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Archive for July, 2008

This is the time of year that homeschool mothers love.  We’re planning our next school adventure and enjoying the summer with our families.  I am actually behind in my planning this year with my brother visiting this week, but my husband leaves today for a month and that gives me plenty of time to get my school year planned out. 

I always get so excited and anxious to dive into school after summer vacation.  There’s something about new topics, notebooks, novels and colored pencils that gets my girls asking constantly when the first day of school is. 

I also get this same excitement right before beginning a new fitness plan.  New exercises, new equipment and a new goal gets me revved up.  Do you have a fitness plan for the year?  You should. 

My plan follows the seasons.  Right now I am in a strength building program until the last week of September.  I will take a week off right before my RKC certification. When I return, I will take 12 weeks and do a muscle building program.  I will take 2 weeks off and then begin my fat loss program so I will be ready for the summer.

Your program might just be fat loss for the year depending on how much fat you have to lose.  But you should go no longer than 12 weeks at a time before taking a week or two off. 

Homeschool moms are awesome schedulers.  We can create an entire year of fun lesson plans.  Don’t neglect physical education.  Create some goals for your children this year and plan some great physical activities to help them attain those fitness goals. 

My girls are avid tumblers.  My oldest competed at the national level this year.  She creates her own fitness goals such as sprinting faster, jumping higher, stronger shoulders and a core of steel.  I then create a physical program that will help her achieve those goals.

Goals for students that are not at such a competitive level might be 50 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, run a mile under 25 minutes, jump rope for 1 minute non-stop, etc.  I’m sure your kids can help you come up with some goals to achieve this school year.

Physical education should be a part of your homeschool experience.  Create family goals and strive to achieve them together.  Have fun, create some memories and get fit together this school year.

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I just returned from my grandmother’s house.  I love going there because life slows down to a crawl.  She refuses to own a computer because she thinks she will break it.  She doesn’t have cable and only picks up 2 channels with her antennae.  If you bring your laptop, you can’t get onto the internet unless you go to a WiFi spot which is quite a drive.  So, life really becomes easy going.  I am able to rest and restore myself while I am there. 

Everyone should have a place where they feel like they can unwind and relax.  When you return home you seem to be energized and rearing to go again. 

I get a lot of thinking done which always helps me come up with great ideas to implement when I get back home. 

This time my brother and his family drove up from Texas to meet me there.  We had a lot of fun.  I only see my brother every couple of years.  He is staying with me right now and I am enjoying every minute of it.  Unfortunately, he will be leaving early Friday morning.  It will be hard to see the family go. 

 

Find your spot for relaxation and restoration.  You’ll feel and think better for it.

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We had a great day at fitness camp yesterday.  Our main workout of the day was Roll Your Destiny.  This is a great workout that you can re-create at home and do with the kids. 

Get yourself a kitchen timer and set it for 15-20 minutes.  Grab a pair of dice and your good to go.

When you roll two dice you will do the exercises that correspond to the numbers on your dice.  Do 20 reps of each exercise then roll the dice again.  Keep going until the timer goes off.

1 = Burpees

2 = Dips

3 = Jump Squats

4 = Push-ups

5 = Sit-ups

6 = Jumping Lunges

Here’s a great clip our campers getting down:

http://www.audioacrobat.com/playv/WTB3SBZQ

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I love trying out new workout combinations and exercise equipment.  I’m not talking about machines.  I stay away from those the majority of the time.  I mean equipment such as kettlebells, resistance bands, Valslides, stability balls, medicine balls and rings.  All these things are small and easy to store.  Most importantly, they make exercise fun. 

For people who don’t like to exercise due to boredom, you should try new things regularly.  A lot of exercise equipment now come with instructional DVD’s or charts to get you started. 

I tried kettlebells out a year ago and haven’t stopped loving them.  I’m even going away for my birthday weekend to become a Russian Kettlebell Certified trainer.  Who would have known?

Besides the anti-boredom factor of trying out new things, you will also keep your body from plateauing.  Our bodies are extremely adaptive and an exercise program you have been following for 4-6 weeks will no longer give you the same benefit as it did when you first started it.  To keep your body progressing, you need to change up your routine every month.  You don’t always have to change the exercises themselves.  You can:

  • Change up your reps, sets and rests. 
  • Create supersets by combining two exercises together and eliminating a rest period between them. 
  • Instead of doing an exercise seated, stand up.
  • Throw in a cardio move at the end of a superset before resting.
  • Split your full body workout into two Push/Pull workouts.

The possibilities are endless.  Ladies who are part of my online coaching program receive a new program every 4 weeks to keep them from plateauing.  Their results have been amazing. 

Keep changing, learning and growing.  Stay out of the rut.

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Are you like most people and feel like you have no idea how to properly lose unwanted pounds? There are so many diet books out there that it can become overwhelming for you to choose the right one. Due to the over commercialization of all the so called weightloss gurus, people are more confused than ever about how to lose weight. I want to give you the facts about dieting and how you really should eat to lose weight safely and permanently.

Losing weight should be as easy as eating less, right? Well, it sounds like it should work. In fact, that is what most diet books will do. They reduce the amount of calories you consume. This approach will work for awhile, but then you will come to a point where you stop losing weight. What do you do now?

Some people will then reduce the amount of food they eat further and they will continue this cycle until they’re skipping meals, eating light snacks for meals and a few bites for dinner. Even when eating such small amounts of food, they find that they are still not losing weight and some may even find themselves gaining weight.

Additionally, while you were losing body fat, you were also losing muscle. Losing muscle is a big problem. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, which basically means, you don’t have to work as hard to lose unwanted body fat. So, when you gain back the weight you lost you are actually gaining even more body fat than you had when you began the diet. This is what is called yo-yo dieting. Every time you
diet, you are setting yourself up for even more fat gain when you resume your normal eating patterns. Why does this happen?

Our bodies are geared toward survival. When we deny our bodies the nutrients and fuel it needs just for keeping us alive, it will enter the starvation mode and begin to hold onto everything it gets in the form of fat
storage. Your metabolism slows down and you may become tired and lethargic as your body attempts to conserve energy.

What tends to happen is the dieter goes back to their normal eating patterns because they are unable to maintain these types of eating restrictions. You begin to eat larger amounts of food, but your metabolism is still suppressed and you will begin putting on weight quickly until your metabolism readjusts itself.

So how do you lose weight without dieting? First, you must have some idea of what your normal daily caloric intake should be. After you have established your baseline, you must factor in your daily activity levels. This
will give you a general guideline to follow. Here is a formula you can use to establish an estimate of your daily caloric intake:
Activity Factor Chart

Generally Sendentary (Desk Job, very little exercise)
Age Under 30~ multiply by 30%
Age 30-40 ~ multiply by 25%
Age over 40 ~ multiply by 20%

Somewhat Active (Exercise 1 hour a day)
Under 30 ~ multiply by 40%
30-40 ~ multiply by 35%
Over 40 ~ multiply by 30%
Really Active (Lift weights 3-4 times a week, very muscular)
Under 30 ~ multiply by 50%
30-40 ~ multiply by 45%
Over 40 ~ multiply by 40%

Off the Charts(Elite, competitive athlete)
Under 30 ~ multiply by 75%
30-40 ~ multiply by 60%
Over 40 ~ multiply by 50%

1) Take your current weight and multiply it by 11.
2) Multiply this answer by your activity factor. Find your activity factor by using
the chart above.
3) Add answer to number 1 to your answer in number 2.

This is the amount of calories you should be eating each day. Of course every person is unique and there may be other factors to consider. This is where a fitness coach can really help you fine tune your fitness program. As your body composition changes, your dietary needs also change.

Let me point out though that while it is very important to eat the right amount of calories a day, it is equally important to have a strength and high intensity interval training program to build muscle and lose body fat. This factored in with eating the right types of foods will turn you into a fat burning machine.

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Most women believe that in order to lose fat they must do long aerobic sessions. The truth is there is a much more effective way to lose fat that requires less time – which is a precious commodity for working or stay at home mothers. High intensity interval training (HIIT) can be done in only 20 minutes and will have a greater effect on your overall fat loss goals. HIIT is short bursts of intensity followed by short rest periods. HIIT cardio will help you lose 9 times more fat than those who train the traditional way of doing low – moderate intensity for 20-60 minutes.

Here are 5 reasons you should use HIIT’s in your weight loss program:

1. Longer Fat Burning Effect (After burn)

There have been many scientific case studies that show that using high intensity short intervals for training results in EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) levels remaining at a high level for several hours longer than regular low intensity aerobic activity. A higher EPOC level means you keep burning calories at an increased rate after a workout.

Regular low intensity cardio sessions only burn fat while you are doing the exercise. After you stop calorie burning stops. Steady state cardio just allows you to become more and more efficient at burning calories so you burn less and less each time for the same effort.

This is not going to be very effective in the long run because your body will adapt to this amount of physical activity very quickly. You will end up needing to increase the amount of time you are doing these sessions to continue to see results. This is not a very efficient means of weight loss.

2. No Loss of Hard Earned Muscle

Low intensity intervals for weight loss is synonomous with muscle loss. During high intensity exercise muscle is spared at the expense of other tissues if there is a need for it because it offers the stimulus necessary to tell the body it requires muscle. This is the bodies way to protect itself against stress, and exercise is a stressor.

When a muscle is taken to failure, an alarm goes off, telling the body it’s in danger and it must do something to protect itself. Therefore, muscle will be protected at the expense of fat.

Low intensity intervals may cause weight loss. However, in addition to fat, muscle can be lost. The alarm system that signals the body to spare muscle is not present. Your resistance is often not intense enough to trigger the body’s protective alarm.

Look at the bodies of marathon runners versus sprinters. Marathoners look almost
emaciated while sprinters are lean and muscular. Which would you prefer to look like?

Losing muscle is the complete opposite of what you want to do to lose weight. Your focus should be on gaining more muscle because muscle will burn fat during our resting periods.

3. Less Chance of Injury

Doing long continuous cardio sessions day after day puts a lot of stress on our joints. Over time, you will find many people have problems with overuse injuries in their knees, ankles and backs. Continuous loss of muscle will also cause an increase in the risk of osteoporosis.

4. Takes Less Time – More Bang For Your Buck.

HIIT sessions take only 20 minutes. This is great for the time crunched person who needs to get in and out of the gym quickly. With all the benefits of high interval training, why would you waste your most valuable commodity – your precious time?

5. Can Be Done With a Variety of Equipment

High intensity intervals can be done on elliptical trainers, recumbent bikes, treadmills, stair climbers or even outside jogging and walking (for the very beginner). You can also use kettle bells, body weight squats, body weight lunges or jump ropes. You are limited only by your imagination.

Save wear and tear on your body and increase your fat loss engines with high intensity interval training. Not only will you begin to see significant changes in your body, you will have more time to spend with your family.

Sample HIIT Workout using your choice of exercise equipment:

5 minute warm-up at about 40% intensity level.

Follow with 3 rounds of the following:
1 min. at 70-80% intensity level
2 min. at 50% intensity level

Finish with 5 minute cool down at a leisurely pace.

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This Saturday, my husband took me on a date.  It wasn’t anything extra special.  We bought some Speedway capuccinos and spent some time chatting at a local park.  No one was there so we had a nice peaceful afternoon together.  It was just what we needed to do – reconnect and rest. 

Rest is so important when following a exercise program.  Your body needs time to recover and rebuild itself.   Muscle is not built while you are working out, but later when you are resting.  When you resistance train you are breaking down muscle tissue.  Rebuilding happens while you are resting.  If you never rest, they never repair.

If you fail to give your body sufficient rest, you may find yourself fatigued or ill because your immune system is weakened.  You may get injured or end up at a plateau. 

Always schedule regular rest periods in your programs also.  If you have been following a 12 week fat loss program, give your body a week of rest before moving on to another program. 

Give yourself a break from calorie deficits also.  If you are constantly in a caloric deficit, you will find yourself with hormonal imbalances, mood swings, fatigue and possibly more.  Taking a week or two off while eating at maintenance level can do wonders for your hormones and fat loss progress.

Rest means the best fat loss results ever.  So, you have my permission – take a break!

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