October Fitness Challenges

It’s a brand new month and it’s also my Birthday Month (and Birthday Week!).  And just for that, I figured it was time to throw down another fitness challenge.
October is one of my favorite months….if not my favorite month.  The weather is basically perfect.  Not too warm, not too cool.  It’s a great time to get outside for activity: walk, run, hike, bike.  I run my boot camp classes outside through the entire summer – rain or shine.  And sometimes it can get so ungodly hot (thank goodness for shade and water!) that it’s almost unbearable.  But once October hits I am so happy to be outside for fitness.  And the smell and the colors of October are just compliments to the crisp air.
You have two Challenge options this month (and I would recommend popping outside to complete them):
  1. Spooktacular October (Guns, Buns, Abs)

october fit challenge calendar

2.  Awesome October (Arms and Abs)

october2These are great little workouts to get you moving all through the month.  You can do one or the other, or you can do both.  If you do both, make the rest days correspond with each other so that you’re not constantly exercising.

If you already have a fitness routine, throw one of these challenges into the mix.
Have fun!
~FB

Why Your Rest Days Are Important

Several years ago I wrote about my addiction to exercise .  I had been working out nearly every day for years, and avoided my rest days like the plague.  Although I’ve come a long way since then, I still often struggle with finding the time to take my rest days – between teaching boot camp classes, running, cycling, and my regular gym routine – finding down time to recoup really can be a difficult task.

I so often preach to my clients and friends, “TAKE YOUR REST DAYS!”  And I explain to them the repercussions of not doing so (and threaten them with a huge bill if they don’t listen).  (I’m working on heeding my own advice.)

WHY REST DAYS ARE IMPORTANT

REST

Taking a break from your workout routine is just as important as your workout because it’s an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle. Exercise, especially strength training, breaks down body tissues.  Rest days allow your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild.  Your rest days, and the way you handle them, can greatly affect your ability to build muscle and get stronger. For many lifters, the problem isn’t that you take an occasional rest day, but that you don’t take enough. And not using your time wisely in your training week can also hinder your progress.

I know all too well that it can be torturous taking down time from the gym. If you’re like me, a rest day can make you feel like you’re slacking off, or even guilty for taking said down time. Instead, we will train six or even seven days per week – hindering our progress.  But the proof is in the pudding – the most successful lifters and bodybuilders usually train (only) four or five times per week.  Those of us who train more than that will see our progress (if any) at a slower pace.  Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but most of us are not that fortunate (or genetically inclined) to reach those successes so sudden.

WEIGHT LIFT

I can attest that my seven-days-a-week training addiction caused more problems than it proved progress.  I suffered (and still do) from over-training syndrome and adrenal fatigue. My cortisol levels were/are elevated, causing weight gain, which I am still struggling to lose, and my sleep was severely disrupted.

We have to let go of the “all or nothing” mentality and the mindset that we “must work out every day”.  I know first-hand how difficult this can be.  Instead, we should consider our future progress and the way we look at our training program.  It we think “stimulation days” instead of training days and “growth days” instead of rest days, would we be more inclined to take those well-deserved and needed days off from our training?  Growth days are meant to be exactly that: growing more muscle and preparing your body to perform the next day.

When you take a rest (growth day), you build more muscle, your glycogen stores are replenished more easily, and allow the nervous system to get back to an optimal working state.  Not only will you grow faster, but you will also improve your performance on the day(s) you’re back in the gym.

If we consider this: Our bodies have limited resources – think of it like a bank.  If you spend all those resources (your money) on your workouts, instead of resting (saving), then eventually, your bank will be empty, meaning you won’t have enough available resources to fuel your workouts or allowing for adaptation and growth.  Allowing your body to rest will replinish the resources, allowing for faster muscle growth and improved performance.

During off days, your body is devoted to more of your resources for growth and repair. the nervous, immune, and hormonal systems are also back to a place of growth and performance.  A rested body (and mind) will perform at a higher level, which means more volume, making your time in the gym more effective.

Those growth days make you grow directly by allowing your body to recover. They make you grow indirectly by allowing greater stimulation on your body during your sessions.

In addition to taking your rest days, you also must consider such things as your nutrition during your rest days.  Many people will lower their macro or calorie intake.  Seems like a good idea, but it would be wrong.

Sure, it seems like the right idea to lower your intake of carbs, since you won’t be burning as much when not working out; therefore you do not require as much fuel*.  (*If your goal is to lose weight, then there is some truth to this.)  If your goal, however, is muscle-building, then your rest days should be spent trying to maximize growth and performance, and not just days where you aren’t doing anything.   Thinking back to the bank analogy, your rest days should be seen as an investment.

So, with respect to the value of your nutrition on your days off, don’t cut carbs and calories that will leave you with muscles that aren’t replenished with glycogen and not taking advantage of the anabolic properties of insulin.  Instead, be sure to consume plenty of good carbs and protein during those rest (growth) days.  Either keep your carbs and protein at the same level of intake as your work days, or even increase your intake slightly.

Optimize your growth days.  If you are training four or five days a week, then you will need two rest (growth) days.  But, to get the biggest bang for your buck, it is not ideal to take two rest days consecutively.  (This does not apply, of course, if you are suffering with an injury.) To optimize your training, your heaviest lifting days should be your third and fourth training days because your performance should be at its highest.  Your first training day can certainly be heavy, but you don’t want to be negatively fatigued on your second day (which should be your lightest).  Your training days should always be challenging.

Each training day you should perform at the highest possible level.  On your rest days you should be putting your body in the preparation to perform at the highest level.  This also goes for your nutrition, supplementation, and training.

Training should be triggering biochemical responses that will tell your body to adapt and grow.  Once that’s been triggered, doing more will simply deplete resources.  Your body should be better to adapt if you treat if properly, including allowing it to recover.  It would be counter-productive to have to take more, unplanned, rest days because it was under-recovered from a previous workout.

If you over-train and don’t allow yourself the proper recovery time, you’re setting yourself up literally for failure and the possibility of injury, over-training syndrome, etc.  In addition, you could spend more time in the gym trying to make up for “lost time”, which could all be avoided just by ensuring you take proper amounts of rest.  We must keep in mind that intense workouts definitely shouldn’t be a daily occurrence.

Your goal respecting your growth days should be to train hard and rest hard.

REST TO GROW

In the not-so-long run, rest makes you stronger!  Rest allows the muscles that you have broken down to heal and recover.  It is the rest that allows you to recover so you can be strong, and thereby handle the increased weight, and increased number of sets and reps needed to gain further.

Plan your week.  Plan your workouts and your rest (growth) days.  Consider your nutrition (and supplementation).  Be flexible, adjust your training, rest, nutrition, and even sleeping accordingly.  And most important, listen to your body (and respond accordingly).

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 27 – Combine My Workouts

Day 27 – Combine My Workouts

Today you’re challenge is to combine all the little exercises I’ve given you over the last 27 days:

1. Plank (30 – 60 seconds) x 3
2. Get some steps. It’s a gorgeous day so get out for a walk/run/hike
3. Do the Body Weight Workout from Day 14 (do it twice)
4. Do 50 Push-ups (x1 or x2)
5. Squat. Find the perfect song and squat til you drop. (Well, not really drop.)

You can always find a workout somewhere. #everydayistrainingday

~FB

Day 22 – Do My Abs Workout

Day 22 – Do My Abs Workout

We all have abdominal muscles.  Sometimes, we just need a little help “finding” them.  To help you get started with defining your abs, do my workout below:

30 Seconds High Knees / 30 Seconds Scissor Runs / 30 Seconds Crunches / 30 Seconds Bicycles / 30 Seconds High Plank / 30 Plank Jacks / 30 Seconds Leg Lifts (on your back) / 30 Seconds Leg Flutters / 30 Seconds Dead Bug >> Do this short workout (at least) twice. :0)

ab-workout-meme

Tip:

Don’t forget to train the rest of your body. The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolic rate, even while you’re at rest. Do two to three full-body strength training sessions each week, making sure to take a rest day in between.

You don’t need to rest your abs, however. Because they don’t fatigue as easily, it’s OK to train your abs every day; so aiming for three to five ab-training sessions weekly is just fine.

Cheers.

Day 16 – Make a commitment to Exercise (and stick with it).

Day 16 – Make a commitment to Exercise (and stick with it).

working out

I find that when I actually “commit” to something, my success rate is 100%. If I just say I’m going to do something, sometimes I allow myself to fail. When making a commitment, I follow through…I plan, I figure it out ahead of time so that I have success. So, I challenge you to make the commitment to exercise (start off with a commitment to exercise for even to work out and at what times. Will you go to the gym? Will you do a video or take a class or go running? Commit to it and follow through.

Day 14 – Do My Body Weight Workout

Day 14 – Do my Body Weight Workout

campers

30 seconds Jumping Jacks
30 seconds High Knees
30 seconds Squat Jumps
30 seconds Plank
30 seconds Crunch
30 seconds Burpees
30 seconds Leg Lifts
30 seconds Wall Sit

Do it once, or twice. Or as many times as you like.

I love body weight workouts (also known as calisthenics training).  In fact, most of my boot camps are body weight-based.  here’s why I love them:

1.It allows people to take the guess work out of using fancy equipment;

2. And saves money because you don’t need a gym membership;

3. You can do body weight training anywhere; in your living room, at the park, it doesn’t matter, as long as you have enough room to move;

4. It combines cardio and strength training;

5. It’s extremely efficient and it burns fat fast;

6. It’s great for any fitness level and at any fitness level it can be challenging;

7. It’s great for building balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength – both physically and mentally; and

8. There’s never any reason not to work out.

So go ahead…give it a try.

~FB

 

 

 

Day 12

Day 12 – Get Your Steps In

step count

It’s Saturday. Get outside and take a walk or a hike or a run. Hit the dance, floor with your friends, dance around your living room, do some yard work, go to the gym, roam around the mall. Just set yourself a goal and get moving.

Did you know that even just a few minutes of exercise can boost your mood?  So go ahead and make Saturday a great day!

~FB

12 Days of Fitness

See that Search button up there at the top right of the screen??  ^^

Search.png

If you type the word Christmas in that search bar, you will get my Christmas workouts and tips from years gone by.  There are a handful of articles that might be helpful in you succeeding the holidays without overindulging and keeping you in tip-top shape throughout December.

And since it is December and we’re getting closer and closer to Christmas (we’re about 18 days away), I thought it would be a perfect time to post another Christmas Fitness note.  This one is the 12 Days of Fitness.

12 Days of Fitness

And technically, we are a little further out than the 12 days of Christmas, but I know there are days that some of you absolutely won’t be able to fit in a workout.  Some of us are busy with work (and many shift workers can’t manage every day), or kids, or functions, or shopping, or whatever is happening in your life, so you get a few extra days in between to hopefully find time to take time for yourself and get your exercise on.

This workout is actually super easy so that 1. you can fit the time in or 2. you’re new to exercise.  The workout only calls for one exercise per day, as you can see from the picture.  However, it is an accumulator workout so you can also look at in several other ways:

  1. As just noted above, perform just the specified exercise per day; OR
  2. Each day add the next day’s exercise (this is the accumulation) so that you’re doing 1 exercise the first day, 2 exercises the second, 3 exercises the third day, etc. ; OR
  3. You can do every exercise each day.
  4. Or – if you want to go even further than #3, you can do each exercise for a full minute (or longer) each day.

The great thing about at-home workouts is that you can make it fit to your schedule.

If you’re anything like my and you like a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie (obsessed), you can try one of these fun Hallmark Christmas Movie Workouts.  They’re cute and, let’s face it, if you pay attention to these movies, you’ll get a good little workout.  Incorporate it into your evening binge with friends or your kids or partner.  (Bonus Burpees or squats if Candace Cameron Bure is in your movie or/commercial.)

Hallmark 1

Hallmark 2

The main thing to remember is to take time for yourself this holiday season.  Go into the new year feeling refreshed and shiny and bright.

Cheers!

~FB

Goal Reaching

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by a young woman for a small piece she was writing on inspiration and Goals.  I thought I’d share it with you.  

18 Again

1. During your life so far, what has been one of the biggest goals you’ve set that you were able to achieve?  I have always had issues with my weight…growing up as the chubby girl.  Overcoming a weight issue has been a goal since I was a child.

2. What did you have to do to accomplish that goal? I began working out regularly and eating better and making better choices in my life.

3. Where did you get your inspiration? I saw a photo of myself one day and did not recognize that it was me.  The girl in the photo was very overweight and I couldn’t believe it was me.  I inspired myself in that moment to fix my life.  I started an exercise program when I got home that evening and have not looked back.

4. Were there any obstacles that got in your way? If so, how did you handle that? What about people? Were there any people who discouraged you while reaching for your goal? I have a heart condition and was told when I was in my teens that I would have a pacemaker by the time I was 30.  I was worried at first about how vigorous exercise might harm me, but in all honesty, my heart is nice and healthy now that the extra weight is off.  I still struggle with it on occasion and it is genetic, but at least I don’t have to worry about jeopardizing my health myself.  As for people…there are always people who want to see you fail.  I still come across those people in my life.  But the worst was a “friend” who told me to stop losing weight because I “look sick”.  It’s funny how she never commented on my weight when I had an extra 60 pounds on me.

5. Did you ever think about giving up? If so, how did you overcome that feeling?  I never thought about giving up. I knew what I was doing was benefiting my life.

6. When you achieved your goal, how did it help you in life? Or what is life like now that you have accomplished your goal?  Once I reached my goal, I looked into how I could help others reach theirs.  I got certified as a personal trainer and as a nutrition and weight loss coach.  I now teach boot camps and other classes and coach people one-on-one.

~Cheers

PS (Thank you Lilly for this.  <3)

Push-Up Challenge Update (I Still Hate Them)

As you may know, this year I have been participating in a Push-Ups challenge.  For the entire year.

First, I committed to doing one hundred push-ups every day for the month of January.  Then I continued in February by committing to 50 push-ups every damn day for the rest of the year.

I hate push-ups.  I STILL hate push-ups.  But I’ve been doing them.  Consistently since January 1.

Pushups

And I was getting really good at them.  I was flipping them out without a hitch.

Then back in March I (somehow – not push-up related) injured my shoulder.  In fact, I injured it quite badly tearing the rotator cuff in two places.  And now, 6 months later, it’s still not any better.  I’m finally in physiotherapy for it.  I’ve seen a couple of doctors, had an x-ray (pointless, BTW), and was prescribed some medication.  None of it has helped.  I have another appointment with a doctor in a few weeks, but for now it’s just pain, pain, pain.

And ripping out those stupid push-ups was almost nil for a while.  But I found a way to do them that does not cause me pain (or a lot of swearing!) and for months, I have been practicing modified push-ups with a shoulder rotation.  Now I’m sort of back to the point where can use more body weight and do a few that way, but after about a dozen or two, I have to break or go back to a modification.

But, I will continue with my challenge of 50 push-ups each day until the end of the year.  And you should consider doing them too.

Here are 5 reasons (there are many more!)why you should being incorporating push-ups into your daily activity – even if you’re not exercising regularly:

  1. Builds Upper Body Strength: you can build upper body strength without having to use a ton of weights. Push-ups target the shoulders, pecs, and triceps which will develop a strong and defined upper body.
  2. Strengthens your core: most people don’t know that a strong core is key to a push-up. Ever wondered why your hips sag or hike during your push-ups? Your abdominal muscles are acting as stabilizers during the push-up just like they would in a plank.  Weak abs = poor push-up form.
  3. Increases energy quickly: Sure does! Popping off a few push-ups can immediately boost your energy, increase circulation, fire up the brain, and heat the body .
  4. Increases Bone Mass: Bone mass naturally declines with age, which can leave bones prone to fracture. It’s crucial to perform weight-bearing exercises to keep bones strong. Since pushups strengthen major muscle groups as well as the wrists and elbows, your risk of injury will be reduced because you‘re keeping these body parts strong.
  5. Weight loss: Since the push-up is a total body movement it will increase your heart rate quickly and, in turn, can/will/should/may result in burning more calories, promoting weight loss and overall improvement in your body composition.

~FB

January 2020
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.