Thursday, April 24, 2014

Inspiring Story- Tiree Part 1

I'm excited to share this story because it's only part way through and it's one of my closest friends throughout all of Bee. We have known each other since we were 6 years old. That's 20 years. Woah. 

I should really bust out pictures from when we were little girls. Anyways, as you can see, Tiree has always been beautiful and kept a nice body, despite her disdain for exercising and eating healthy....ha! But as teenagers she did battle anorexia. And exercise was just a joke to her. One time I tried to get her to run with me...she started down the street and quit within a couple minutes (I don't blame her for not wanting to run though...those were the days I ran despite my disliking it. ha). She is one of the people that taught me the reality of not being able to change someone's habits for them. She has been good for me. Our differences butt heads, yet mold us and remind us of God's grace. Despite my efforts (that never worked) to  help her, God grabbed her heart in many ways. And thank God from delivering her from anorexia and completely changing her life as a teenager! 

Through it all, beach days, sleepovers, fights, laughing attacks, church camps, weddings, etc we have been there and it wasn't until the babies started happening that I saw a real and lasting change in Tiree, with exercise and nutrition. 

This was baby's #1. Pregnant at the same time...not planned! She gained more than she wanted to/should have. After a few months post-partum, Tiree started exercising, sometimes too much. But she learned to balance and lose baby weight. 

Then we got pregnant with babies #2....and our other very close friend, Steph was pregnant with her first baby. Baby boom going on! 

She didn't gain as much with Paul but was still more than she wanted to be. After working hard and losing some weight for several months, Tiree got pregnant with baby #3 around the time baby Paul was 9 months old (Steph is pregnant as well and I am not joining them again...haha). 

But during this pregnancy she has kept up with exercising consistently and eating very well. With all her efforts she has achieved her goal so far of staying within 3 pounds of her starting weight this pregnancy!! Fantastic. Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean nothing can be reversed and in fact, it is a great time to eat even healthier and stay active because that GREATLY impacts the health of your growing baby. Tiree is doing an excellent job and I cannot wait to share more of her story after baby Job is born and she gets down to her goal size. 

I love you, Tiree and keep up the pace. You look fantastic, inside and out!

"As iron sharpens iron, one man (woman) sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Crunchy Oats and Honey Granola Bars

I've been wanting to make granola bars for a while but haven't done it since I make my cereal, which is kind of similar. But snacks/lunch on the go for my family is becoming more important and I don't want to have to be confined to mediocre food while out. As my girls start school in the future, I want to have fun lunch items that are tasty, inexpensive, and not processed junk. Let's face it, most granola bars are no different than candy bars. 

Anyways, these are pretty simple to make, contain protein, fiber, healthy fat, don't take tons of ingredients, use a natural sugar, and are very tasty! This is a serious win. I am actually pretty excited about them just by telling you what's in them. These are some of my motivations. Ha. I did not make this recipe up so I am not taking full credit. I will post the link at the bottom. I found it on pinterest. Gotta love pinterest! Here ya go...

1 ½ cups oats
¾ cup chopped almonds
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil 
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon

1. Mix oats, almonds, flaxseed, cinnamon and vanilla in medium size bowl.
2. In small saucepan, melt honey and cocnut oil together (you could probably sub olive oil for coconut oil if you never buy it).
3. Pour over dry mixture and stir.
4. Press into well-greased glass 8x8 pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.
6. Cool for 15 minutes minutes or so to let harden a little. 
7. Cut into bars while still warm but more solid. 
8. Cool in fridge to harden and then can be kept in fridge or room temperature. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

3 Exercises to Flatten Your Stomach

Getting a flat stomach is a challenge, especially after having kids. Immediately after having a baby you wonder how it will ever return to normal (like HERE). If you are like me and about 96% of women after pregnancy, then you may have a diastasis, or a split in your abs. It runs down the middle and it happens to accomodate your growing belly. It doesn't always close fully, and it's important that it does close most of the way to avoid injuries and give you a flat tummy. Check out my blog post HERE on more information about diastasis plus how to get started with easy exercises to close. 

I recently did Insanity and I will say that I enjoyed it. For those that know me, you know that I love weights and I love Chalene Johnson's programs. But it was great cardio training and awesome for the abs. So I'd like to share some exercises that really target the abs and helped flatten my stomach even more. All these exercises help bring your rectus abdominis (diastasis) together and they multi-task because they work the back, lower and upper abs. Boom. You'll see results. In fact, practicing these exercises regularly helped bring my diastasis completely back together. Woo hoo!

1. Push-up Jacks
Do a push-up and at the same time tighten the abs and spread your legs. It's fantastic and difficult.

2. Burpee
Start squatting on the floor, bring your legs out to a plank position, bring them back in to your chest and jump up. Keep your tummy sucked in and you'll feel sore abs later. 

3. High Knee run
These are not traditional high knees. You keep your booty low, kind of like squatting, and you run quickly, pumping your arms, keeping your stomach sucked in, almost like you're avoiding punches in your gut. The higher you lift your knees, the more you work your abs.

There you have it, add this to your planks and other fun ab exercises. You will feel it! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why You Should Exercise Less

Perfection is the thief to weight loss efforts. How many times have you set a goal or "resolution" to be a certain weight by a specific date? How many times have you tried a new workout plan, or just not even tried to exercise because you felt that you would not be able to exercise 6 or 7 days a week? How many of you have given up after a couple weeks because you're up at 5 AM busting your butt in the gym for 2 hours every day of the week? Well I am here to say NO MORE! Jump up and down, hoot and holler, or maybe fall on the floor and sigh. It's true. You can start exercising less to reach your goals, now let me share. 

First of all, a healthy lifestyle is not about being perfect, even when we make it seem that way. It's really just a journey of continually improving, knowing that we will never be perfect. As far as exercise, unless you are training for a sport, triatholon, or race, exercising endless hours a week is just not necessary. Training long can leave your efforts fruitless and make you more susceptible to injury. When you repeat the same activity for long periods of time there is more of a chance of over-working it and straining something. It's time to change our mindsets and train smart, not long. 

I hear all the time from new moms about how they're trying to lose baby weight by increasing their walking time or distance and eating less food. Walking is such a great place to start, I don't want to discourage activity, but let's face it, it's not going to get you a flat tummy and toned arms. And by the way, who even wants to spend 1.5 hours exercising 6 days a week just to try and reach your goals? Not me. Sure, during the warm months (there are so few here) I will spend hours outside doing activities but that's just pure fun. If I want to reach a goal then I am going to exercise less and make it effective. How do we do that? I'd like to go over a few ideas that you can incorporate today.

1. 30 Minutes- I average a 30 minute workout. That's per day. I'm not getting a babysitter and working out 2 ½ hours at a gym, then showering, and picking up my kids. That's not realistic! How would I get anything done in the day? I exercise 20-40 minutes about 5 days a week. There's 168 hours in a week. So I'm only taking roughly 2 ½ hours a week to workout. That's minimal. It's do-able. Even if you work a 60 hour work week you're still left with over 100 hours (56 technically sleeping hours if you sleep 8 hours a night) but 2 ½ or even 2 hours a week should be reasonable.

2. What you do with that 30 minutes of time is crucial. We all know that you should rotate weights days with cardio. There's a reason for that. They do different things in your body. Cardio (aerobic) means with oxygen. It works your lungs, heart, and circulatory system. Oxygen lives in every cell of your body, we need it to live. Cardio helps transport more of it throughout your body. It helps burn fat and burns the most calories during your workout. So if you have high blood pressure, struggle with your lungs, and want a stronger heart, then cardio is your friend (it's everybody's friend). But in order to improve all those things you must push harder during your workouts. Walking just doesn't cut it after a short time. Your heart won't get stronger if you walk at the same pace continually. 30 minutes of exercise means you need to be all in and out of breath by the end. That's a good thing! It means you are making strides. So instead of walking, get on an eliptical, get a cardio-based DVD, run the stairs in your house, ride a bike, swim, etc. Just give it your all and you'll succeed.

3. Weights are the other side of your workout. Lifting weights is anaerobic, which means without oxygen. It means that your body spares the oxygen to do the "heavy lifting." It burns more calories after the workout, which means a faster metabolism. Woot woot! But weights do so much more than just burn more calories. It builds muscle which makes your heart stronger, tightens your skin, shapes your body, protects your joints and bones, and makes cardio safer to do.
 When someone breaks their arm and it is in a cast for months, muscle atrophy (loss) is unavoidable. What happens when that cast comes off? Rebuilding muscle is important to keep from further injury and to be able to handle everyday tasks. It is so foundational to our bodies. Take a look at babies, what are the first things they do? Lift the head, roll over, plank, climb, squat, stretch, etc. They are building muscle! It's foundational for other movements. We must not take that for granted. When trying to get in shape we don't want to go out and start jogging (sorry couch to 5k), we need to start with these things of building muscle and doing functional exercises. 
What does this look like in a 30 minute workout? It's lifting heavier weights, making your muscles shake and fatigue after 10 reps, and utilizing large muscle groups like your legs. It's planking till you literally fall on the floor and doing push-ups even if you hate them. It's also stretching well. A flexible muscle gives your body more strength potential. 

4. I do want to address how many days a week you exercise. I know I said that I workout 5 days a week but this is another area where perfection is the enemy. IF you don't have 5 days a week to exercise then don't stress!!!! Even if you can commit to 2 days a week then do it. Some will just not even try because they think they have to live up to a certain standard. That is perfection trying to rob your efforts. I will say it again, a healthy lifestyle is a journey; that means you will have stages of life. To make something a habit, you must be consistent. 2 days a week of exercising will still benefit the body in so many ways, rather than not doing it at all. And once it becomes habitual, you may be able to fit it in other days a week because those 2 days a week increased your energy enough to make it through your workday plus a 20 minute workout. It really is worth it because exercise does give you more energy. 

5. Intervals. Take advantage of interval training with short workouts. This is bang for your "buck" right here. It is proven (I can give info) to burn more fat and calories in a 20 minute HIT (high intensity training) workout than a 60 minute steady state workout. An example is doing 30 seconds to a minute of an exercise that raises your heart rate so high you can't continue but brings it back down another 30 seconds to a minute of rest and repeating the routine. It's short bursts of level 10 intensity that utilizes aerobic and anaerobic activity. 2 for 1 and I am all for that! 

Therefore, this is not an extension of April Fools, this is reality. I am telling you to exercise LESS but in order to do that you must increase your intensity. It's proven and I am just one living testimonial. I can tell you that I am in better shape and am smaller than I was as a teenager when I exercised longer than I do now. I train smart and eat lean.