Push-up Challenge

PushupsHappy 1st day of August! To celebrate the start of a brand new month, I’m challenging you all to the 20 Push-ups a Day Challenge. It’s pretty simple – you commit to doing 20 push-ups a day for the next month. Easy peasy. You can do any variation, so modified push-ups are fine. Comment below “I’m in” or inbox me to let me know the challenge has been accepted – and away we go!!

Why Push-Ups? 

Push-ups are one of the basic and most common exercises for the human body.  They are great for your chest, and help defining your abs, triceps, shoulders, and torso.  They are an incredible exercise for overall strength improvement.

Push-ups can be performed no matter where you are and don’t require any equipment or gym. The benefits of push-ups are plentiful.  They will improve muscular endurance within the upper body, strengthen both muscles and bones, create lean muscle mass that raises your metabolism and, of course, help keep you fit and healthy. 

~FB

Start

Happy Monday Morning!!

Today is the start of a brand new day…and week.  So why not make the decision that today will be the day you change your life.

Bad Workout

Deciding to start a fitness program or healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to commit to running a marathon or hitting the gym every day or signing up for an intense boot camp class (though, you’re more than welcome to come to mine!).  You can start your brand new life by going for small walk around your block or adding in the Commercial Break Workout to your TV watching routine or even, since it’s summer, going for a swim.

Just do something.

I promise you that if you started adding a little fitness (and healthier eating) into your life your body will thank you.  And soon enough, your body will crave it.  Chances are you will feel more energized and happy and excited…and proud.

So, Happy Monday!  Make today the day you change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Fit

Living an active lifestyle is, as you know, important for heart health, keeping us trim, and able, and young.  But, it’s also important for our pets to keep active as well.

dog gym

I am the first to admit that I have a big, fat cat.  My boy is an inside house cat, and therefore he is definitely not as active as he should be by nature.  Therefore, I do my best to have exercise time with him.  This includes playing hide-and-seek (he loves to pounce on me) and also taking him outside on his leash during the Spring, Summer, and Fall (in Nova Scotia winters the poor guy would disappear in the snow!).

Winston Outside

*sigh* Sometimes he strolls, sometimes he sits there and glares at me. #attitude

In addition to my cat, I am also Auntie to a friend’s dog (remember Dora from my last post?).  Dora and I have been hiking and walking quite a bit since the Spring and her dog, Layla, now associates me with walk time.

Three Amigos

The Three Amigos: Dora, Layla, and me on one of our evening strolls

It’s actually really sweet.  Whenever I step onto the threshold of Dora’s house, Layla goes crazy, jumping around, scattering around the house, and jumping as high as she can to give me kisses before we head out.

Hike dog

Sweet Layla

Dora and I make as many dates as we can through the week to get together to walk Layla. We have a great time, and in addition to Layla getting some workout time in, Dora and I get to improve our fitness as well.  Layla also gets walks in the morning before Dora heads to work.

Besides walking the dog, Dora is certain to include Layla in her other fitness adventures.  As I mentioned, they go hiking, and swimming, and running on the beach.

Beach Dogs

Layla and a friend on the beach

There are so many ways to incorporate your pets into your fitness regime.  And this doesn’t just go for dogs.  If you have a cat, and depending on its personality, you can take your cat hiking, walking, and sometimes even swimming.

My Aunt Donna can attest to this.  If you recall, Donna did a guest post for me last year. Donna had her second spinal surgery just a few weeks ago.  After her first spinal surgery several years ago when she was living in Vancouver, she got herself a new kitten, Ms. Coco Chanel.  Coco was and is very much a therapy cat.  When Donna returned home from the hospital post-surgery, to ensure she would get up and out, instead of remaining sedentary, she started taking Coco for walks.

Little Coco

Little Coco

These walks have become a way of life for both Donna and for Coco.  Coco loves her strolls and her hikes and they keep both her and Donna active.  Even when Donna is having a high-pain day, she turns to Coco to ensure they both get out for their stroll.  Coco has climbed trees and hiked trails and strolled beaches.

Blue Coco

Blue 2

Coco loves nature and she always stops to smell the roses Lady Slippers

There are many other things to do with your pets to keep them active:  throw balls or a Frisbee, use a laser light or other toy, chase them (Layla loves this!), you can even invest in pet fitness equipment.  My boyfriend’s father takes the dogs for at least one swim a day during the summer.  And the dogs love him for it.

There are so many ways to keep your pets active and doing so can help improve their health, longevity, agility, and overall life.  So, the next time you’re heading out for a hike, why not leash up your buddy and take him with you.  Or include him in the family swim.

And, in the meantime, check out PuppySpot. They’re a community of dog lovers who place healthy puppies into happy homes. They were kind enough to provide this awesome infographic for you all.

puppyspot_fido_fitness_x2_v02

~FB

Triumph

Personal Triumph

Many of my days are spent thinking about my workouts.  My next workout.  Sometimes I am so darn excited I can’t get it out of my head.  I’ll spend my entire work day anticipating getting to the gym.  And I love my job, so it’s not like I’m watching the clock for the day to end so I can get the heck outta there, I just really, really can’t wait to get to my happy place.

Let me clear, the gym is not my only happy place, but it sure does change my mood!

How I feel about the gym these days is a lot different than how I felt years ago when I wrote about my addiction to exercise.  Back then, though it was just a couple of years ago, it was an addiction.  I was obsessed with when I was going to exercise next and was working out several times a day, every day.  Now, I’m just excited about my fitness goals and the tasks in front of me and how I feel after I’ve completed the workout.  I’m not dissing my workout goals when I was addicted because I had great goals and I thoroughly enjoyed my workouts.  I think my biggest problem then was that it was controlling me and almost every move I made.  (Cue The Police’s Every Breath You Take.)

These days when I plan a routine for the gym – or even for one of my classes – I’m taking my fitness to new levels.  I’m taking on tasks that I never thought I’d be doing – or interested in.  And when I’m finished, when my time is finally up and I’m ready to leave, I am usually quite pleased with how my time was spent and with what I accomplished.

No regrets

~Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

20 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life!

20 Minutes

I’ve said this many times before.  I’ve said it over and over again and I will continue to say it over and over again.  Why?  Because I believe it.  In fact, before I began my fitness journey, someone in my life kept saying that to me.  I thought he was just being an asshole and telling me I was fat (let’s face it, y’all, I was fat!), but eventually I listened to those words and I went from there.

As I mentioned in my last post, when I first started exercising, I couldn’t make it 20 minutes.  I could barely make it 3 minutes without wanting to kill myself (or feel like I was already dying).  My goal was to make it to 20 minutes.

When I finally did make it to the 20 minute mark I was ecstatic.  And for a long time that’s where I remained.  Just at the 20 minute mark.  Eventually, I did move up and sometimes I would (and still do) work out for hours on end.  But, there are times when time is limited and 20 (or 30) minutes is all you have.  You can sit around watching TV or creeping Facebook, OR you can get up and take advantage of that little bit of time and do something that will improve your mood, your energy level, your health, and your life.

Change Your Life

This past Saturday I was pressed for time and wasn’t able to get to the gym or a class but I desperately wanted to work out.  Technically, it was supposed to be my day off, but it was rainy and gross out and I was feeling lethargic and lazy and like I needed to do something. Initially, I was supposed to do the warm up for the Relay for Life but because of the raining weather, the warm up got cancelled.  Yet, I was craving a workout.  I didn’t want to overdo it because rest days are extremely important and, I admit, I don’t always take advantage of them, but I really wanted to get in a little cardio and a little strength.  And I did.

I got my game plan ready and I had myself a sweat-inducing, heart-racing 21 minute workout right there in my boyfriend’s living room.  And it felt great.  I felt great.  I accomplished a lot in a little bit of time and carried on with the rest of my day.

So, if that’s all it takes (at the very least, to start), why not set aside 20 minutes of your day and get moving in the direction to change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

Begin (Confessions)

I saw this post in my Facebook feed this today and knew I had to write something about it.

Beginner

…Because this is truth.

We all have to start somewhere.  We are all beginners.  We will not know our full abilities until we try.

When I first began my fitness journey I could not do a full three minutes on my elliptical.  In fact, I found it so hard that I gave up.  I was winded and sweaty (I still sweat like I’m burning in Hell) and, frankly, I was embarrassed that a mere three minutes of cardio nearly killed me and I gave up!

I had bought that elliptical on a whim of trying wanting to be healthy (read: skinny) and I failed.  And, apparently, at that time I was okay with failure.  But then one day, that one particular day, I made a decision and my life changed – forever and for the best.  I swear to God, that elliptical saved my life.  I saw this with all seriousness and certainty.  I was on a path that was destroying me.  My self-esteem was shot, my mental health was in the toilet, and I was overweight to a degree that I should never have let happen.

And I jumped on my elliptical and had my first real workout.

And, although I swore I would never publicly show this photo – I realized, “well shoot!  This was me!  This is what I looked like!”  So, here goes:

Side by side

Left: Before / Right: After 

Yep!  The pic on the left with the scratched out face and the really, really badly blonde hair is me.

And you know what’s sad?  I I don’t even recognize that person on the left and I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to treat my body that way. After A Lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline, the pic on the right reflects closer to where I am today. But each day I grow in my fitness. I’m so much stronger and adventurous in my exercising. And I look forward to challenging myself daily.

Once I started exercising regularly and eating healthier, I started feeling better on the inside too.  I know not everyone gets this or agrees. But this is 100% true for me. Exercise helped bring me out of a 10 year depression. It helped with my self-esteem and confidence.  There are days when I still struggle with these but overall, I’ve become a different person.  (Give it a chance….you might be shocked to find that exercise can help you too.)

Mood changer

When I look back to those years ago and hopping on my elliptical and failing miserably at my first attempt of working out, I almost feel glad,  Because I was doing it for the wrong reason.  As I said above, I wanted to start exercising to get thin, not to have a better life.  And it wasn’t until I decided to change my life that my life changed.  That’s when I really began.

So, don’t be afraid to begin.  Even if it means you’re starting over or beginning again.  It’s when you’re really ready that you will make the effort.  As you know, my mantra for years has been “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight.” (Thank you Shaun T!)  Again, #Truth!

So, don’t be afraid.  Go ahead and begin.  And if you have to, begin again.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burnout

burnout0A while back I wrote a piece on my over-training syndrome and addiction to exercise and how it attributed to weight gain and other health issues (including adrenal fatigue).  Once I realized had confirmation that my glutenous exercising was taking a toll on my health, I pulled back the reigns somewhat and began to let go of my addiction.  Although still maintaining a fairly strict exercise regime, I let go of the idea that I absolutely needed to work out every single day and became more lax.  And I think cardio was killing me.

This past year, as you may have read, I have changed up my fitness goals and have been concentrating on strength training and lifting, spending most of my gym time in the weight room and venturing into territory that, though I have always maintained some strength training, has been on the up-and-up with me.  Power lifting and such has become somewhat of a (new) passion and I’m really excited about it and look forward to the days I can get to the gym.  Which, of late, seems to be more and more frequently.  With classes at least three times per week, I have been making efforts to hit the gym the other 3 to 4 days each week.  The other day someone referred to me as a “gym Nazi”.

On top of classes and gym time, the last few months I’ve gotten more and more into hiking – mostly on weekends or sometimes on the off-days from working out.  And I have been walking every day on my lunch break for the full hour, and several days before work for anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes.

This week, I had some pretty insane workouts – including lifting the highest amount of weight I’d ever lifted (impressing even myself), and Thursday I totally overdid it.  Like, completely.  I did two major walks – 40 minutes before work and an hour at lunch and in the evening I did my regular Thursday night gym routine, spending nearly two and a half hours in the gym, and ending the evening with a Zumba class.  (Thursday is my favorite night of the week!)

Lift Exhaustion

Although during my exercised-fueled endorphin rush I felt awesome and energetic and like I could take on the world, by late Thursday evening I was zonked and actually nodded off on my couch.  I never fall asleep on my couch.

Friday morning I awoke with not a lick of energy.  I was literally physically exhausted and drained.  The entire day I felt like I got hit by a truck.  A big-ass truck!  I was barely functioning at work and felt like no amount of caffeine would be able to help me.  I was relieved when the work day ended.

Out of Order

This is how I felt Friday…keep knocking…there’s no one home.

However, I am a moron determined and decided that I still wanted to ensure I got another workout in, since it was cold and raining on Friday and I barely got a walk in (short one in the morning and shorter one in the afternoon – resulting in very wet pant-legs) and I headed to the gym once again.  It’s really all I could think about Friday and I really was happy to get there.  I spent way too long there Friday night working out (about an hour and 40 minutes), lifting and finishing with a little cardio.  I felt like I could conquer the world and could keep going but, sometimes I have to say “enough’s enough”.

Although I ventured back to the gym yesterday for what turned out to be a great workout with a buddy, I felt like I didn’t or couldn’t put all I had into my workout.  And although I slept wayyyy too long Friday night into Saturday, I was still very tired and needed to push myself.

I made the decision to definitely take today off.  Even though I was invited to participate in a fun-run for Apple Blossom festivities, I was happy when the invitee texted to say that she was declining as well.  Thank goodness.

I have spent most of today and last night recovering from last week and I am determined  to not let myself get to that point again.  The point of physical exhaustion and burnout.  I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced exercise burnout before.  It’s definitely different than the over-training syndrome and adrenal fatigue I experienced a few years ago.  I’ve also decided this week to opt out of any FitBit challenges that I’ve been invited to as I feel like I’ve been too competitive lately and that has been fueling me a little more than it should.  I am not Monica Geller.

And, let’s face it, I know better.  I wasn’t trying to get to this point on purpose.  Exhaustion is NOT a status symbol.  I know the effects of over-training and risks exhaustion can pose. Up until the end of this past week I wasn’t feeling the effects of my workouts.  And perhaps this is a one time occurrence, but I will be more careful as I go into a new week.  I will not attempt more than I can handle.  My body is my temple and as such, I shall treat it like one and show it more respect.

~FB

30 Day Ab Challenge – Redux

I’ve been getting some requests to re-post the 30 Day Ab Challenge from a few years back. That particular post was and has been one of the most-searched posts.  It seems to be pretty popular – especially around this time of year (aka upcoming beach season).

This is a fun little exercise that you commit to participating in over 30 days.  You can do the challenge on its own, or as a complement to your current workout routine.  If you’re already accustomed to working your abdominal muscles, then double (or triple) each day’s challenge.  Push yourself – you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.

Here’s the Challenge (you can view the original post here):

ab-challenge

Have fun!

~FB

Fitness Favorites

I was recently asked what my absolute must-haves are when it comes to working out – what items I can absolutely not live without when it comes to exercising.

WATER

Water

This girl needs to stay hydrated.  I usually go through a couple of bottles of water when I’m at the gym.  I’m constantly guzzling because I’m sweating so much (it’s super hot at my gym) and I’m always trying to quench my thirst and dry mouth.  I try not to drink too much at once to avoid stomach aches, but when I’m at the gym I’m usually there for a while and going all out and water is definitely a game changer.

COOL AIR

Fan

via Daily Mail

I cannot stand being hot when I am exercising.  I find that if I am overheating I am not crushing my workouts and just feel gross.  I tend to run hot when I exercise, so I like to ensure that I am being cooled down efficiently.  So, in addition to replenishing my water intake, I also like to ensure that I can keep cool – either with multiple fans, open windows, or air conditioning.  If I’m at the gym then I usually hog the oscillating fan(s) and also make sure the overhead fans are so (I’m nagging for air conditioning).  If I’m working out at home I usually have the windows open or the AC on (if it’s summertime).  And if I’m teaching a class I take advantage of what’s available (inside = fans or AC / outside = shade and hopefully a slight breeze).

MUSIC

iPod

I 100% need my iPod when I’m working out, especially if I’m running.  The right song can keep me going.  (My song of choice for my run lately has been Anyway You Want It by Journey.)  When I ran my first 10k a few years ago I ran along to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen on repeat.  It kept my perfect pace.  If I’m strength training I will put on a random play list and let the iPod work its magic.

HAIR GEAR

hair ties

This includes hair ties, headbands, hats, and bobby pins.  I have naturally curly hair and a whole heckuva lot of it and it is constantly in my face.  It is my second biggest peeve when I’m working out – right behind being hot.  I can’t stand little fly-away hairs in my face so I try to make sure I have what’s necessary to keeping my Wookie-do out of my eyes.

FITBIT

FitBit

I totally had buyer’s remorse when I first purchased my FitBit, but now I am addicted to it.  I love being able to track my steps, my distances, and my heart rate when I’m working out.  I picked up the HR Charge specifically to keep track of my heart rate. Since I have a heart condition, I figured it would be interesting to track the pattern and BPM and anything else that would correlate.  I also love the step challenges – within a group or simply on my own.  I am very aware of how active I am throughout each day and honestly make more of an effort to get up and move – especially if I have been sedentary for too long.

APPs

Aaptiv

I’m really not an app-y person when it comes to my exercise routine.  I’m fairly rogue that way.  I’ve downloaded apps in the past and rarely utilized them.  But one great new app I’ve reviewed is Aaptiv.  Aaptiv is an on-demand audio fitness app that combines the guidance of a trainer with the perfect playlist.  If you are considering a fitness app as part of your routine, you should definitely check out Aaptiv.

Aside from proper footwear and a good sports bra, that about does it for my list of workout must-haves.  What are some of your favorites?

~FB

Muscle Building – Biceps & Triceps (Guest Post)

 

Muscle Building: Bicep Arm Exercises 
(OR: Muscle Building Exercise for Bicep Arm Muscles)
The logic of working on smaller groups of muscles like biceps after the group of larger muscles like shoulders, back, and triceps is taught by the workout experts since long the masses have been building their bodies.
It ca be sensible teach if without working on your large muscles you have ever worked on your arm muscles.  Such intensive workouts can pump up your arms if you train them exclusively.
Bicep – Tricep Arm Symmetry
Through the development of bices, triceps are equally important to minimize injuries and
optimize performance even if they are opposite muscle groups.  Still fitness enthusiasts and
bodybuilders usually focus on developing biceps more than triceps.  The reason behind this differentiation is that being on the front and centre of the arm, biceps are more viewed than triceps. But the development of triceps can also not be ignored as their weakness can cause problems for shoulders and arms.  So while doing exercises you will have to maintain a balance between bicep arm exercises and triceps exercises. You can emphasise slightly more on biceps than triceps.
Use of good form, alternate use of workout order, concentrating on feeling the work of
the muscles are some of the points to be focused upon while performing bicep arm
exercises for few days and then doing triceps exercises.  You can also avoid doing chest, back, leg and shoulder exercises before and after doing bicep workouts. You should select suitable weights for each exercise so that you can use them in all the reps without fail. You should also take a break for 1-2 minutes between two sets of exercises.
Make sure to have your bicep – triceps symmetry (this article will only focus on
some of the intensive biceps arm).
Bicep Arm Exercises
1. Barbell curl:
While using the EZ-bar for these exercises you should ensure to squeeze the bar to
your optimum power to activate every fibre of your muscles all-through the sets.
Lower the weight after each repetition instead of allowing them to fall.
Barbell
You should use your entire potential to perform the next rep after once lowering the
weight. You can leave the barbell after completing 8 repetitions.
2. Dumbbell Curl:
This exercise will be performed by each arm one-by-one to focus on the biceps of
individual arm. This training schedule will help in providing you a balanced
appearance along with preventing the imbalance in the strength of both the arms.
barbell2
While lowering the dumbbells you should take your time as you will have to move
your body eccentric.
3. Biceps Cable Hammer Curl:
In order to providing constant tension to the muscles you are working, you may not
spare any fibre of your muscles. You should not allow your elbows to come forward
or flare out while starting to lift the cable hammer.
Bands
The upper-arms should be kept confined where they are. The ends of the rope should
be separated after curling the rope fully and take a pause before performing for the
second time.  You can reduce the weight after completing these sets at least for minimum of two times.
4. Incline Inner-Biceps Curl:
Your biceps are actually two heads with different points of attachment. The
longer head is attached over the joint of your shoulder to keep your upper arm
in proper position as compared to your body while doing curl exercises for biceps.
Press
During this exercise your bone forming joint at the elbow and shoulder will get behind
your body while providing maximum stretch to the longer head. The longer head of
the biceps will be stretched more if your bench is more horizontal.
5. Squat Concentration Curl:
While working on energy hungry larger muscles of your lower body, this exercise will
hit your biceps to reveal chiselled arms by helping in burning your calories. You can
use a pair of not so heavy dumbbells while standing with your feet apart to shoulder
width.
Kettle
Now, squat by pushing your hips back so that your thighs become parallel to the floor.
You should press your elbows against your inner thighs while keeping your bodyweight on your heels and your palms should face each other. Now lower the weight for 30-60 seconds and curl.
Conclusion
These bicep arm exercises can help you in building your bicep muscles more effectively. If you have weaker arms, then you should do some harder and more intensive bicep and triceps exercises twice a week to instigate new growth in them.
References:
Images: stock from Bigstockphoto.com
1. ID: 178380595
2. ID: 153169523
3. ID: 118992017
4. ID: 149286740
5. ID: 167393702
Bio:

Douglass2

Douglass Hameldon

CEO/Editor in Chief of FitnessPurity®.

Hi, I’m Doug. My job is to help people reach their fitness goals with easy-to-follow guides, and to overcome any obstacles along the way. Visit my site for more information.

http://www.fitnesspurity.com