Why Do We Burpee?

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Burpees seem to be everywhere these days. They are talked about on almost every fitness blog out there, and most people either love them or hate them. Or love to hate them!

So why are they so popular? Because they do it all!

Burpees are an intense, full-body exercise. With every rep broken down, these are the muscles you will utilize:

squats: quads, glutes, hamstrings
plank: trapezius, rhomboids, and abs
push-ups: pecs, triceps, deltoids
jump: core (abs / erector muscles), glutes, calves

And those are just the major muscles. You’re still working all sorts of secondary muscles, like your hip flexors, biceps, shoulder/rotator cuff, and many more. That’s a lot of muscles!

Doing 5 minutes of burpees will burn roughly 50 calories. This is the same as jogging a 10-minute mile pace for 5 minutes. But jogging doesn’t work all those muscle groups. Leaving you with a seemingly one-dimensional calorie burn, that stops when you stop jogging. But because burpees are high-speed and explosive, and because they utilize all those muscles, they produce that coveted after-burn effect that continues to burn calories at a higher rate, even when you are at rest. This will help you burn more body fat, increase your metabolism and get you conditioned like no other exercise can do. Think lean, toned muscles and awesome endurance! This single exercise can be a great way to get in shape quickly, whether your goal is to learn a new sport, train for a triathlon, hike a big mountain, or just to look good.

The best thing about burpees? They require absolutely no equipment. Which makes it extremely easy to add them to any workout you are doing.

Start with 10 burpees. See how you feel. Are you really winded? Rest for a minute and do 10 more.

Need to modify the jump back into a plank at first? No problem. Come down into the squat, and instead of jumping back, just step back your feet one at a time into the plank position. After your push-up, just step each foot back into the squat position and jump up.

After a few sets of burpees, your legs should feel like lead weights and your lungs should be on fire. But in a good way!

Yes! I did say good!

Now go do some burpees!

Strawberry Kefir Smoothie

In search of a smoothie to wake you up and keep you energized until lunchtime?

Here’s a really yummy one, that my kids and I like to make. And it’s great after a workout too!

 

Don’t know what Kefir is? It’s a tart cultured milk that has 100’s of healthy bacteria that are good for your digestive system. It contains tons of calcium and is a good source of B vitamins and protein. It also contains phosphorus, which is the second most abundant mineral in our body. This is really important because phosphorus is needed to help our bodies use carbohydrates and proteins for cell growth and energy! It’s a very healthy drink!

 

Monday, Monday!

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“It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good”

- Nina Simone ‘Feeling Good’

How do you like your Mondays? Do you dread them coming back around, and wish them away once they get here? Do you grumble over your 5th cup of coffee about how much you hate Mondays? Or do you embrace them with a smile on your face? Do you greet the day and look forward to all the potential it holds?

I like the song lyrics above for a couple of reasons. I wake up each day choosing to be happy. Sure, maybe I’m tired, and I’d really love to stay in bed, but it’s a new day! A day I can mold to fit my goals for my life. And it’s the start of a brand new week! A week that can be productive and full of accomplishments! Those lyrics really help drive it home that each day is new and you make it what it is. Monday is no different than Thursday. It’s a day full of potential!

I start my Mondays with a smile and some exercise. It sets my attitude for the rest of the week and gets me started on the right path for my health and fitness all week long.

How do you start your Mondays?

Make your Monday AMAZING and you’ll set yourself up for an awesome week ahead of you! Smile!

Yikes! The Food Holidays are Here!

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We are entering the 3 month stretch at the end of the year where all the holidays are centered around FOOD! And usually not very healthy foods either.

This is where things can get tough. IF you don’t have a PLAN!

First of all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying some sweets and treats on occasion and because the next 3 big holidays are about a month apart, that helps with the most important factor in staying healthy and on track through the holidays : MODERATION.

I know all the stores started selling Christmas and Halloween candy in mid July, but you don’t have to eat it for months and months. I encourage you to avoid those aisles at the store until at least the week before the holiday, if not the day before, and then only buy the treats if you absolutely need to.

I live in a neighborhood where there are only a few children, so I don’t feel too bad turning my light out on Halloween, and not handing out candy. But if you feel like handing something out, look for non-candy solutions. One of my daughter’s favorite things when she was little were the cheap spider rings. She would dump out her candy bag and pull all the rings out and put them on all her fingers. She loved them for days after. Much more fun than a piece of candy or 15 that would give her a tummy ache. We would then take all the candy and right from the start decide how many pieces she could keep. The rest we would donate to the local dentist, who usually sent the candy to the troops overseas. That got the candy out of the house, but the kids still enjoyed a few treats. But in moderation, not every day for the next few weeks.

That’s the key. Enjoy it for the day or maybe 2, but then remove the temptation from your home and get back to a healthy eating lifestyle. If we have the candy and treats hanging around, we will eat them! Willpower can only get you so far when the candy is staring you in the face. So get rid of it! Don’t feel guilty about throwing it away either. Think about all the benefits as you dump it in the trash. No temptation, no increase in your sugar cravings, consistency with you goals, better teeth!

If you want a healthier food alternative to hand out to the neighborhood kids, try mini bags of microwave popcorn. My family loves these because they get their own bag and don’t have to share. You can also use a sharpie to draw ghost faces on individual string cheese and mandarin orange or applesauce cups.

Throwing a Halloween Party? Do it Healthy and in Style! Click below for some more fun and healthy Halloween ideas.

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Make it something you CRAVE!

 

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I feel like I’ve turned a corner! A really big one! Everyone thinks personal trainers are addicted to exercise, and work out all freaking day! Yah? Not me! I have struggled as much as the next guy (or gal) with energy, desire, and every dumb excuse in the book.

Until a few weeks ago!!

It was amazing!

I have been dealing with a little extra stress in my life for a few weeks now, and that usually makes me a cranky mess, craving everything sweet and 5000 calories. But I’ve also been eating much more strictly for the last month and tracking my food every day. Oh and I have friends who see what I track. Ugh, how do you eat that 5000 calorie cupcake 3 times a day when the world is watching?

YOU CAN’T!!

Ok, enough freaking out and back to my story. I’ve been pretty good with my nutrition lately but recently, I have also upped my exercise, and in the past, I would definitely have some days when I would have to force myself to workout. Not all of them, but just those few when I wake up tired or am just feeling blah. Especially when I’m stressed. Excuses would ensue, and junk food would be present!

A few Saturdays ago, I had a kind of stressful and frustrating morning. I went for a nice walk at the beach with my hubby, and figured that would be that, stress relief via the ocean. It wasn’t enough. I was just keyed up and had this strong urge to run. This was a new feeling for me. That intense desire to go push my body to the limit, and drip sweat while doing it, is not my usual. I work out and I work hard when I do, but it’s work. I love it and I enjoy it in the moment but I’ve never craved it.

I went for my run, and it was awesome! I ran a little faster and a little farther than normal. And my stress level went way down. It was great!

I woke up the next morning with the intention of working out with my daughter, right before my first client. We had a good 30 minute workout and then I trained my client. After I was done, I had that strong desire to run again! Craziness!

So I went for a run and loved it! My time wasn’t as good, and I didn’t run as far, but I still felt good.

And I’ve kept at it.

I feel like a million bucks! I’m so excited that I am feeling that craving, that desire. It is nice not have to fight myself to exercise, but instead to have my body and mind willing me to go do it!

A month ago, I started a plan to increase my fitness level and shed a few pounds along the way. I made the commitment to myself to workout regularly and often and with intensity. I think the reason I am finally feeling a craving to move is everything I’m doing is working. I’m feeling healthy. My body is injury free. And I have accountability. There are quite a few people who are seeing what I’m doing every day and that has been a huge motivator. I have found my reason, and I have found my motivation. And I have found a much more productive way to conquer stress!

If you are dealing with stress and need some stress relief that doesn’t include bingeing on sugar and potato chips, get out and move. Do some exercise. Then do some more, and find some accountability. I track my nutrition and my exercise with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. And I have friends on there too. Use it and get some friends using it, and if you want, send me your username and I’ll be your friend on there too! Accountability and consistent effort can turn your workouts from work, into an awesome and calorie-free new craving!

Just Start

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Some of you may have heard me say I’m not great at running. I never really have been. I ran hurdles in middles school briefly until I hit one with my foot and badly sprained my ankle. I was done!

Ever since then I’ve started and stopped running a half-dozen times. The real problem: I want to love running. I actually do love running. But my body doesn’t necessarily agree. My lungs feel like they are going to burn up after like 5 feet! Just kidding. I can go a little farther than that without wanting to quit. But not too much.

A few years ago I was challenged to run 3 miles in under 30 minutes. 10 minute miles. Ok! that doesn’t sound horribly difficult. After all, people run half-marathons and marathons, and usually average less than 10 minutes a mile. Surely I could do 3. So I made a plan to run with a friend and fellow trainer. We found the best place to run, by the beach. She and I ran, and she talked to me the whole way. I didn’t talk back because of all the wheezing of course. In the end we finished our 3 miles in 31 minutes. So almost but not quite. I was bummed, but also pretty glad I had actually accomplished the 3 miles.

Fast forward to now. I picked up my running again a few months ago after a long 6 month recovery from a broken tailbone. Of course I was back to being out of running shape. So I decided I was going to approach my running differently this time.

I’ve done interval running before and I really like it because it allows me to go further each time, but also really helps my lungs and body adjust to running more quickly. I’ve also done sprint intervals too, but never have I combined them in a full program with the purpose of increasing my lung capacity and running speed.  Until now!

This is the program I created. My first goal is to be able to run 3.5 miles without resting and walking. That’s how far the nearest Barnes and Nobles is. And my reward will be Starbucks :)

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Each week I will increase the Total Time by 5 minutes and every 2 weeks I’ll increase the run/walk intervals by 30 seconds. Eventually I will decrease the rest periods of both the run/walk and sprint/walk intervals. I plan to continue this until I can run steady for the full 3.5 miles easily. Then who knows, maybe 5 miles? That’s just crazytalk!!

 

 

It’s a Green Kind of Day

 

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Have you ever had a Green Smoothie? They are all the rage right now. nearly every fitness magazine will have a few recipes, and most of the fitness blogs are singing their praises!

What makes them so special? For starters it’s the greens. How often do you actually eat green foods? Probably not as often as you should. I know I didn’t before adding Green Smoothies to my day. But they have a crazy amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help our bodies function optimally. So that’s probably pretty important right?

Spinach packs a punch (ha-ha – Popeye, right?)! It’s an excellent source of vitamins K and A, folic acid, dietary fiber and protein. It’s also a very good source of vitamins C and E, most of the B vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus and manganese. It’s also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants. One cup of raw spinach is about seven calories. That’s a ton of wonderful nutrition for so few calories!

But if the idea of a green smoothie still makes your eye twitch, try this recipe. Its creamy and smooth, sweet and tangy, and just plain yummy! You wont taste the spinach and kids will even enjoy it. Mine requests green smoothies for breakfast all the time!

Greens Please smoothie recipe

I use a Nutribullet blender for all my smoothies. If you want an inexpensive blender that does an amazing job of essentially pulverizing your greens and fruits, this is the best one I’ve found.

Enjoy your smoothie!

Motivation

Fitness motivation

What exactly is motivation? I would define it loosely as the desire to do the things you want to do or know you should do, and doing them on a consistent basis.

Desire. I think that’s the key. It all starts with desire. You have to want it! What do you want?

Me? I want to lose some excess fat, get in better cardiovascular shape and no longer be so prone to injury. I also want to be a more successful Personal Trainer.

“I have the desire. I have desire coming out my ears. But how do I get from the desire to the actual doing?” That’s what your thinking right? I totally get it. I struggle with my motivation plenty. I definitely don’t always do the things I should do, or even want to do, on a regular basis. I get in a slump and don’t exercise as often as I should, I don’t do all the housework that needs to be done, just the bare minimum. I don’t do the things I should do to grow my business. You aren’t alone! I promise!

That’s why I’m setting new goals for myself to get me where I want to be and finding my motivation along the way.

Here are some tips to help you find your motivation

  • Set a Goal – I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before, but it really makes a huge difference in getting you from Unmotivated Point A to Rockin’ It Point B. But don’t just set any old goal, make it super specific to you. How does it feel? How does it look? Even how does it smell (smells like sweat to me!)? If your goal is to run a mile, how will you look while you’re doing it? Picture yourself wearing the workout clothes you like the most, think about the music you’ll play and picture your headphones and iPod. How are you feeling while your running? Happy, cause you’re gonna get it done? Out of breath, but satisfied with your progress? Smiling inside and out? Smell the grass or the dirt or the pavement. Wherever you run, think about the environment and what you can relate to accomplishing your goal. I know some people suggest hanging a picture of someone else looking like or doing whatever your goal is.  I don’t particularly like that. Visualizing yourself doing those things and adding your other senses into your visualization can be so much more effective and powerful.
  • Think about your WHY – Why do you want to accomplish the goal you’ve just set? Is it for you or someone else? If it’s for you, YAY! If it’s for someone else but it only involves you doing the work, maybe you need to rethink your goal. Do you want to lose weight because someone else thinks you need to? Unless you are all in, and doing it for yourself, you will either not reach your goal, or if you do reach it, you wont be able to hang on to it for very long. It’s really hard to be fully invested in doing something like changing your fitness and nutrition habits, if it’s not completely coming from within yourself. I’m not saying that having a friend or significant other, helping you, and rooting you on, is bad. On the contrary, it is so awesome to have a cheering section! But if they are your main reason and focus in determining your goals, that’s definitely not the way to do it. You have to look at what is important to YOU. If someone says you should be 20 pounds lighter, but you feel healthy and more comfortable with 10, by all means stick to your guns. It is so much more important to be healthy inside and out, physically and emotionally, than hitting a number on a scale because someone else thinks you should.
  • Now that we’ve set an overall goal, let’s dig into it. What can you do each day to get you closer? Each week? Go ahead and write those things down somewhere you can see them regularly. But keep it to less than 4 things to start. Make too many changes right off the bat and its a recipe for disaster. You can always add a few more changes, in a few weeks, or a month or a few months down the road. But only add something after you’ve managed your daily and weekly goals, successfully, for a good period of time. Now do those small things. Every day, every week. Slow and steady, not fast and flashy!
  • RESET – Be prepared to face obstacles. They happen. All the time! You can’t let them stop you, or throw you off your game every time. So take a few minutes and really think about how important your goal is to you. Is it worth moving past the stumble you had last night with the extra cocktails? Absolutely!! Don’t give up each time you slip and stumble. You haven’t fallen, you haven’t failed, you just need to reset. Even if it’s every day. Sometimes I have to remind myself every day why I make my bed. I know it seems silly, but without putting actual thought into it, each morning, and remembering how much I love looking at a made bed and how great it feels each night to not have to drag the covers up again before climbing into bed, the bed just doesn’t get made. Motivations lag, it happens to the best of us. But what you choose to do when that happens is what really matters. Get back up, and move right back to your goals!
  • Check-in Time – Don’t think that because you’ve set your overall goals, and your smaller daily and weekly goals, and have done them for a couple of weeks, that it’s all smooth sailing from now on! You need to continually revisit your larger goal. Remind yourself what you’re working hard towards, and tweak anything that isn’t working so you can continue being successful. Don’t lose sight of your WHY. Your own internal driving force needs to be renewed occasionally. This is key to motivation!

What are your goals? Share them with me! I’d love to be a part of your Cheering Section!

 

 

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