Tag Archives | beginner fitness

Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Whether you’re a student heading back to school or not, you can take inspiration from the back-to-school trends and pick out some great new glasses for Fall – 7 Geek-Chic Specs That Will Put You Ahead of the Curve.

Need some hippie in your life? Check out these fabulous and stylish ways to style this perfect boho chic piece for Fall 2012 – Street Style: Dsquared2 Gilet Vest.

Getting ready to give up your Summer duds for new Fall 2012 pieces? See what Style.com has to say about what you’ll be living in this Fall and Winter – Fall 2012 Shopping Guide.

04_326_20120725_Refinery20_SeanAvery_Mindy_Best

This is a really great editorial with some fabulous pictures, showing you boys that you should step it up like hockey player Sean Avery on the fashion and design front – Refinery 29’s Inside Sean Avery’s Slick Soho Loft (And Super-Luxe Wardrobe).

If you’ve been a fan of Garance Dore as long as I have, you were thrilled to hear about her exciting collaboration with Kate Spade. Finally the details are out and Racked has the goods – Garance Dore Gets Sketchy for Kate Spade.

Health & Fitness:

Get inspired by plus-sized model & healthy body image advocate Danika Brysha’s MONDivation – Beating the Odds.

Sometimes there are allergens that will affect your body even when you’re following a healthy lifestyle – Health-Food Ingredients You Might Want to Skip.

Interested in tightening up specific parts of your body with your workouts? Check out Shape Magazine’s Top 10 NEW Exercises for Thighs or Prevention’s Arm Exercises: 3 At-Home Workouts to Tone Arms for some inspiration.

If you’re interested in your personal health you’ve  probably heard the phrase “healthy fats” but if you’re still interested in learning more or in getting some additional background on why these are necessary this is the article for you: Healthy Fat – Why You Need To Eat It!

Both my parents and my brother have recently transitioned to a primarily paleo diet and needed some tips on how to get started and what they needed to stock their pantry and fridge with – 10 Healthy Items On The Paleo Diet Shopping List.

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Health & Your Relationship

When I read Rachel Wilkerson’s How CrossFit Has Helped My Relationship it got me thinking.

A lot.

Rachel said that by encouraging her boyfriend to take up a healthy hobby – in this instance CrossFit – their relationship ultimately benefited despite the fact that in the end it actually meant less alone time. I have no trouble at all believing this. In my experience, if there’s a substantial disconnect between how much two people value health & nutrition in their lives it can potentially lead to problems down the road.

I don’t believe that you need have all the same views, do the same workouts, or approach food the same way. But if only one person takes their health seriously and devotes time, energy, and effort to maintaining said health, the other individual may become resentful, jealous, threatened etc. Or things can go the other way around and as one person becomes healthier and more fit they begin to pity, worry about, and/or neglect their partner.

Take a look at this piece by the Primal Parent entitled When Good Health Destroys a Marriage. It’s written from the perspective of a woman who changed her diet and was feeling her best, while her husband was… Not. Ultimately their marriage couldn’t survive because she has a strong, well-tested belief in the importance of good health & nutrition, and refused to settle for someone who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – put forth the effort to investigate improving his own health.

Kyle

{Kyle & Rochelle – The authors of Eat Drink Paleo}

If you can find someone who shares your views, that’s fantastic – like my friend Kyle & his lady-love who write the oh-so-entertaining Eat. Drink. Paleo – Two foodies who fell in love and are now transitioning to a paleo lifestyle. But at a minimum you need to show an interest in the other’s routines and goals, and be able to talk about and share your successes and failures.

Take my relationship for example, on the surface my boyfriend and I have virtually opposite views on all facets of fitness and nutrition:

  • He eats an incredibly regimented high protein, low carb diet composed primarily of chicken, eggs, and vegetables which he tracks on a daily basis. I eat a mostly vegan, gluten-free, high raw diet.
  • He does intermittent fasting – meaning that he doesn’t eat until early afternoon & only eats three meals a day. While I eat at least every two hours after my 4am wakeup time.
  • He follows a lifting schedule & does CrossFit-style workouts that leave him wheezing, covered in bruises, scrapes, and rope burns, and stress his nervous system for days. I run, do circuit workouts & go to Pilates, martial arts & boxing classes.
  • His ultimate goal with his work outs and eating regime is to retain & increase strength while dropping body fat. I’m only interested in being healthy and not having daily back pain.

Pretty different, right? But the truth is that those are fairly superficial differences – underneath it all we’re both incredibly passionate about health and fitness, and that’s what really matters.

We love going for walks & hikes, cooking, eating, going to the farmer’s market, and planning our meals and workouts for the week, and most of all, we love debating our positions on these topics. If you looked through our emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and text logs you’d find photos of our meals, new recipes to try, books to add to our Amazon basket, articles to read, great blogs we’ve found, documentaries & movies to add to our Netflix queue, and questions about what we’ve eaten, what workouts we’ve done, and how far we’ve walked that day.

Every day.

{Hers vs His}

It doesn’t matter that we’re not spending our days doing the same things, what matters is that we both approach our lives with a profound respect for our bodies, what we put them through, and how we fuel them. Yes, we debate topics like veganism versus paleo eating, different types of fat, which oils to use in cooking, fasting, detox programs & cleanses, and strength training. Yes, sometimes I question his sanity when he comes home with his hands shredded from doing hundreds of pull-ups or muscle-ups or toes-to-bars. But mostly, we just talk about it.

Our shared passion for health and nutrition was not what brought us together 12 years ago, nor is it what has kept up together, but it does give us something to talk about and share every single day. And because it’s important to us both, we appreciate the other’s routines and ambitions, even though they’re different.

Like Rachel said:

One more lovely side effect of the fitness revival: Eric and I are back to bonding through nerdy, fitness-related conversations. (We’re also bonding over our sore muscles.) I’m really enjoying little things like talking about our workouts and progress, discussing an article about diet or exercise, trying new healthy foods together, or going shoe shopping for new athletic shoes.

You don’t need to be 100% in sync with your partner, you just need to be with someone who has the same appreciation and respect for health and fitness as you do. Added bonus if it becomes something that you can share and bond over!

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How to Survive a CrossFit Meet

This past weekend was the 2012 LaLanne Fitness Garage Games Kickoff. An all-day CrossFit event Saturday at LaLanne Fitness in San Francisco and the first big competition of the season for my boyfriend and his teammates from American River CrossFit in Sacramento.

 

After last year’s introduction to the joys of CrossFit competitions – the Fittest of the Sierra’s in South Lake Tahoe was the 1st big competition I attended – I wanted to share my advice & lifesaving tips on how best to survive one of these high intensity, rowdy, crowded events.

(1) What To Bring:

  • Bring food – Lots of it. These kids can EAT, so pack unprocessed, lean meats, cheeses & nuts for snacking between workouts.
  • A close second on the must have list is booze. You’ll need it and so will they. Trust me. These are work hard, play hard types and blowing off steam immediately after a brutal competition is a MUST.
  • Water! I can promise you that a giant water bottle will come in handy. This weekend all three competitors ended up using my Nalgene which had to be refilled every 5 minutes.
  • Camera – The biggest issues that I’ve had photo-wise is that the athletes are moving so quickly that in some cases the pictures are blurry or the camera doesn’t reset quickly enough to capture the next shot. As much as I love my Canon, this season I invested in a little HD video camera that also takes stills. Success!

 

(2) What To Expect:

  • Lots of people – These are busy, crowded events and in addition to lots of competitors, you’ll be surrounded by members of the hosting team and tons of spectators. Expect to be bumped or asked to move to accommodate events.
  • No place to sit – In some cases events will be outdoors and you’ll have bleachers to sit on, but primarily the events are indoors and you’ll  be standing pressed against a wall, craning to see over the heads of the other spectators.
  • A fast-paced environment – With large numbers of competitors and a handful of workouts to get through, the organizers may  be rushing to get through the events. Some workouts can be “blink and you miss them” short so keep an eye on your competitor to make sure that you see everything. 
  • LOUD and offensively bad music. This weekend was bad. R&B bad. 

(3) What To Do Afterwards:

  • Plan to go out – You’d think everyone would be beyond exhausted after a day full of crazy workouts, but my experience has been that the adrenaline is still pumping and they have a few more hours of energy left in them.
  • Head straight to a restaurant, trust me when I say they’ll be ready for a big meal. And if they’re paleo-people I’d pick a restaurant in advance to make sure that the menu is acceptable.
  • Make sure that the restaurant you’re going to has a bar. Your competitors will definitely want a drink. Or two. Or three.

I can’t recommend checking out one of these events enough – they’re exciting and fun to watch, never a dull moment.

P.S. Ladies, in case you need some more incentive, the shirts come off about a fourth of the way through. I’m just saying.

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Gym Goddess – Part IV

Welcome to the next installment of the How to Become a Gym Goddess series (if you’d like to catch up, here are Week 1, Week 2 & Week 3).

Week IV ended up being particularly busy so it was the perfect example of how to squeeze workouts in whenever and wherever you can. Whether you’re trying to get in shape, working on changes in your life to make yourself healthier or trying to maintain your existing fitness regime, you need to make a committment to your health. You need to prioritize yourself – your body, your health, your sanity – over other things in your life. I’m not saying that you should miss deadlines to log a little gym time, but you need to make an effort to put yourself first. There will always be something that comes up, a work assignment, a dentist appointment, an illness in the family… But you’re better equipped to handle what life throws at you if you’re healthy & well nourished.

Note: Check with a doctor before you begin a new fitness routine.

 

Day 1:

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate speed on stationary

3 Rounds

  • Plank arm raises – lift each arm 10 times
  • Bench step ups – 10 each leg, knee up
  • Back lunge w/ medicine ball twist – step back into a lunge & twist holding a weighted medicine ball out w/ straight arms, twist to each side 10 times

15 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

Day 2: Medicine ball workout! Grab a 4, 6 or 8 pound ball and let’s go! This is inspired by the workouts featured in the November Women’s Health – Body By Anna (in the magazine only) & Get Fit in Only 15 Minutes. And if you’d like a little more motivation check out model Julie Henderson w/ fitness guru David Kirsch using medicine balls over at Modelinia. Even models aren’t perfect!

10 minute cardio warm up

3 Rounds:

  • 20 Wall sits w/ rotation
  • 20 High-Low chop
  • 20 squats w/ overhead ball raise
  • 20 Russian twists
  • 20 bicycles

10 minute cardio warm down

Day 3: A quickie inspired by The Fitnessista. Even if your schedule is as crazy as Liz’s has been there’s no excuse for slacking off, in the long run you’ll be glad you took a few minutes for yourself.

  • 5 minutes cardio of choice
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds of high knees
  • 30 seconds of plie squats (plie low, jump & bring legs together and arms straight up)
  • 30 seconds mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds push ups
  • 30 seconds burpees

Day 4: HIIT

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

Results: This fourth week was really a testament to Liz’s dedication, with work and family issues popping up all almost daily she put forth a lot of effort to make sure that her workouts came together. Once you get into a routine and start to reap the benefits of regular exercise, it’s a great motivator to keep things going. So don’t let yourself get led off course by your busy life – if you make the time, you’ll see the results.

Joining a fitness program or hiring a trainer can be a great way to go if you’re interested in changing your fitness regime and aren’t quite sure where to start. Finding the right program or trainer is important though, not all gyms and trainers are created equal. Check out these suggestions from some of the experts for how to find the perfect fit: PrecisionNutrition, FitSugar, The Fitnessista and The Huffington Post. Also, when to break up with your personal trainer, something else you should definitely keep in mind if you decide to go for one-on-one sessions.

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Gym Goddess – Part II

Welcome to Week II of How to Become a Gym Goddess (you can check out Week 1 here). To recap, this is the journey of an individual who has taken some time off from the gym, is in the process of making some big changes to her diet and would like to start getting back into shape.

Week I was primarily about measuring her abilities and testing her boundaries in a safe, controlled manner. In week two we increased the amount of cardio and worked on her core so that she has a good base to start doing weight in another few weeks.

 Source

*Note: Please talk to your physician prior to attempting a new fitness routine.

 

Day 1:

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate intensity

5 rounds – As quickly as possible w/out sacrificing form

  • 15 box jumps
  • 10 push-ups (on knees if necessary)
  • 20 sit-ups (chin up to the ceiling) 
  • 20 squats

10 minute cardio warm down

Day 2: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Pick a machine and go-go-go

5 minute warm up – moderate intensity, you want to get your heart rate up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down

Stretching

Day 3: Stability ball play time! (See The Fitnessista’s Focus On Medicine Balls for inspiration & safety tips)

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate intensity

Using a medicine/bosu ball, complete the following as quickly as possible:

  • 30 push ups  w/ feet on ball
  • 30 crunchies (chin to the ceiling)
  • 30 hamstring curls (laying on back)
  • 30 seconds plank w/ feet on the ball

10 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

Weekend Mini Workout: To be completed at any point Saturday or Sunday (***Bonus points if you get a workout buddy to join you and race!)

Sprint the length of the street, walk back to your starting point, 5 burpees (how to) – Repeat 10x

Starting w/ your feet together, jump as far as you can & repeat for the length of the street. To the end of the street and back to your starting point = 1, complete 5x

Results: After finishing her second week of regular workouts Liz was even more motivated and enthusiastic than before. The number one thing that she noticed? Even if she was dreading a workout and was exhausted by the time the last rep finished, she ended every workout more excited to start the next. Endorphins at their best!

* Trick To Try: Set an alarm on your cell or an Outlook calendar reminder for multiple times a day and spend a few minutes thinking about your core and your posture – especially important if you’re sitting in front of a computer or in class room for hours a day. Flex your stomach muscles and concentrate on your abdominal wall for 30 seconds, take a few deep breaths and repeat a handful of times, until you begin to feel fatigued. By staying in touch with your body over the course of the day you’ll be less likely to hunch or maintain harmful posture for extended period of time.

 

And in a fortuitous turn of events, The Fitnessista also recently did a post on getting back into shape, if you want to check out her expert advice here it is!

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