Workout Wednesday

It’s been a while since I closed down my i-Heart Fitness blog and said I would just share my health and fitness thoughts here every now and then, as well as on Skinny Mom, but I really don’t think I’ve done too much of that here! So, for lack of a better style post, I’m going to do a little fitness update.
On my Thirty Before 30 list update yesterday, one of the items mentioned was my goal to drop 15 lbs, 10 of which I’ve successfully shed since first making the list. I wanted to share with you what my workout weeks have been looking like as of late…and how it’s been helping me achieve my goals.
Ever since starting my job working at my gym three days a week as the opener {4:30am – 8am}, I’ve been even better than ever before about getting my gym workouts in. After all, it’s getting to the gym that is half the battle. Since I have to be there, I make sure to make use of it.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, there are barre classes when I get off, so I always make sure to take those. And let me tell you – they are killer. Even my husband has mentioned noticing a tighter tush and thighs on me. If you’ve never taken a barre class, I suggest you try one. I started taking them at Barre Evolution last summer with a Groupon and I fell in love with it. I think it feeds the dancer in me in a way. I also love that the ladies in the class are practically the same each time…we’re a bunch of barre-flies, and I’ve started making friendships with some…it’s great to find others with the same hobbies as you.

On Fridays when my gym shift ends, I take the morning Spin class. I have found this to be great in combination with the barre classes.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, since I’m not working at the gym, I am in charge of taking the boys to daycare and school. Lucky for me, my gym is right across the street from Tanner’s school, so as long as I’m disciplined enough to put on my workout wear before I leave the house, I head to the gym at about 7:45am those days after drop-off and do some strength-training. One day is spent on lower body, the other on upper and I usually do the elliptical or treadmill both days for my cardio.

Saturdays are usually reserved for a good long run if I can manage to have Jake available to watch the boys. If not, I hit the gym in the morning for some strength training {lower body} or barre class. {This Saturday, I have the Cooper River Bridge 10K!}

So yes, I realize that is 6 days of working out per week, but I have a true love for fitness and I always aim for 5-6 workout days per week.. I love this new schedule because I’m really mixing things up and seeing results little by little. The 2-3 barre classes per week are making a huge difference. {I tell you, TRY IT!}

So today is Wednesday and I am at the gym right now {working} and I’ve got my barre class coming up in a couple of hours. It feels like severe punishment for my glutes, but always so worth it when it’s over. Can’t wait! Hoping I’ll be looking like this soon {haha}:

What about you? Is fitness important for you? What are your go-to workout routines?

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Easy Protein Banana Pancakes

This weekend I tried my hand at my own recipe for some protein banana pancakes. They were actually super-easy to make, only a very few ingredients and the kids gobbled them up too!

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 eggs
1-1/2 scoops vanilla whey protein
1 banana
1/4 cup water (or less for desired thickness)

Heat skillet at med to med-high setting. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and wisk until smooth. Bananas may leave some lumps, but that’s OK. Spray skillet with cooking pray {I always use olive oil cooking spray…repeat this between each pancake}. Pour 1/4 batter per pancake (this recipe yields 4 pancakes; adjust as needed). Let cook until bubbly and then flip.

Serve with a drizzle of sugar-free syrup.

Each pancake is approximately 90 calories and packed with approximately 12g protein – not too shabby!

These are actually great to make a batch ahead of time and refrigerate them in single-serve baggies so you can grab-and-go as needed throughout the week. 

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*Note – original graphics-free image was from this similar recipe.

New Year’s Health & Fitness Resolutions – Check In!

I posted yesterday on my other blog, Style Oyster, about where I am so far with my New Year’s resolutions. I posted my health and fitness resolutions here earlier this month, so I thought I’d do the same with those. Please don’t judge because I have a feeling I’m not doing so well…but if this is how I can hold myself accountable, so be it. 
To refresh, here’s the resolutions:
  1. Well, I think it’s safe to say I haven’t completely accomplished this, but I am definitely down 3-4 lbs from when I first posted these, so progress IS being made, people! Woot!
  2. I am not doing so well with this. I did forgo the January half marathon due to falling so behind late December with my surgery and all. I am still trying to work out a good schedule to get all of my runs in, so I can be ready for March. I really want to do this!
  3. I have been doing well with this!
  4. I’m kind of halfway on this one…was doing well…this week, not so well…but I plan on getting back on track with a menu plan, stat!
  5. I’ve been doing pretty well with this one.
  6. I haven’t started yet, but I do have my Groupon for some barre classes and will start next week.
  7. Yeah, need to work on this.
  8. Have not done this.
  9. Would like to do this, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.
  10. Didn’t do this once this month. I blame the cold, don’t you? {Though it did hit about 80 degrees one week this month, so I really have no excuse.}
  11. This is still the plan – ongoing goal.
  12. Gotta start this.
  13. Need to implement this in our daily routine.
  14. I haven’t done it 5x a week, but a lot more than I was…and working on it.

So did you have some health and fitness resolutions this year? How are you doing?

New Year’s {Health & Fitness} Resolutions

Yesterday I talked about what it takes to make a good, solid New Year’s resolution/goal. Hopefully you’ve had some time now to think about your resolutions for this year and have created a good plan for sticking to them. Here are my health and fitness resolutions for the New Year. {You can see my other New Year’s resolutions here.}
Best of luck to you in obtaining your health and fitness goals this year! I hope you’ll continue to read along and share the triumphs and challenges in fitness with me. Happy New Year!

The Anatomy of a Solid Resolution

Year after year, so many people kick off the New Year with great goals and great intentions. They write them down and call them their New Year’s resolutions.

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But often is the case, those resolutions are thrown to the wayside by usually no later than the end of February.

Why is this? We hit the ground running, full steam ahead…and then old habits start to creep in and get the best of us. Old habits do die hard, you know. How can you stop this from happening to you? Well, there’s really no wrong or right answer to that one because in the end, that all depends on you. But here are some tips I have for making resolutions that you can see through…

1. Know WHY. – Don’t just make a vague resolution, i.e. “lose weight”, “stop eating fast food”, etc. Your why should be important to you. It should even draw out an emotion – guilt, sadness, even anger. Here are some examples:

  • I want to lose weight so I can look better in my clothes
  • I want to get in shape to be a good example for my kids.
  • I want to lose weight to regain my self-confidence.

2. Be SPECIFIC. – If you are making a goal, you need to know what the goal actually is. How much weight do you want to lose – 5, 10, 15? Do you want to get down to a certain dress size? Do you want to run your first 5K or 10K – do you have a specific race in mind? Also put deadlines on these specific goals. But the key is to be realistic, i.e. it’s best only to expect to lose 1-2 lbs per week. Anything more than that is not maintainable, nor is it healthy for the body.

3. Create a PLAN. – Find a specific workout program {if you are working out at home}. Jot down a workout routine for the gym each week {usually switching between main muscle groups each day}/ Will you sign up for classes? Will you run outdoors? Also find out your optimal time to workout and stick to it…write it in the planner and make it as important as any other date you would have. Also plan out your meals…before you grocery shop.

4. Track your PROGRESS. – I am a big journal junkie. I think it’s because I love to write things out so I can see them before me…but I do think it helps to have a frame of reference when you are analyzing your goals and how far you’ve come…or whether you’re doing enough to stay on track with that goal. A fitness journal keeps you accountable for your exercise each day and a food journal is a great tool to use to go back to if you didn’t lose the weight you wanted…it’s easy to see where small changes can be made.

5. WRITE down your goals. – And keep them where you can see them. A bathroom or dresser mirror is a perfect location.

6. SHARE your goals with family and friends. – Ask for their support on your journey. Maybe someone will want to buddy up with you. Nonetheless, letting people know your plans is a great way to be held accountable. Even if they weren’t holding me accountable, I’d certainly mentally believe they were and that would be enough to keep me on track. We as humans tend not to like to fail publicly, much less at all.

OK, now get to writing those resolutions. I will be back here with my list {just the fitness-oriented ones} tomorrow.

My Gym Routine: Back

Welcome back to my little mini-series, My Gym Routine!
Today, I am letting you in on my favorite back exercises.
Here is the schedule of posts for your reference:
Mon 11.26.12 – Back
Mon 12.3.12 – Chest
Mon 12.10.12 – Triceps
Mon 12.17.12 – Abs
I find the back is often neglected in many people’s exercise routines. It is a very important area because your back controls your ability to do most anything. Think about someone who breaks their back – they’re not going to be walking, are they? Your back is also closely related to your core, the main muscles that keep your body in balance. A weak back can lead to some very unfortunate injuries. Keep yours strong by focusing on it a few times a week, with moves such as these:
Back Extensions
Back extensions are great for the lower back as well as your abs! Build a strong lower back and you will notice a flatter tummy. I typically grab a weight plate anywhere up to 20 lbs and hold it with my arms crossed across my chest, but if you’re a beginner to working your back, simply putting your hands behind your head {shown} will keep you from doing too much too soon. For this exercise, I ai to do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Bent-Over Row
Grab a barbell {I use about 30 lbs}, hold with your palms facing outward and pull to your chest, then slowly release back down to starting position. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.
Lat Pulldown
Using a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, grab a pulldown bar. Keep your back straight and sit up tall. Exhale as you pull the bar down to the top of your chest. Slowly rise back to starting position. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps with a weight that has you to failure by the 15th rep of each set.

The Vitamins You Should Be Taking

Many of us aren’t getting the nutrients and vitamins our bodies need simply from the foods we eat. Whether we are on the go too often to stop and replenish as often as we should, or whether we have some days where we don’t make the healthiest of choices when it comes to what we put in our bodies.
Here are some vitamins and supplements you should be taking…and WHY.
Fish Oil
Fish oil taken daily has been shown to decrease triglycerides (the type of fat that is stored in the body), help keep skin clear and healthy, lower blood pressure, increase joint health and even decrease depression due to its positive effects on serotonin levels. In studies, it has even shown helpful with behavioral problems in children vs. using medications such as Ritalin.
Biotin
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Biotin, the common name for vitamin B7, helps your body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats. It also helps your body process glucose, in turn, making your body able to take food and turn it into energy more quickly, resulting in a higher metabolism. Biotin helps build strong tissues in your muscles, enabling you to gain more muscle, lift more weight and thus burn more fat. It also builds strong tissues in the nervous system. Additionally, Biotin has many effects on your exterior, as it promotes healthy and longer hair and nails, and brighter, healthier skin. Take at least 1,000 mcg per day.
Multivitamin
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Last, but certainly not least, you should take a multivitamin daily. Packed with vitamins and minerals such as niacin, zinc, calcium and magnesium, these pills are essential to your body’s overall health. Multivitamins help prevent heart disease, colon cancer and breast cancer. Remember you only need a multivitiamin that carries 100% daily value of the 12 essential vitamins and minerals, i.e. zinc, B, C, E, etc. Any more than that will not do you any better. I have also heard that it is better to take 1/2 the pill in the AM and the other half in the PM for better absorption.
Now, if you’re like me, sometimes swallowing a large pill can make you gag. I can do it, but it’s not my favorite thing to do. I have found for me, taking my vitamins and supplements at night helps, as for some reason, first thing in the morning, the idea of swallowing some large pills makes me queasy. Also, if you are able, breaking them up into smaller pieces might help. Since I take mine at night, I keep them on my nightstand next to my large glass of water so I don’t forget to take them. After all these years, I have found that to be what works best for me to ensure I am consistent in taking them. FInd what works for you, and stick to it.