to do something but no one is sure what that is.

One such response was this:

“Hi Melody,

Thanks for the encouraging tips and the benefit of your experience. I love it that you shared your talent!

 Susan”

My own supervisor came to me to congratulate me and tell me that she loved my tips. This month, I think I’ve mentioned before, I wanted to address the frightening popularity of low carb, no carb, and no fat diets as a method of losing weight. My column is below:

“On a day-to-day basis, we’re overwhelmed by magazine covers and news stories that tell us we should eat in a specific way. Some claim a low- or no-carb diet is key, while others claim a low-fat diet is paramount to losing weight. All of these headlines overcomplicate the concept of nourishing our bodies. While a low-carb diet, one of the biggest fad diets of all time, will yield short-term results, the realities of eating low-or no-carb are harsh. It’s recommended by nutrition specialists and professionals that 45-60% of our food intake comes from carbs. Why? We fuel our bodies with carbs! We need carbs to think clearly, to regenerate cells (glucose!), and to exercise. Carbohydrates are stored in our muscles as glycogen and used as energy when we get moving. Like carbs, fat is also important for our bodies. Some fats improve joint health and fight triglycerides (bad fat). What I’m getting at is a diet with a variety of nutrients and a balanced diet is most effective, so we have the energy to function as happy, healthy humans. There are always some exceptions; some doctors will suggest patients with insulin resistance or diabetes eat low-carb or cycle carbs to regulate blood sugar. Before excluding any of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, or fat) from your diet, do your research and talk with a doctor. After all, the most important changes that happen while losing weight are happening on the inside.”

My assertion is that losing weight and becoming healthier are not always the same thing. There are several ways to abuse our bodies, even when we think we’re doing the right thing. It’s important to improve our minds by becoming educated about food while also improving our bodies by nourishing them with food. Think! Meditate! Consider!

To happiness and healthiness!

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Low Impact Exercises for Upstairs Apartment Life

Living in the city without a gym membership can put a damper on your fitness plans, especially if your employer does not have a gym. Luckily, I’m able to divide my workouts into two every day; I do the cardio on my lunch at work and I handle the rest at home. I live in an upstairs apartment, and even though there is no one currently living below me, I’ve had to modify a lot of workout videos and routines to fit my lifestyle. I’ve also had to search for fun workouts with low impact but high burning power. 

My first go-to when I need a low impact exercise that I KNOW will get me sore is FitnessBlender. They have a big handful of low impact exercises with cardio that really do get you sweating. I especially love the kettlebell videos. I can’t say enough about kettlebell, but I’ll probably make a blog post about the benefits of kettlebell later! 

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Here is one of the most-viewed and liked low impact videos that Daniel and Kelli from FitnessBlender have put together:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcN37TxBE_s

They really know how to write an accessible routine for people of all fitness levels, and that is why I keep going back. They also emphasize the importance of form, not just for your safety, but for maximizing your calorie burn and muscle tone. 

Other days, when I feel like I want something I can tailor or repeat as many times as possible, I look up “bodyweight exercise circuit” on Google and find images with routines that other people have made up. 

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I have no idea who made that one, but I did it yesterday a couple times through and loved it! 

The advantage here is that you can look at the whole circuit up front, adjust exercises, add more weight, and repeat it as many times as you need to in order to get a better burn. I can’t tell you guys how many times I started a workout video to have my dreams crushed in the middle as I realized that jumping jacks were going to be recurring and I would have to replace those with jogging in place or knee highs. 

Yet another way to avoid rocking the boat in an upstairs apartment would be to try yoga. I know yoga is supposed to be relaxing and full of fluffy bunnies and rainbows, but that stuff is mega hard. It requires a lot of control. For this reason, yoga is a wonderful toning and stretching exercise. It also won’t have your downstairs neighbors beating a broomstick against the ceiling in protest. 

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Trust me, yoga is definitely enough to get you good and sore. There are plenty of free videos online, but I have done Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube before. I love her because she’s genuine and quirky. There are plenty of free yoga videos online, and I hear there are plenty of yoga podcasts as well. Check them out! 

One exercise that I haven’t yet tried but really want to try is to use a weighted hula hoop for cardio. I’ve been researching prices, reviews, and effectiveness on this one, and I’d really appreciate some feedback! 

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If you’re not willing to give up your plyometrics, there are at least some options for you to decrease your chances of disturbing your neighbors while you rip through those squat jacks. 

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There are plenty of designs, colors, and features on flooring such as this, but the idea is what I’m getting after. Many retailers offer flooring that snaps together and absorbs the impact from your workout. This keeps your neighbor from looking up at their shaking light fixtures in disgust and saves you from having to modify your routine. I definitely recommend this if you’re just completely unwilling to modify your routine, especially for those using INSANITY. Those plyometrics are fundamental! 

Do you have more ideas for decreasing impact in an upstairs apartment? Feel free to comment and tell me about it! 

Remember, modifying your routine is nothing to be ashamed of whether its due to your living circumstances, an injury, or your fitness levels. Just remember that getting up and doing anything at all is the first, best, and most important step there is to becoming healthier! 

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Happy Friday! 

Sweating your Ass Off: A Beginner’s Guide to Exercise

So, yesterday I told you guys about how people will often ask me what I do to lose weight. Part of the answer is, of course, exercising. They ask what the best ways are to burn fat, how to lose weight in their stomachs, how to build muscle, etc. There is one truth in my health and fitness career that I have found to be inescapable: you cannot lose weight in just one spot. You can lose weight all over and eventually that trouble spot will improve, but there is really no one exercise that is going to magically zap all of the pudge from my lower belly. It just doesn’t work that way. I do, however, hear that some body builders are skilled enough that they can lift and improve single muscles at a time. I’ve never seen it done, but I’ve heard about it. Now, if you’re reading all those magazines at the grocery store check-out line (you know, the ones always telling you that you’re not skinny, pretty, or sexy enough) they’ll be advertising many things.

“Be an animal in the sack and please your guy!”

“Eat this superfood to lose 100lbs!”

“Do this one exercise to lose belly fat!”

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While Julianne Hough is a beautiful woman, we know she didn’t get those abs in 3 minutes. She got them from her active dancing lifestyle. Let’s talk about how to work out and improve the health, endurance,stamina, and appearance of your entire body. Here are some of my favorite programs and people for just that purpose: 

1.) Jillian Michaels:

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I have tried 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30. This woman is a superstar of the weight loss world, and her videos are really great for people who have very little time but want a big burn and big results in a practical way. She always has a hard and easy version on the screen with two assistants behind her, and she knows how to direct you for proper form. If you don’t like the yapping, turn the video on mute and plug into Pandora. Jillian is a go-to gal for me. 

2.) FitnessBlender (Daniel and Kelli): 

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This married couple creates workouts, records themselves actually performing these workouts, and puts them on YouTube (FREE) for everyone to use! I seriously hit FitnessBlender’s page at least 3 times a week. They have everything you can every think of in any video length from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. They teach proper form, and you can see that they’re real people struggling right along with you. I have seen great results with them. In fact, from their YouTube channel, you can follow a link to their website where you can buy fitness/meal plans pretty cheaply that will most definitely achieve results if you stick to it. 

The New Rules of Lifting: 

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The New Rules of Lifting is a book, or series of books, which describes how to lower body fat, build muscle, and promote general healthy by lifting weights. I bought the copy pictured above, The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Inside are honest reflections from personal trainers, workout plans, and information on how much to eat, as well as what kind of foods to eat. WARNING: you can gain weight with this program and its tools because you are building muscle. Understand that you can lose fat, lose inches, and gain weight or remain the same weight. The best thing about following this book is that it made me feel strong! 

For those who can afford it, or for those whose gyms supply this service, I wholeheartedly recommend using a trainer. Not only will using a trainer keep you from getting bored or not knowing what kind of exercise to do, a trainer will keep you accountable and will push you to your limits. I know it’s not a possibility for everyone. 

There is one group of programs that I recommend, but not to everyone and not to beginners. 

INSANITY (BeachBody workouts in general): 

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Everyone has heard of INSANITY or P90X, along with many other BeachBody workouts. With INSANITY, I offer a small disclaimer. Please see a doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to do INSANITY. I first tried INSANITY at 216 lbs, and I was in such bad shape for these workouts that I had to take breaks quite often. I got grumpy, fatigued, and just plan worn out on this program. In order to complete INSANITY, you really should have a fitness base to build upon. This is not really for beginners. In order to see this plan work successfully, you must eat enough, eat right, and drink a TON of water. I also recommend first getting a heart rate monitor before beginning this program so that you can keep your heart rate in the correct zone or simply keep yourself from dropping onto the floor in cardiac arrest. For already fit people, this will really take you to the next level if you do it right. 

I will never, EVER tell anyone that there is a one size fits all exercise to make you into a supermodel. Every person is different. We all begin at different levels of fitness with various bad habits and bad attitudes. We all have pre-existing injuries that prevent us from doing certain types of exercises. We all have hangups. 

Do what works for you, and do something you can stand to do. No one is going to hand you a DVD that will solve all your life problems. 

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Get out there, and get sweaty!