Thursday, December 29, 2011

In with the NEW! Post ONE

So, I am trying to move my blog somewhere friendlier, but in the mean time, I will start my series "Out with the Old, In with the NEW" over here on bloodspot.

I hope you are thinking of what is working in your life and what is not. To achieve wellness, we must start looking at mind, body, and spirit, so make sure to list your goals in each area and see their connection. Without one of the three, the others will not work in their best way. During this series, I will be talking about habits. Some of them are such a part of your life that you may not even see that they are habits. But we can nudge our habitual ways enough to lead a more clear and efficient life, and therefore a healthier one.

So, if you are starting to read through this, you think my first habit is going to be about physical exercise, right? Or what your are eating and when? Well, of course I am concerned with that, but we have to start from the top. Literally. We have to start with the way you are thinking, and more specifically, the way you are thinking about YOURSELF.

Let me first make sure you understand that I am NO psychologist! These realizations come from my beginning practices in yoga and meditation, which I highly recommend!

Your brain is full of thoughts. Constant thoughts. Thank God for that, right? God made such a miracle in you by creating your brilliant brain. But that same brain can sabotage your efforts. Your thoughts are so much more than just thoughts. Those thoughts become what you think of yourself. What you think of yourself becomes you. Remember that cheesy Saturday Night Live skit "I am good enough, I am smart enough, and Doggone it, people like me."? Well, it's ridiculous in the skit, but it isn't far from the truth. Most of our brains don't tell us those nice things. Most of our brains play tapes of past events, things others have told us, or thoughts we have conjured up through bad events in our lives. Somehow, those thoughts outweigh and overpower the kind thoughts.

So, your next assignment is to be conscious of these thoughts that creep in and how often they happen. Examples would be "You'll never achieve this," "you are not strong enough," "you have no will power," "you are not important enough to spend time and money on," or "you will always be this way." These are just thoughts, and they don't mean anything unless you let them. So, much like in meditation, when these thoughts occur, your assignment is to acknowledge that it happened, and then usher that thought away. There is no judgement because you had that thought. There are no repercussions for having that thought. Just acknowledge it and send it away. You can follow that thought with one that better represents you, such as "I am worth this effort," "I care about me," "I am not my past," or "I am definitely strong enough." One of these statements that works may become your mantra in these days, and as I heard someone say the other day, when you say something nice often enough, it becomes you. Wouldn't it be nice to become one of these thoughts rather than something angry and bitter from one of your old thoughts?

As you begin to clean out the system and usher the old thoughts goodbye, you may see some of them happening less often. Self doubt is normal, and it will come and go, but using this process will hopefully make them happen less often. Hopefully, by setting your brain up for success, you will then be ready to create new habits and usher out the habits that are not conducive to a new, healthier, brighter life.

I hate Blogger!

I need to find a new place to blog, apparently, because I can't embed anything on this site. Links disappear. Suggestions are welcome.
If you can do it the old fashioned way, type in to find my free fitness videos on youtube. Tell me what you think of the beginning workouts. There are LOTS of things coming. What would you like to see next?

I'll let you know when I can get a different site running my blog. This just isn't going to work for a multi-media blog site.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Out With The Old In With The New Series

In the next few days, especially in to 2012, I will be have this series running about ending old habits and beginning new ones. While I am thinking on the topic, start journaling your own feelings on it. What do you see yourself ending? What do you see yourself beginning? How would you like to start fresh and what would that mean?

Also, in the mean time, my youtube page is on its way. I will post it as soon as it is looking good!

Feel free, as always, to send me your comments and concerns.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beginner's Plyometric Workout

In plyometrics, you challenge muscles in explosive movement.
Note: only for moderately fit people with no back or joint issues :) And no pregos. If you do have a health ailment, make sure your doctor ok's any kind of explosive movement.

The easiest way to plyo the arms are through the arm movements outlined in my cardio kickboxing workout. An advanced exerciser can extend push ups to leap the hands from the ground and return.

Plyo legs are through jumping exercises.
1. Jumping squats
2. Jumping split-squats
3. Jumping plies

Do 4-8 reps of each exercise with a walking recovery in between sets. One way to work in plyos is to do three squats without jumps and then add a jump, and repeat the sequence 4-8 times. You can do the same with the other exercises.

Enjoy this new challenge!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 12: Where are you?

If you did cardio kickboxing on day 11, do your cardio speed bursts on day 12, and vice versa.

If you are doing cardio kickboxing, try last week's workout, or look on netflix for the 10 minute series on kickboxing. It's Keli Roberts, which of course gets my recommendation. Do the whole video,not just 10 minutes. Great workout.

If you are doing speed intervals, try to increase your full speed times to 25 or even 30 seconds of bursts every 5 minutes, but increase your recovery time to 45 seconds before going back to a moderate-comfortable pace. Try to do 5 or 6 blocks of intervals with recovery and moderate tempo in between.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 10

Look at my facebook page for video ideas for today. It is a core-yoga day.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 7: Rest and Reflect.
You absolutely must schedule in a rest day in any exercise plan. Without a rest day, the muscles cannot recover and rebuild. The brain needs rest as well. And your body needs to not start overproducing cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that works well when you are also producing adrenaline, that feel-good-go-get-em hormone. When it is out of whack, cortisol can cause the body to swell and make weight loss or body sculpting difficult to impossible.
On this day of reflection, you can take weight and measurements if you want to, or you can just reflect on how you are feeling and what is working.
Fell free to tell me how it's going for you and what you would like to see coming up.

Don't forget to FB me@

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 6: Primary Ashtanga Series

Take a yoga class or join yoga today on youtube or online at for a great, full body yoga workout.

Have a relaxed and calm day.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Soon To Come: My You Tube Exercise Channel

I am so sorry, my dear readers. It is so difficult to find a video that I would recommend for a good full workout. I am personally now making it my goal to do a channel in the new year that you can refer to any day at any time and find a comprehensive workout.

That being said, next is Day 5! Toning with kickboxing.

0-2:00: jump rope or pretend to jump rope

2:00-4:00: shuffle side to side with a pretend (or real) speed bag. Pretend you are holding ice picks and picking off the ice by your forehead.

4:00-5:00: Bob and weave. Protect your face with your fists. Squat down and raise up to the side, like you are ducking a punch. Alternate sides.

5:00-10:00: standing abdominals. Brace the abdominals, pull down with your hands as you pull up your knee. If it helps, hold a ball in your hand and bring it to your knee. Alternate sides to the front 15-20 times. Then, Bring your knee up to the side while your knee comes down to meet it. Do 15 per side. Finish the time with high knee jogs.

10:00-15:00: arm challenges
A. Jab (quick punch) with a shuffle, 50 per side
B. Punch (deep punch with force), alternating 50 times
C. Hook. Pretend to punch someone in the jaw at a close range to you. Your arm creates a hook shape. Alternate 50 times.
D. Upper cut. Get into a squat. Pretend to punch someone in the jaw, bring the fist up from your rib cage. Raise up slightly and return to the squat. Alternate. 50-100.
Remaining time, practice a combination of the above punches.

15:00-20:00: leg challenges
A. Front kick. Brace abdominals. Lean back slightly as you pretend to push a door open with your foot. Alternate. 25.
B. Side kick. Turn the left foot to face 45 degrees out from the body. Lift the right knee. As you lean left, push open an invisible door that is slightly behind you to the right with your foot. Bring the knee back in and return the foot to the floor. Repeat 15-20 times and switch legs.
C. Back kick. Lift the knee up and then push the foot to open an invisible door behind you while leaning forward. Bring the knee back in and down, switch sides. Alternate 15-20 times.
With the time left, use a combination or practice above leg moves.

20:00-25:00. Blocks.
A. Bob and block. Go back to the bob and weave. As you raise out of the squat, block with an outward sweep of the arm, bent at 90 degrees.
B. Low rear block. With a flat hand, extend your arm behind you, as if slicing a person in the lower abdomen, and quickly retract the arm to the block position. Alternate 15-20.
C. Mid rear block. Use your elblow to quickly push back in the rib cage area. Quickly return. Alternate 15-20.
D. Upper rear block. Put your right fist in your left hand. Push your right elbow behind you, as if blocking a punch to the head. Return quickly. Alternate 15-20.
With the time left, combine the above blocks.

25:00-27:00: jump rope
27:00-29:00: speedbag
29:00-31:00: bob and weave, block and weave
31:00-35:00: combine jabs, punches, kicks, and blocks.
35:00-37:00: march or walk it out
37:00-39:00: lie down, do straight or bent leg raises to fatigue.
39:00-45:00: pull knees in to chest. Hold and breathe for a few seconds. Extend legs and arms, pretend that someone is pulling fingers and toes to elongate the body. Turn over, go into cat-cow poses. Sit, stretch back, legs, arms, chest, shoulders, etc.

Feel great? Great. Kick butt all day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 4: Cardio-Inverval Intensity

Adding intervals adds strength and stamina. You will notice after practicing intervals that your body will be more efficient. You will also be multiplying the number of calories that you use in a day because you are building muscle and helping your entire body use fuel more efficiently.

Use a stop watch, digital watch, or sports related timing app for this workout.

Choose a cardio activity that can be timed and intensified. The best examples would be walking, running, swimming, or biking.

0-2:00: start in a moderate pace. Take it easy for these two minutes, breathing deeply and feeling heat come in to the muscles.

2:00-5:00: find your low-moderate pace. This is a pace that you can talk in, but have a constant cardio flow to. Your rate of perceived exertion should be around a 5 out of 10.

5:00-5:20: high intensity interval. Push yourself to a exertion of 9 out of 10. Warning: 20 seconds feels like a long time at this level. You should focus on breathing in and out, not talking to anyone.

5:20-6:00: walk or jog it out. This is a recovery mode, so slow way down without stopping completely. By the end of this 40 seconds, you should feel that you can talk again and are smiling again.

6:00-8:00: moderate pace, around a level 4.
8:00-10:00: a little faster, around level 6.
10:00-10:20: high intensity interval
10:20-11:00: recovery mode

Repeat the 6:00-11:00 directions four more times.

35:00-40:00: recovery mode to slow mode. Bring the heart rate down and calm the breathing.

40:00-45:00: stretch the back and legs with long, thoughtful stretches.

Enjoy the rest of day 4!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

T2C Day 3: Core and Yoga

1. If you have done Pilates before, follow this sequence:

A. The 100
B. 6 Roll-ups
C. 6 single leg stretches each side
D. 4 roll overs
E. 6 double leg stretches
F. 6 beat-beat-up
G. 90 seconds of swimming

If you have NOT done Pilates before, you can make today your first day by seeking professional help or taking a LIVE class.

If you do NOT want to take a Pilates class today, try this yoga-core sequence:

2. After your core sequence or Pilates, go to a basic awakening stretch yoga series, such as this one:


Monday, November 28, 2011

T2C Day 2

Day 2: Basic toning.You will need a set of hand weights at a moderate weight. Something you can lift easily, but not that you could toss around like a balloon. (I'm using a pair of tens).

Warm up:
0-2:00: shuffle feet side to side while hitting a make-believe speed bag. Think of it as a large piece of ice in front of your forehead, and you are using an ice pick in each hand to make shaved ice for your soon-to-be beverage. Your feet are just moving easily, bouncing side to side.

2:00-5:00: moving squats. Step to the side as you squat down. Do not extend the knees past the front of the foot or toes. Step together and then step out for another squat. Do at least 3 in one direction and then move them in the other direction. For more challenge, do 12-15 in one direction before reversing.

The following exercises should be performed to fatigue. When you feel that you cannot go any further with good form, then stop and go to the next exercise. One set per exercise to fatigue. Do not repeat.

Drop set push ups:
Go to plank position. Do a full, true push up from hands and toes.

When you cannot complete a full range of motion, drop the knees to the floor and continue to fatigue.
If you cannot do push ups on the floor yet, put hands on the wall and toes stretched behind the center of the body. Complete wall push ups to fatigue.

Plie squats to calf raise:
Stand with feet farther than shoulder width, toes pointed out 45 degrees. Lower the body straight down, dropping the center toward the floor. Knees should stay over feet. Stop when the legs make perfect right angles. Raise the heels (stand on tippy toes) while knees are still bent, stand. Return heels to floor. Beginners, do this to fatigue. More advanced members, complete 12-15, and then do low pulses. Stop on the low part of the set. Pulse the body down and up in small, controlled motions while you alternate heels up. Continue to fatigue.

Hold a weight in each hand, palms forward, arms straight. Do a bicep curl to the shoulder, turn the arms so that palms again face forward at the shoulder. Press weights up over head, return to shoulder, reverse palms, finish bicep curl down to start. Continue to fatigue.

Walking lunges.
Take a large step into a lunge. Front leg should make 90 degree angle at the knee. Bring the back leg to the front, and then step that leg forward the same way. Keep walking in lunges to fatigue. More advanced exercisers can continue without stopping in between steps. Beginners will have to stop and rebalance in between steps. Advanced exercisers can also carry a weight in each hand.

Front/side deltoids
With a weight in each hand, lift one arm to the front and the other to the side lifting from the shoulder. Do not shrug. Use only the shoulder muscles. Return and then switch sides. Beginners will need to bend their elbows quite a bit. More advanced exercisers will need to straighten their arms more, but can adjust the lever according to strength and ability. Continue to fatigue.

Deadlift/Drinking bird
With a weight in each hand, stand with feet together and legs straight but not locked out (make sure there is wiggle room in the knees, but don't bend them). Bend over from the hips, keeping the back straight.When you reach a good stretch point, return to standing position, using the hips to raise you up. Beginners will continue in this vein, called a deadlift. Advanced exercisers can do a one-legged deadlift, or drinking bird by letting one leg straighten behind them as they lower down, and then bringing the foot down as the body stands. Continue to fatigue on each side.

Single Arm Row/Tricep
Stand in a lunge with a weight in one hand. Keeping the back straight, pull the weight from forward to the rib cage. Hold the upper arm steady, and press back from the fore arm, squeezing the tricep. Return the forearm and then return the upper arm down and forward. It is as if pulling the string on a lawnmower and then pulling that string straight back toward the wall behind you. Then return by bending the elbow and then the shoulder. Continue to fatigue on one side and then do the other.

Breathe and circle arms around and then up over head. Press palms together over head. Exhale and circle arms back out. Do a few times with slow, even breathing. Drop from hips to reach toward legs, ankles, feet, or floor. Keep legs straight but not locked. Hold for a few moments, breathing deeply. Hands on thighs, straighten back and press top of head toward the front, feeling a lengthening in the spine. Relax and curve the spine forward, then repeat.Breathe as you reach up toward the ceiling, then stretch only from one side, then the other.
Continue to use stretches that target all worked muscles. Take your time and time your breathing with your movements.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

T2C Day 1

For those of you following my workout plan from Thanksgiving to Christmas, here is the first day, which I will complete on Monday, November 28. Constant Cardio 0-5:00: choose your cardio activity. It could be walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing, etc. Anything that is constant and challenges the heart. Got it? OK, start those first 5 minutes on a steady, easy pace. On a perceived exertion scale of 0-10, you are starting about a 4. Your heart rate starts to increase, but you can easily have a conversation. You begin to feel muscles heat up. 5:00-35:00: this is the "constant" part. This is your challenging pace without becoming breathless. After all, you will maintain this rate for 30 minutes. You are exerted at about a 7 and can answer questions if asked, though you might not be able to complete your sentences within one breath. Patterning your breathing will help you get through this portion. Good, steady music helps too (I use for running). 35:00-40:00: you are bringing your rate steadily downward without stopping dead in your tracks. Slow your pace to the warm-up pace and then in the last 2 minutes, slow to a pace of a 2 in exertion. 40:00-45:00: now you can stop and stretch. Don't forget all of the muscles you used today the the muscles you always use. Never neglect your spine. Ahhhhh!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Diastasis Recti Part 4: well over a year out of surgery

I got surgery on diastasis recti with an umbilical hernia on June 22, 2010. It is now October 9, 2011, and I am still feeling the remnants of recovery. The good news is that I am in great shape compared to other people my age, and I am able to live my life as I want. I have no restrictions. I was finally released by my doctor a couple of weeks ago, if you can believe it. But if I compare me to me, I still have my difficulties. For instance, my strong suit was my core. I was a Pilates instructor and enthusiast before it all went haywire with diastasis. Knowing what I know makes a difference in my recovery because, I believe, a nonprofessional would be ok with poor form in trying to get back in to Pilates and other core work. I am very particular with my form, and I know that one improper exercise can send my practice backward. I can finally do about half of the original Pilates series modified. I can do roll ups with weighted assitance, and I have to watch my repetitions to make sure my abdominal wall stays contracted inward. I am finally able to do twisted movement and to extend my spine upward, but I can not bend backward still. I question if a back bend will ever be possible post surgery. I feel very strong and capable otherwise. I hold to my statement that I am grateful for the opportunity to have the surgery, and that I am glad I did it. I would recommend it only to people who have an irreversible situation like mine. I recommend physical therapy from a post natal professional before looking at surgery, and even after surgery.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New training site!

Friends, I just wanted you to know that I am on the staff at traineo as well as the other stuff I do. I'll be a writer and consultant for them. My first book with them should be out soon, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are You Sleeping?

No, I'm not asking Brother John, I'm asking you! Do you sleep? Do you stay asleep? Sleep relies on so many factors. Here are a few:
-activity during the day
Not sure what the problem is? Here are some solutions to start with:
-unplug all technological devices 60 minutes before shut eye
-meditate/pray before bed
-stop eating 2-3 hours before bed
-check hormone levels such as thyroid and ask for hormone meds if you need them!
-eat fresh foods and keep it light
-stop consuming caffeine (including chocolate) 6-8 hours before bed
-try taking melanin in the form of cherries (YUM)
-lie in savasana (corpse pose) 5 minutes before rolling in to sleep position.!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Interval Training

Interval training is one of the best ways to increase cardiovascular endurance and strength. Using intervals will increase your threshold of training. So, to get to the next level (or, to just kick your butt in record time), try adding some intervals to your cardio routine. The most basic interval would be walk-run intervals. If you are usually a walker, try adding a run intervals, either in time (start with 30 second bursts), or distance (One city block at a time). To start this kind of interval, try the program outlined at . The C25K app is also available on Iphone and will guide you through the process.
There are other types of intervals, as well. Do you want to be a swimmer? Start by using the kick board and add a lap of swimming every third lap. Want to challenge yourself on the bike? Try sprint intervals or higher intensity intervals. has music for bike interval training led by great spinning instructors. Follow the music, and you'll do automatic intervals at set times. Are you a runner and want to increase your strength and time? Short sprint intervals challenge the muscles from a different angle. If you are not ready to sprint, try intervals of a slightly higher rate. A Garmin watch or similar will have times and distances built in so that you can see what your rate is in any given time (, or use a metronome or metronome app to challenge your pace. For example, if you notice you normally run at a BPM of 160, add some intervals of 180. Start with just 30 second intervals blocked with 3 minutes of your regular speed, and then increase the time of the interval slowly.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creating a Circuit

To make the most of your time to work out, try a circuit. Circuit training is cardio and strength training all in one, much of it with very high intensity, to get the most out of your workout. Set up a circuit that includes a cardio station ( a jump rope or trampoline, or even a running in place spot), a strength station (with weights or body-weight station), and a core-inspired station (a mat, ball, or bosu). Rotate between the stations 3 times, spending 2 minutes on each. As you get stronger, add more circuits. Your initial circuit will be a 20-25 minute workout, and you can keep adding to it for more time and intensity. With a larger circuit, add a 20-30 second recovery period in between, and you'll end up with a 30-45 minute full body cardio wear-me-out workout.
Here is an example of a beginning circuit:

Warm up with a march or step touch sequence for 2 minutes.
1. Run in place 2 minutes
2. Use a hand weight. Squat down to put it on the floor, Stand up, squat back down lift the weight (straight back, head up) up, straighten the legs, pull the weight above your head. Repeat for 2 minutes.
3. Pull your arms down as you lift one knee at a time, pulling the abdominals in and exhaling on each rep. Continue with one knee for one minute, and then the other knee for one minute.
Walk around for 20-30 seconds and start the process again.
Do the circuit 3 times.
The final walk should bring the heart rate down. Follow a stretch or yoga routine for 2-5 minutes, and you're done.

That's for starters. The possibilities are endless. You won't get bored, you can design it yourself, and you'll get in tremendous shape. Like a circuit? Do it every other day for a full body workout, or just a couple of times a week for a change to your routine. The body likes to be challenged with something new, and will thank you by changing it's shape for the better. You may also find some new muscles that haven't been challenged before. Bonus!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fat to Burn Fat

The macronutrient called "fat" comes in many varieties. Here is what they have in common: they are 9 calories per gram. They come in vegetable varieties, animal varieties, and yes, man-made varieties. So, what kind of fat burns fat?
Think of it this way. A fat in an animal has already gone through that animal's processes and has become fat cells within a body. How do you think your body sees something so fatty that it is predetermined as extra weight on another animal? These fats are called saturated fats. They are usually the artery-plugging type that don't do a whole lot for you. The exception would be fat from fish. These lean little plant eaters create more good-for-you fats that actually FIGHT the cholesterol from saturated fats! The fish oil goes under the same category as the vegetable oils, plus the benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are linked to a reduction in diabetes and heart disease.
Then, there are fats that come from vegetables: olives, avacados, grapeseeds, and flaxseeds. These fats are called unsaturated fats, and the body processes these fats very well. Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, are the healthiest kinds of fats to drizzle over your food because they, like fish oils, attack bad fats that get stuck in the arteries. Now, keep the whole calorie thing in mind and DON'T over do it! Using a sprayer for oils can keep the amounts low while packing on flavor and getting the health benefits of the oil.
The other source of Omega-3? Good nuts. Enjoy a serving or two of RAW, UNSALTED walnuts or almonds every day for a serving of Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D.
Now, for the ugly side of fats. It was discovered many years ago that in order to increase the shelf life of fast food and prepackaged food, that unsaturated fats can be given an extra hydrogen molecule. These would become man-made fats, called trans fats or partially-hydrogenated fats. This is NOT food, and the body does not see it as such. Any amount of partially-hydrogenated oil should be seen as the enemy and should be avoided. It causes immediate inflammation in the body because it is not recognized as a food, and it goes straight to the arteries. The body can not process or expel it because it is unrecognizable. Trans fats have become the bad guy to nutritionists and doctors, finally to lawmakers, and eventually to food manufacturers. Trans fats are actually illegal in some states. Fast food restaurants have gone back to natural oils, as have many pre packaged foods. There is no reason for partially hydrogenated anything to go in to your body. Consider it a poison and do not purchase any product with these. There are plenty of other options!
Poly and Mono UNsaturated fats=the good
Saturated fats=the bad
Partially hydrogenated ANYTHING=the UGLY
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Finding My Center

I was going to post today on healthy and unhealthy fats. I hope to get to that later today or tomorrow. For right now, I am too angry to focus on anything but the absolute insanity of our Texas state legislators. How DARE they mess with kids and old people? How DARE we put up with it? While they give tax breaks to the wealthiest Texans and big oil, they are choosing to try to destroy public education, and send grandma out into the street.
I encourage everyone to know how their legislator voted. . Not only that, but we need to remember that at the next election time. Turn off the TV when the attack ads come on and remember the truth: that our legislators do not care about the future because they will be dead and gone. As long as the rich get richer, they could care less about your kids. And your grandma.
These people are obviously blinded by greed. They don't have to answer to their constituents, because they don't care how their constituents feel. I think the public has made it abundantly clear that this is not ok with us. But they have this attitude of being greater than us, and they have the overconfidence that they will be reelected, especially if there is an R after their names. Say NO. Voice your anger. Voice with your vote. Be diligent. Stick up for your kids and your grandma, because they won't.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Basic Nutrition Part 2: Protein

Protein gets a lot of buzz. It's the miracle food that builds muscle, right? Well, sort of. Proteins are a series of amino acids necessary for the body to build muscle and lean tissue. Proteins are incomplete, meaning some but not all of the necessary amino acids, in vegetables and whole grains. Proteins are complete in animal products and soy products. That is why soy is so valuable in a vegan or reduced animal diet plan. There are other ways to create whole proteins by combining incomplete ones, listed here .
There are other ways of getting protein, like in a whey powder form. Just remember that more processed foods have less nutrients and more additives. OR, they could have dangerous additives, such as EAS Muscle Milk, which has had problems recently with large amounts of cadmium (a lethal metal substance) found in the drinks and powders.
Protein is great because it keeps the body satiated longer than most carbohydrates. The down side is that a lot of them have large amounts of fat, too. Some are healthy fats, which I will get to next time, but fats are very dense and can add calories quickly.
The healthiest animal sources of protein are poultry breast and low mercury fish (wild salmon, light tuna). The healthiest soy option would be tofu. Do not limit your diet to all protein, or even mostly protein because the body does not like to use protein for energy. So, if your diet is out of balance with protein taking too much of a lead, you may feel less energy to get the workout done. The other downside is that the kidneys and liver do not like too much protein. Extreme protein dieting can lead to ketosis, which is a serious kidney condition.
Of course, the other thing to remember is that any calorie the body doesn't need becomes fat. So, if you are ingesting a ton of protein and the body does not have any reason to build that much muscle or need those amino acids at that time, then fat stores will increase. Muscle is built from exercise, and no amount of ingested protein can change what your body wants to build.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Basic Nutrition Part 1: Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the topic of debate in many dietary circles, though people that actually know what carbohydrates are have no reason to debate them. They are, quite simply, sugars and substances that grow from the earth. They are the main source of energy in the human body, and they are stored in the muscles and used for brain power. The confusion comes when you start asking "what kind?" and "how many?"
Carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram. The simplest ones, like fructose (fruit) are changed into glycogen instantly and burned very quickly. Slower burning carbohydrates, called complex carbohydrates, work in the body longer. Why is this important? Well, for quick energy and a calorie less likely to stay with you, a simple fruit works great. For a snack that stays with you longer and probably has more fiber, choose a complex carbohydrate, like long grain oats or wild rice.
Fiber is found in many natural carbohydrates and it is important because it A. sticks to fat cells so that some of them will not be absorbed by the body and B. flushes all that extra stuff out of the body in the form of feces. Yes, fiber-filled carbohydrates are your friend. They get rid of the bad stuff, or some of it.
So, when you are choosing carbohydrates, remember that fruits are quick burning, so they won't add weight to your thighs, vegetables are so low in calories and high in vitamins that they are the jackpot of carbohydrates, and whole grains stay with you longer and rid the body of nasty fatty substances. Also, think about that big cookie full of sugar. A carbohydrate? Yes. A lot of calories? Yes. A lot of nutrients? NO. That big cookie is the vast wasteland of carbohydrates. It won't provide you with anything but extra calories, and a lot of them at that. Think about this. A cucumber has seven calories. SEVEN. You just burned that reading this article. A cookie has a couple HUNDRED calories. Which has more bang for your fill? Yeah, you guessed it. Vegetables are best when you mix up tons of colors. Colors mean different vitamins. Cookies are best when you just need a little something sweet on a special occasion. No, they don't need to sit around the house staring at you. Enjoy one, and be done. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains make the body function the way it should, make you feel like a million bucks, and aid in BRAIN and organ well as prevent disease, etc, etc.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Just know how to use this powerful weapon!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Drat. I have stitches and am currently not allowed to sweat. Or swim. What's a girl to do in May in Texas? I will have to turn the air down and keep everything to my lower realm of aerobic capability. I just hope it won't deter my fitness level to much. I will let you know. So, I got stitches this past Tuesday, and no sweating until another 2-3 weeks! That's a long time!
In an unrelated note, I saw a girl today who was obviously suffering from anorexia nervosa. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and encourage her to get some help. It often makes me wonder how these eating disorders affect the people who live around and work around the sufferer and how much they can do to save someone who is so deep into a depressed mental state. She was about my height and probably around 90 pounds.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diastasis Recti: Surgery and Recovery Part 3

So, I have been slowly recovering for eleven months. I don't think everyone's surgeon is as thorough and intense as mine was. I also don't think others get the individual attention that I have gotten for the past year. My doctor goes above and beyond to check on recovery.
Exercise is a vital part of my life, and I lost a lot of strength. I started the road to recovery with light body weight exercise and yoga. It was amazing to me how weak I was and how inflexible I had become. The abdominal wall functions differently now, and is still not able to completely hold my weight. I can not, for instance, hang from my hands. It even took me a while to be able to leave the ground again. You don't realize how much you have to hold in the abdominals for basic movement until you lose that mobility. Balance was another issue. My back was in a rounded and stiff position for about 16 weeks before I felt like I was at least standing straight, and I still do not have much mobility hyperextending the spine past vertical. Yoga is my best friend in redeveloping this. Being able to be in plank position again was a big goal of mine. I can now hold plank for a couple of minutes, but still nothing like I used to be. It is like I inherited an all new body. My tummy is all pulled in tight and sewn together, but it lost its mobility and strength.
Today, I went back in for a follow up. You can see and feel all of the stitches that hold down the hernia repair mesh. One of them that is prominent has caused a lot of discomfort over this year, so my doctor offered to snip that one stitch out in a simple office visit. Well, it was not such an easy thing (is it ever?), and he could not get the stitch out. The local anesthesia caused the tissue around the stitch to swell too much. So, he covered that area with some of my tissue he pulled over, and then covered it with a synthetic tissue. I am again in a hunched position and hurting, but after what I have been through, this is a walk in the park. I hope this is the last process.
My doctor prescribed some tape-like medicine for the scars. It is called Cordon. I wear it over all of the scars every day, and in about 8 weeks, the scars have become flat and the redness is much reduced. He says the end result will be barely detectable scars. That's a wow, right? The scars run from hip to hip with a dip down the hip bone and straight across the lower pelvis, also a cut vertically in the lower pelvis, and a new navel.
So, in all, Diastasis friends, I would recommend this surgery to people who have a diastasis as advanced as mine was, and who have a hernia in it. Otherwise, I would recommend Julie's process (, and help from a post natal trainer (like me!). It is a VERY extensive process to get the surgery, and should be elected as a last result or emergency.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Paradigm Shift to Weight Management

In our culture (American), it has occurred to me that people want to lose weight for the following "reasons:"
1. Anger, resentment, frustration at one's self.
2. A feeling of being out of control
3. For someone else (spouse, friend, job)
4. Because the person "has to" or will die
And using these reasons, the typical American person will find one or more of these so-called solutions to achieve smallness:
1. Punish one's self through starvation, over-restriction, stressing the body, over-exhaustion, or by taking something unnatural or dangerous.
2. By leaving it up to someone else to do it for that person
3. By coming up with a quick fix, leaving the conscious awareness of weight loss out of the equation.

As a personal trainer and weight management coach, I have seen all of this and until recently, I have taken personal responsibility for people that have suffered through all of the above reasons and have tried all of the solutions. The thing of it is that I have taken the responsibility for all of those who have failed. Gosh, I would say to my conscious self, I have tried everything with this person, and they are not succeeding! I've used all of my knowledge from all of my trainings and readings. And I can't fix this person!
Therein lies MY problem. It is not my job to FIX anyone. I will never enter a person's mind or spiritual world and make the leap of faith for them. I will never be able to physically connect that person's mind, body, and spirit. That part I can share with others, I can suggest to others, and I can counsel with others, but I can not do it for anyone else.

Here is the real solution.
The mind, body, and spirit are necessarily connected through a personal relationship with one's self and with God (or another name for the Creator of the person). The person must see that he or she is a miracle of God and is a precious commodity unto this earth. Only through self love, self worth, and self respect can one make the conscious, rational decision to make the extra weight go away. Then, the person is ready to do the work involved. Then, the person becomes conscious of what it takes in and what it expends out. Then, he or she is ready to ask a coach, a mentor, a peer to help without the ego getting in the way. Then, he or she can do the work without the excess of stress, anxiety, and anger.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Going Sleeveless: Arms

Long, sleek, defined, toned. These are the arms we want, and we can get there. In fact, arm muscles are small, so they become defined rather easily with the right routine. Here we go.
1. Yoga and Pilates. Yes, the simple act of taking a mind-body class will instantly improve arm tone. Why? Isometrics (holding poses) creates tone and lift, and stability exercises increase strength. Finally, the posture and positioning in these classes make the arms appear longer and sleeker because the body is in alignment. Voila!
2. Boxing. Now, the boxing stance is quite opposite from yoga, so use these things in balance. The plyometric action of striking, even if it is in the air, forces the muscle to develop. Self defense classes are great for this, too.
3. Lift. Yes, lift weights or use a restistance band or pully to work the arms. The major groups: biceps, triceps, and deltoids.
4. Don't forget the cardio! If you have pretty arms that are covered with a layer of fat, well, those arms are hiding! Use cardio to remove fat from all areas, including the arms. Swimming does amazing things for the heart while toning all those little arm muscles, so there is a perfect double-duty exercise. If you are running or walking, keep the arms at 90 degrees and swing them with control. If you are biking, the isometric work of holding a low body posture also will work the arm muscles.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nice Legs!

Ready for shorts weather? Let's get moving today for better results!
1. Checking in all day! Are you using your legs all day? When you sit or stand from a chair, do an extra squat without using the arm rest on your chair. When you walk from place to place, walk with purpose. Have a minute? Do walking lunges around your house for a few minutes. Do moving squats to get to another room or place in your house.
2. Cardio Cardio Cardio! Yes, it's true, leg-intensive cardio sculpts legs and burns that layer of fat over the top. Walking works more of the hamstring and glut muscles (back of the leg), but you have to walk like you mean it. Running uses more quadruceps (front of the leg) and burns more calories. Swimming uses hips and hip flexors. Biking is more quadruceps than hamstrings. All of these are beneficial, so don't limit yourself to one form of cardio.
3. Pilates. You know Pilates as a core workout, but the Pilates professional understands that the core is connected to all other parts, and the legs cannot work without core support. So, several parts of the series are hip exercises that work the muscles in a way that slims and lengthens muscles (think pretty hips).
4. Explode! Jumping rope, jumping on the trampoline, jumping movement in sports, sport training that uses plyometrics, and the new aqua plyo trainings give the muscles such a challenge that they burn a ton of calories and they develop for strength and endurance. Aqua Plyo training is jumping in coordinated exercise in a pool. Look in to this, especially if you are concerned over injuries or joint problems.
Questions? Find me here or on my FB page,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Core Focus

The first stage to a strong "core (central section of the body; abs and lower back)" is a new mental focus on this area, all day long. Once the muscle memory is learned, it will be a subconscious focus, but at first, the mind must interract with the abdominals with everything that the body does.
Start with a focus on breathing. A good, strong breath is deep into the lower abdominals, and then is pushed out by engaging the abdominals. Pilates and yoga are based on this philosophy, though they perform deep breathing in slightly different ways. In order to learn the basics of yoga or Pilates, the breathing comes first.
Then, any time you have a moment and can focus on the abdominal section, focus on pulling it in. Think of it like zipping up a tight pair of high waisted jeans, but make sure the lower back does not collapse and fall backward. In order to make the waist smaller, it must pull in from all angles.
Finally, in every motion, breathe out and pull the abdominals in. This is especially true in exercise and in lifting anything. The rectus abdominus is an unusual body part that can push out or pull in, depending on how the person allows this body part to be used. If the person pushes the abdominal wall out while lifting, then the muscles will grow outward and create bulk in the middle of the body. If the person pulls in on every movement, the muscles will grow inward and create the sleek and toned midsection that looks great and works well with the rest of the body.
Even with pretty, strong abs, they can hide under a layer of fat. Burn visceral fat with cardio exercise. Fight bloat with a low sodium diet and LOTS of water.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Work. Hard. Rest.

So there is a lot of information coming down the pike that has to do with Rest Based Exercise. It makes sense. See, we were designed to work for our livelihood. We were building houses, hunting food, and using elbow grease to clean up only a hundred years ago. Our bodies are still created this way and are designed to work hard and then rest up. It would make sense in the day to hammer until your arm gets tired, take a breather, and then start up again.
In rest based exercise, you perform hard, real-body exercises. Tough intervals of jumping, lifting, sprinting, etc. Things that would push you over the anaerobic (breathless state). You work until you can't, and then take a break until you can again. Think of how kids play. They run fast and then stop when they are tired. Your body was designed this way, and was designed to do amazing things this way.
Here is how it works in the exercise world. Use 20-40 minutes ONLY with a set of very difficult exercises. Perform each one to the best of your ability, going hard. Take a break when you need to for as long as you need to, and jump in there again. At the end of the allotted time, cool down and stretch. The time limit is because of the body's response to an overload of stress over a long period of time. If you try to do this kind of workout for longer than 40 minutes, the body will not respond as well and will begin release cortisol unopposed, which causes stress and inflammation.
Would you like to try this kind of workout? Curious if it will work for you? Want to be part of a loose study? Contact me if you are interested.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring Time is NEAR!

Spring time is calling! If you live in the southern states today, the breeze is blowing and the sun is out. It is calling you to get out there and appreciate Mother Nature. Is your body ready? Tank tops? Shorts? Swimsuits? Get active and get in there to make a big change for your body TODAY. Want killer arms? Time to take up boxing. Nothing will tone your arms faster and make them prettier. No bag? That's ok; just jab the air with a quick retreat and you'll be burning soon! Want killer legs? Time to start running! And what perfect timing it is to run the neighborhood! Check out some apps that make learning to run easier, and get that playlist ready. Now, RUN! What about a flat middle? Well, besides the cardio, it's time to take up Pilates! For best results, see a professional in this matter. If you already know about your Pilates form and you have been trained in feeling the posture and position that make Pilates what it is, then go ahead and explore all the DVD and Netflix options for Pilates. Are you going to do it? OK! TODAY!
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Setting a Schedule

Once you start a fitness routine, the questions start to pop up: Am I doing all I can to maximize the results? First of all, you should know that spending hours and hours exercising is a complete waste of time, unless you are training for a major event like a marathon. The old way of losing fat and gaining muscle was long and strenuous, including "rest time" between events or sets. The new and more efficient way is to make a plan that works in a short amount of time.
The cardio MYTH: If you walk or run every day, you will lose the most weight in the least time. The "fat burning zone" is a less-than-optimal range that must be maintained for a long period of time to get the most effects.
The TRUTH: If you walk or run every day, your body will thank you with some weight loss, heart benefits, and an increase in metabolism through more mitochondria in the cell structure of the body. HOWEVER, the "fat burning zone" means that the percentage of calories burned at that zone are more fat cells than general calories. But in your body, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Burning more calories means burning more fat. Bottom line: work harder in a shorter period of time and you will burn more calories. Work yourself up a sweat. Increase your breathing. Work in difficult intervals. THIS is how the body burns more calories and increases stamina. Your body will continue to burn calories for a while after the workout, though the exact amount of time is not known. Hard work is really the key to a good cardio workout, and you don't have to do it for hours.
The weight lifting MYTH: Work one body part per day, 3 sets of heavy weights, and rest in between sets. Rest that body part for at least 24 hours after the workout.
The TRUTH: Working the muscles is a vital part to an exercise routine. The more muscle you have, the less fat you will have because muscle cells burn lots of calories. BUT, a workout that includes body-weight lifting, plyometrics, and resistance exercise in a way that keeps the body moving is the most efficient way to build muscle, keep the cardio up, and burn more calories. There are lots of programs out there based on the new truth, including Active II for Wii, P90X, Crossfit, and boot camp methods around the country.
The flexibility myth: If I stretch before and after my workout, that's enough flexibility and I'm good to go....if I remember to do it.
The TRUTH: Stretching before a workout is UNNECESSARY and could actually hurt your workout. Stretching after the workout is important, but a good exercise regimen includes a few minutes of flexibility exercise, Pilates, or yoga every week. Your joints and muscles will thank you for this.
How to work it all in: A good interval workout will include enough of everything to get you in great shape. Check for local classes in your area or purchase a program that lays it out for you. You can also alternate days of running or walking with muscle work. Just make sure to make a little time for flexibility, too. And, if a muscle group is sore, it is rebuilding. Do give it time to rebuild before stressing it again. This doesn't mean don't use the muscles, but do give them some time. The legs in particular need to be used when sore. Walk or run on sore legs to loosen them up and remember to do flexibility exercise.
I hope this helps put some things in perspective. Let me know if you have questions.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shopping for New Year Fitness Goals

Ready to get moving? Well, you know you need some gear. May as well get it while the prices are right. Here is a list of the essential items. Check your closet first, and then hit the stores! Keep in mind that you probably don't need everything for the first day, but you probably need to at least get dressed for the workout.
1. Shoes. There are lots of foot types and shoe types. I would recommend that your basic shoe for most people would be a running shoe. Most cross trainers are too heavy, and running shoes are great for most types of exercise. Try on shoes by Adidas, Nike, Asics, and New Balance to find one that works best for you. Take a brisk walk or jog around the store before making a decision. If it feels like you are wearing nothing, then you probably found a good shoe. If you have specific foot problems that cause you pain, make sure you check with your podiatrist about inserts.
2. Clothes. Bulky cotton sweats won't do it. Nowadays, you will find lots of choices in breathable synthetics that adhere to the body well, wick away sweat, and don't get in the way. Adidas, Nike, and Champion have good options. Check Target for the C9 line; it's well priced and does the job well.
3. Home gym or fitness center? If you know you won't workout unless you go to a fitness center, do your shopping now while they are running specials. Find a gym with cardio theater, fitness classes, and a good training staff (check certifications by NASM, ACE, AFAA, AFTA, or ISSA). Also, do you need good childcare? Check out the facility for the kids. Check cleanliness in the facility and locker room. Need a pool? Specific classes? Don't waste money on a lesser facility that doesn't include everything you need. If you want to workout at home, or you know that working out at home is your best option for now, here are some basics to keep in your home:
- handheld weights: a heavy set and a light set (new exercisers go for a pair of tens and a pair of fives)
- exercise bands with handles: Gold's Gym is selling boxed sets this year at Walmart.
- Pilates/yoga mat: sticky mats work best
- balance ball: choose one that you can sit on and the knees bend at 90 degrees.
- workout videos or training systems: Wii Active, Wii Zumba, Wii Dance Workout, etc. optional
- planning to learn to run this year? Download a 5K training system on your computer or phone, such as
- Netflix membership. For $9 a month, you can instant stream tons of exercise videos by Crunch, Self Magazine, and others. And you'll never get bored of your system!
- check the ACE website for constant video updates and proper form information.
- optional equipment: a trainer watch. I like the Garmin Forerunner 60. It has a distance calculator, heart rate monitor, and calorie calculator. Keep track online with their Garmin Trainer system.
- optional: join a peergroup, like at
- running or biking: you need motivational music. Try the podcast for your ipod. Perfect beats to keep you moving.
- need a trainer? Check the ACE or IDEA website for a good one properly certified in your area.