Exercise is like brushing your teeth.

Exercise should be like brushing your teeth, something you do daily. That’s how I think about exercise. Besides not brushing your teeth for a a month or two would be pretty gross and you wouldn’t do that. At least I hope you wouldn’t. Sometimes you have to change how you think about something to start getting it into your life.

Exercise is good for you that’s something we all know, its the implementing of it that is difficult. I rarely hear an excuse that someone was just way too busy to watch the current episode of Game of Thrones, but my they were too busy to exercise. Really it should be the opposite or try combining the two. I watch movies or shows while I peddle away on the stationary bike.

I’ve been told how consistent of an exerciser I am and that is because I made a point to become one. This did not happen overnight but over years. Now I feel off when I am not active, it doesn’t feel good. Yes, there are days I don’t want to but I’ve learned that most of the time and by most I mean 99% of the time I am happy I have exercised.

There are a lot of Tv show and movie workout out there. Game Of Thrones is an easy on to do this for, try this next weekend while watching the season premiere.

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There Will Never Be A Perfect Time

I’m a planner and a researcher. I like to know the ins and outs of what I’m doing but sometimes all that planning and researching starts to get in the way. That’s not a good thing. When I start getting hung up on getting things just right so I can get started. I stop and take a deep breath…
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And stop getting ready to do. Because there will never be a perfect time in your life for anything. There will never be a time that you magically start exercising because its the absolute perfect time and that hour you needed for it appeared. That doesn’t happen. there is not house elf who stocks my fridge with healthy food ready for me to eat.

There’s never, ever going to be a perfect time do or start on anything. The choice to just start has to be made and made over and over again. Will it be the perfect time. I doubt it. So what do you do?

You start, just start this very second. No you do not need to jump up and exercise this very second, just today sometime. Even if its just for five minutes.

Research is not going anywhere, if anything its being added to. Starting and still learning is good. After decade plus of yoga I am still researching it and learning.

To steal a line from Nike, “Just do it.” Schedule it, yes I am big on scheduling your exercise time and treating it like an appointment.

Try things. You can read all you want but what works for me might not work for you. Try other peoples strategies and keep what works. Two of mine are carrot and celery sticks and freezer meals.

The perfect time will never happen no matter how long you plan, strategize, think, research, etc. All you can do is start now and try things out. Get started and stop waiting

Monthly Groove: DIY Risers for a Barbell

This month’s groove is a DIY project. I’m at the point in my lifting plan (NROLS) that I am heading into deadlfits. My 22 pound plates are taller than me 25 pound plates so i start with my 22s but they are only 5 inches high when my starting position should be 8 inches unless I want to lift from a deficit.
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This is one of those things that’s important but for a home gym risers for the barbell, well I can think of other things I’d rather spend my money on. A second set of handles for dumbbells and two more 10 pound plates come to mind. So I thought on this for a long while.

My first inclinations was to hit up our scrap pile of wood. The one big issue there would be needing to make stops for it, heavy things rolling off risers does not sound like fun. I kept that in the back of my mind and kept searching.
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One day as I was pulling a bunch of old magazines out of the crawl space it came to me. Magazines! I have plenty of them. I got out the trusty duct tape and made myself magazine risers. Since they are paper they have more give so my barbell won’t roll off and away when I’m not using it.

This was a simple and easy thing to do. You will need
Magazines
Duct tape or some other heavy duty tape
A ruler

Measure you tallest plate. Mine was 5 inches which meant I needed about 3 inches of magazine height. Stack the magazines, measure, tape up. Repeat to make two. I checked and make sure my magazines were level for my second stack by comparing it to the first stack.

Don’t lift more than 5 pounds? My purse weighs more…

Whenever I come across information that tells women not to lift more than five pounds, it makes me wonder how they came up with that number. Why is five pounds the alleged magic number for women and weights? Nothing in our lives weighs more than five pounds? How is that even helpful to anyone?

It makes me think about what I pick up in a day. How heavy is that bag of groceries? More than five pounds that’s for sure. Women pick up heavy things everyday in real life. Kids weigh a lot more than 5 pounds, even my little cat weighs more than 5 pounds. I carry her around with one hand.
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My guess is my purse weighs more than 5 pounds too. Which lead me to ask just how much does my purse weigh and pull out a scale. The current state of my purse is that it needs to be cleaned out. It stays that way for months. So the contents of my purse in its current state is typical.

My purse weighs 8.8 pounds. I thought it was going to be 9 or 10 pounds so I was pleased to come in under my guess. I was correct that I carry around over a pound of lipsticks. Its been this way for months now and I just keep collecting more change so it will only get heavier until I break down and empty it out.

Next time you time you hear the message women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, ignore them. It is a ridiculous idea that women are either incapable of lifting heavy things or that we shall wind up with big bulging muscles (most of never will get to bulgy). For me lifting heavy things had made me more compact and strong enough to lug my heavy purse around all day with no problem.

Don’t let others ignorance hold you back from strength training. Lifting heavy things will do wonderful things for your health and your vanity.

Tips for Staying Healthy in the Winter

The holidays are over and its now January with its lack of light, some nice cold weather and a ton of wind. January is the anti month for getting outside and raw foods sound well cold and raw. It is the month that I struggle the most with getting my veg and fruit in. Here are my top tips for surviving January and staying healthy.
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Tip number one is for getting some veg and fruit in your diet via the green smoothie. They can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. They always perk me up.

Tip two indulge in some cardio. I’ve pulled out my old school videos (yes, videos) and added in one long indoor cardio session. Gets the blood flowing and your mood will improve as you try and Hiphop along with Paula Abdul or get really old school with Kathy Smith. Kickboxing is another favorite of mine. Janice Saffell delivers a great workout.

Tip three soup. Soup is nourishing and comforting. You can veg it up, plus it hydrates. Make a nice broth based soup for dinner or lunch.

Tip four, don’t forget to drink your water too, winter heating dries you out. Winter in general can mean lower humidity levels and you don’t sweat as much. This makes it easy to ignore water.

And tip five is yoga tells us if we feel sluggish we need to get our energy moving. Try this simple exercise: Sit on the floor cross legged and than get up without using your arms if possible, sit back down, repeat this for one minute. You will give your systems an energy boost.

There they are my tips for staying healthy this month. What do you do to stay healthy?

Forward, the Word of My Year

I’ve never given my year a theme or a word, but last week this concept showed up twice. Thanks to Cora Poage and Cathy Brown Sykora for inspiring me to come up with my own word for the year. Mine is Forward. Why did I pick forward? Because that’s what I need to do, remember to be fearless and move forward.
 photo Forward.jpgMomentum is so strong at this time of year, people love new beginnings and fresh starts. The new year gives us that in force. We are gung ho to stick to our resolutions, our promises made to ourselves and than inertia sets in. The year is no longer new resolutions and promises fall to the wayside.

The last resolution I made was to resolve when I needed to and it works so I stick to it. But word is something different, an embodiment of what this year is going to be and that is going Forward especially where my business is concerned. Forward, I like how that sounds.

One of my Forward actions is my 14 Day Jump Into Healthy which launches today! *squees* This is the stuff I thrive on. Helping others who feel confused figure out their healthy. Jump Into Healthy is 14 days of steps to help you begin cooking at home, get moving, and start managing your stress. If you are interested sign up here.

Home Gym

Working out at home has a some great advantages: short commute time and being able to wear your grungies. Collecting equipment for my home gym has taken a few years. The collecting really started after I decided to continue lifting.
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New Rules of Lifting for Women was my gateway program. I had such good results and after realizing how weak I was, I loved feeling stronger. I did NROLW with dumbbells, even though it called for a barbell for some exercises. At that point in time plunking down a large sum of money for equipment that might never get used again was not appealing. So I improvised.

I started with a swiss ball, a yoga mat, and dumbbells (we already had the dumbbells.) Than added a barbell starter set, a bench, and eventually more plates for the barbell. Somethings I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy yet, sticker shock. Platforms to jump onto are expensive. Here’s what I have collected over the years.

Swiss ball is one of the first things I acquired, love that ball. It used to be used for crunches. Now I do roll outs with it and mountain climbers and supine hip extension.

Barbell and weight plates. I bought a standard barbell space is an issue the length works well for the area I have. There are other options pick the one that works for you. It has taken a couple years for me to outgrow my 100 pound starter set. It came with dumbbell handles so you get the best of both world. I need to pick up another set of handles so I can have more weight options when doing two dumbbell exercises back to back

Bench. This is the one item I wished I’d researched more or seen in person before buying it. I like my bench and it works well, not sure I love it. It has a few accoutrements on it that I didn’t want and don’t use but it was a good price and I got free shipping on it. You will need it for bench presses, step ups, inverted rows and more.

Stationary bike stand, I use it a lot especially in the winter. I use my old road bike for it. Easy to set up and take down as needed

Cold Weather Running

Holy fracking moly its been cold here. It was in the negatives for several days and everyone is cold and sick of the cold. Feeding horses in -20F temps is miserable. I keep thinking of the kid in “The Christmas Story” when he can’t put his arms down.
 photo huge-snow-suit.jpgIt is perfectly safe to get out there and exercise in the extreme cold. It is not going to harm your lungs or damage your body. There is a good chance you aren’t going hit any records in the extreme cold. Most people tend to do best between 36 and 52 Fahrenheit. When it is really cold out your body has to put more energy into staying warm which means less oxygen for your muscles.

I am no way opposed to running in winter. I’d rather be chilly than hot when running. But with the cold in the negatives I know that my running clothes collection does not have what I need to go out there and run safely. I’m good down to about 9F with some windchill but after that I’d need more specialized clothes than I already have.

Few things I have learned over the years are…

1. You probably need to take off a layer. It sounds wrong but you want to on the chilly side when starting your run. You will warm up.

2. Run short or for time. Cold and snowy makes for a slow run, get out and enjoy the scenery.

3. Kickboxing makes a really good substitute for running.

4. Get a grips make a big difference between no traction and some traction. I have had a pair of them for ages. I’m a on a dirt road and run on snow pack, they will help on ice, but I would walk the icy bits.

I know I am ready for some warmer weather about now, it would be nice to get back outside and enjoy it.

Lost your Exercise Mojo?

Sometimes you just lose your exercise mojo. For whatever reason you just do not want to exercise at all. Those favorite activities become a chore and just something to go through the motions with or skip it completely. It happens, sometimes the exercise mojo just goes away. So what do you do when that happens?
 photo 23520d60-2dde-4055-9acd-e5a6e88729e0.jpg1. Take a rest week. Do not exercise and if you have been eating at a deficit eat at maintenance for this week. Its about long term health, sometimes losing the mojo is a sign we need to rest.

2. So you took the rest week and still don’t have any mojo. *raises hand* Dial it back. This is not the time to push your limits. Keep a minimum of activity going on formal or informal. I’m currently in a dial it back phase as my mojo is so fracking missing.

3. Do something different. Try a new class or exercise routine. If you love vinyasa yoga try relaxation yoga. That different thing might be more rest days if you already exercise consistently.

4.No judging or blaming yourself. Being stern with yourself is not going to help. Mojo loss is not the usual hemming and hawing about exercise, don’t yell at yourself. What would you tell a friend? I bet you would tell them to rest and dial it back.

5. Mojo loss is temporary. You will want to exercise again, don’t worry, it will come back. Not wanting to exercise at all means to me that my mind and body are trying to tell me something, especially when I finish a workout and still feel blah or tired.

When all exercise sounds awful listen to your body and mind. Taking some time to rest, de-load, or dial back is healthy and in the long run better than forcing yourself through mojo loss.

Surviving the Holidays

Surviving the holidays can seem like a collision course. We are thrown together more often and not always with the folks we want to be with. There is food everywhere calling our name, sometimes with an aunt or friend urging us to have a bit of this and that with a third helping on top. It gets stressful navigating that collision course.

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Here are my top tips for making it through.

1. Breathe! Inhale, exhale, repeat. Long deep breathing has saved me so many times.

2. Eat what you love not what you think you should. That means when Auntie Alice is trying to make you take a huge portion of something you hate, you say no. Life is too short to eat food you hate. Eating carrots when all you really want is stuffing makes for a sorry existence and over eating. Eat what you love.

3. Keep exercising. Your normal schedule might be too much but keep active. It just will make you feel better and kickboxing can be a great way to release stress after repeatedly denying Auntie Alice.

4. When all else fails laugh. A co-worker at my first job used to say “I have to laugh or I would cry.” That has stuck with me. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation.

What do you do to survive the holiday season?