Monthly Archives: November 2010

Plyometrics: Jump Into A Better Body

Plyometrics

Burn Serious Calories Fast

I never was involved in sports at the high school level.  I didn’t understand what it meant to train for anything.  When I finally wanted to get into working out, I had no idea where to begin.  I would get on the treadmill or the eliptical and would go for quite a while, but never saw any real results.  These days, I know what my body feels like when it’s actually doing work.  I can tell when I’m getting my heart rate up and my muscles are starting to burn slightly, that the exercises are actually doing something.  With Plyometrics, there will never be any doubt that your body is indeed working and changing for the better.

Plyometrics is also referred to as jump training.  It is a series of explosive movements, such as jump squats, which not only gets your heart rate up (and keeps it there) but also builds muscle.  These exercises are designed to improve endurance, strength and agility all at the same time. 

Plyometrics allows for some serious calorie burning as well.  I do the P90x plyometrics video and people have reported burning as many as 895 calories during that one hour video.  Granted calories burned will vary depending on each individual’s weight, age and current fitness level.  Still, it can’t be denied that you have the potential to get a great workout in a short amount of time.  According to Runner’s World, runners who included plyometrics into their workout schedule improved the amount of oxygen they use while running, as well as their overall stride, range of motion and fitness level in just 6 weeks.

Speaking from personal experience, I love this type of workout.  I hate spending time at the gym, only to feel like I didn’t do enough or that I wasted my time doing exercises that aren’t effective.  With Plyometrics, I never feel cheated out of my time.  I get done and I am sweating and exhausted and out of breath, but deep down I feel fantastic. 

Just be aware that you may need to adjust exercises if you have knee or joint problems because they are high impact.  That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily avoid them like the plague, just make adjustments to fit you needs.  And be sure to do the exercises properly and in good form to avoid injury.

Here is a sample Plyometrics workout video

For more info and workouts, check out the links below. 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/jumping-workout

http://www.self.com/fitness/workouts/2007/12/plyometric-jumping-slideshow#slide=1

Yoga Is Bringing Sexy Back

Vanity Fair - Planet Yoga

No This Is Not Me... Obviously!

Yoga has never been my kind of workout.  I guess I’m so used to being out of breath constantly and moving fast that the switch to yoga was hard to get used to.  Now that I’ve done it a few times through the P90x program, I’ve learned to love it.  I feel amazing, my body feels amazing and I can tell it’s working hard to hold those poses.

Now the other great part of yoga are the clothes.  Lets get real, the clothes make any woman look hot.  I love the yoga pants and the way my butt looks in them.  That said, I noticed that certain poses are more difficult even with yoga pants on.  Especially the tree pose because my foot slides on the fabric of the pants.  This was the case this morning, so I just ditched the pants and finished the workout in my boy short underwear… yes, underwear.  I actually enjoyed working out more while wearing less!  I think a part of it was just feeling sexier.  Obviously if you are going to perform yoga in your skibbies, I suggest you close the blinds.  You don’t want to attract peeping toms!

What you will attract is your boyfriend or husband.  Especially if they catch you working out in your cute undies.  My husband was doing the dishes at the time and peeked in while I was holding the bridge pose.  You could tell he appreciated my workouts a lot more.

Obviously, this may not be something you’d want to do every morning.  But on the days you’re feeling it, let yourself go and just enjoy the workout in a whole new way!

More Reasons to Break a Sweat

Fitness Magazines.com had a cool article on the benefits of exercising.  We all know it’s good for us, but it’s always motivating to read more reasons why you should be doing it! So here’s a few:

 

Immediate Mood Boost – your body produces endorphines, seratonin, dopamine and norepinepherine which leave you feeling energized and stress-free

Fight Off Sickness – everytime you workout your immune system gets stronger because your body sends out special proteins that protect from infections

Lower Blood Pressure – working out keeps your heart healthy and lowers your blood pressure for almost an entire day

Keeps You Focused – increases oxygen and blood to the brain

You Live Longer – adding only 30 minutes of cardio to your schedule 3 days a week can add 6 years to your life

And the more obvious is… Your gain lean muscle and are will stay (or become) more slim and fit

 

My main reason for working out is always just because I love the way it feels to have accomplished something challenging.  I try not to have my main reason be for losing weight, etc. because all in all I just want to be healthy.  I don’t pay attention to the scale, I pay attention to how my clothes fit and how I feel overall.  I notice that if I miss a workout or eat unhealthy foods, I feel like crap the rest of the day.  Even my husband notices the difference when I don’t get my workout in.

Plus, I like to remember that this is the only body you get.  The body works so hard every day, your heart, your lungs and just to keep you going day in and day out.  I feel it’s the least you can do to sort of take the stress off of it.  You have to be good to your body so it will be good to you in years ahead.

Anyways, I love finding more reasons to keep up the good work and staying motivated!  Just thought I’d send you all some motivation as well.

 

To read the whole article from Fitness Magazine click below.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/motivation/get-started/power-surge-the-hidden-benefits-of-exercise/

 

The Snooze Button Strikes Again!

Between school and working two jobs, the mornings are the only time I’m able to get my workout in.  Ah..but as soon as I hear the sound of my obnoxious alarm ringing in my ear, I immediate hit the dreaded snooze button.  Sometimes I’m not even conscious I’ve punched it.  I’ll eventually look at the clock and think, “Crap! I’m not even going to have time to do a push up now!” I can’t tell you how many times my snooze has ruined plans of getting up early. There are just some mornings that I can’t even find the energy to fall out of bed.  I’ve thought about working out in the evenings, but by the time I get home I’m exhausted.  Plus, I’m pretty sure working out before bed keeps you from getting a good night sleep (or at least it’s harder to fall asleep).

Anyways, I’ve been having the battle with my snooze for the past couple days now.  I’m normally pretty good about lighting a fire under my butt and getting out of bed, but this morning was especially difficult.  I had a midterm today and wanted to get time in to study for that as well.  I woke up, but later than I had intended, so I had the choice of either studying or working out… obviously school won that battle.  Tomorrow will be the day I get back into the swing of things.  I’m actually positioning my alarm clock across the room, so I’ll have to get up anyways to turn it off and won’t be hitting it in my sleep.  I might even set it a few minutes fast, so I trick myself into thinking it’s later than it actually is.

I feel ridiculous having to even do all that, but I guess whatever it takes!  Like I said, I think I’ve just had so much going on between work and school that my motivation to get up early has left.  And maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that I’ve gotten some sleep the past couple days.  My body probably needed a break and I guess it’s good to listen to your body.  I just can’t let that snooze button sabotage all my morning plans!

No…You Will Not Turn Into Arnold Schwartzenegger

There are so many misconceptions about weight training. Many women stay as far away from dumbbells for fear of developing a body builder physique. Truth is, it takes a lot of hard work and training to become a body builder. I have never heard of anyone who accidentally gained that kind of muscle. Professional weight lifters are actually dedicating their life to getting that body. That’s not going to happen unless that’s what your intending to create.

That said, there are TONS of benefits to pumping iron a couple days a week. First off, you’ll maintain your lean muscle mass which tends to decrease with age. You’ll look toned all over. Your clothes will fit better. Your bones and joints will be stronger. You’ll gain strength and have the ability to push yourself harder.

I love weight training so much! I never used to do anything with weights, or if I did I didn’t use them properly so I never saw results. Now that I incorporate them into my workouts; my arms are super toned, my back is strong (thanks pushups!), and I actually can see my ab muscles.

I highly recommend doing some form of weights a couple days a week along with cardio. You’ll feel strong and look great!

Helpful Hints
Make sure you rest your muscles by not working the same muscle groups ever day. Ex: Doing arms and back one day and legs and chest the next.

Make sure you aren’t lifting too heavy or too light of weight. For women, doing lighter weight with higher reps (12-15 reps 2x) seems to work great. Still, if you are getting to your last rep and it feels too easy, it probably is. Just increase the weight slightly so that your muscles are getting the most from the exercise.

Also, enjoy a glass of chocolate milk post-workout! Makes for a great recovery drink.

Additional Info

http://www.womenfitness.net/programs/strength/exercises.htm

Sample workouts for women (may require you to sign up for username)

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-training/HQ01627/NSECTIONGROUP=2

Mayo clinic explains health benefits

Fast Food = Fail?

MacDonalds sign in Times Square, New York
Image via Wikipedia

My husband and I travel a lot.  Between school, appointments and getting together with family, we have quite a few long drives every couple weeks.  This makes any diet more difficult and it’s hard to avoid stopping at the “golden arches” every now and then.  I guess I’m one of those people who haven’t discovered a way to avoid fast food completely.  Still, I think I’ve dissected the menus enough to know what won’t take a millions squats to get off my thighs. 

I’ve found the best things to go for are grilled chicken breast sandwiches, plain hamburgers and skipping the soda and fries (get iced tea or just water instead).  Also, I’m not a fan of mayo anyways so it’s not hard for me to go without.  But it’s also a good idea not to load up on it, you’ll save a lot of calories and probably won’t miss it much. 

When in doubt, Subway is a good bet for fast food.  As long as you stay away from the meatball sub and once again, don’t load up on mayo. 

The hardest place to find healthy options is KFC. How do you find a healthy morsel in a place known for its fried food?  Thankfully, they’ve made it a bit easier by giving us the grilled option.  KFC’s grilled chicken is much better for you than the fried (obviously).  If you do end up with a bucket of fried, greasy chicken TAKE THE SKIN OFF.  It will save you tons of calories, trust me. 

Taco Bell has a low-calorie menu (black bean taco’s and such) which helps make a healthy choice there is well.  The portions are as large as what you might get with a taco salad, but it’s absolutely more diet friendly. Taco salads are a calorie trap, not a salad.

So keep this in mind if you’re busy and just don’t have time to get a good home cooked meal.  You don’t have to sabotage your diet to eat on the go.  Just don’t make it a part of your regular diet.

So does this mean I have to skip the turkey?!

Many people find healthy eating during the holidays to be the pits. Everyone around is shoving piles of mashed potatoes in their oversized mouths while you are left stabbing at the last piece of salad on your plate.

This holiday I am not going to be so hard on myself. Yes, I will still be mindful of my eating, but I will not feel guilty if I indulge in a small serving of green bean casserole. Why? Because I feel diets that don’t allow for a little leeway don’t last! It is unrealistic to try to ban any and all turkey dinners from now until eternity. Instead of completely nixing pumpkin pie, I will permit myself a small portion and then remember to work out harder the next day.