I saw something a while back that I thought was so clever - it was a list of the alphabet, and next to each letter was a specific exercise you did.
Well, I tried it...and I hated it! I didn't read through each exercise before I started, and I realized while doing it that it was the same 5 exercises over and over. So, it worked out that name workout was maybe 3 exercises over and over! Blah! Boring!!! Seriously, I can't handle that. I crave variety! I loved the idea still though, I just knew I'd need to create my own version of this workout!
I picked some awesome and difficult moves, some of which require free weights, but can easily be done without weights, or subbed for something else - when in doubt, just do jumping jacks or burpees! And if you're not sure what something is, just wing it!
Because I do get bored and need variety, sometimes I workout to a name that isn't mine at all! Hahaha, yes, I know that maybe sounds semi-psychotic! Seriously though, I'll pick a character I played in a show, a friend or family member, or a favourite character from a t.v. show or movie!
Working out should be fun, so have fun! Pick a name (maybe start with your own!), and go for it! I only do my first and last name because that's 19 exercises! If I added my middle name I'd be up to 27 moves! And because I am generally doing this "spell your name" workout name when I'm a little strapped for time, I just do my first and last name, and push as hard as I can. I've also done the whole alphabet, just for "fun"! : )
Hello! Happy Monday!
Our weekend was good, and really busy, and very tiring, but also wonderful!!! I hope your weekend was lovely!
I was contacted by an amazing gym called My Fitness Boutique in London, England about sharing a HIIT infographic that they've created.
If you know me at all, you know I fully believe in and stand by the idea and principals of HIIT training. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and basically it means instead of hours of cardio, you cram intense "bursts" of work into a smaller workout time. This method of working out has been around for quite a few years. I first started doing it about 7 years ago after my mother in law mentioned these "burst" workouts to me. The idea of a quick (but difficult) workout really appealed to me, as I was home with 3 young children, and hadn't the time, or space, to money, or equipment to do hours of cardio!
So, I'll pass this post onto the folks at My Fitness Boutique, and I hope you enjoy the awesome infographic they've created to help you understand HIIT, and why it's so amazing!!!
HIIT For Beginners
We now live in a world where people like things to be done fast.
We might order an occasional takeaway if we don’t have time to cook and we fully expect it to arrive at our door within 30 minutes. We expect a smartphone to be able to load a webpage within a few seconds. We expect to obtain score updates from a big game almost immediately through Twitter or a series of live scores apps.
When it comes to exercise, we all want it to be effective and to visibly lose fat and/or gain muscle as a result, but some of us aren’t prepared to hang around for those results to take hold. If you want a fast track to a better body without taking the type of shortcut that will ultimately do more harm than good, then High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is perfect for you!
Indeed, as this infographic we've create at My Fitness Boutique shows, an increasing number of people are embracing the efficient and effective practice of HIIT workouts. There are numerous studies to show that high intensity workouts can often be much more effective than steady state cardio, so not only are you achieving quicker fitness results, but you’re also getting better fitness results.
In that case, HIIT seems to be all sweetness and light, but the process tends to be gruelling. Keep in mind the words ‘high intensity’! HIIT works faster, but it also requires you to work out faster and harder than ever before.
You may find that you don’t have the stamina for high intensity exercises, but the mistake many people make is to try and achieve too much too soon. Instead of drastically altering your fitness routine, impose changes and targets gradually so that the goals are realistic and you’re still succeeding in adding intensity to your workouts.
If you’re prepared to endure the severity of HIIT workouts for a quicker, more effective route to your fitness goals, then take a look at the infographic below for some high intensity exercise ideas!
Thanks My Fitness Boutique for wanting to educate and encourage people on their journey to being healthy & fit!
Being a better, healthier version of yourself doesn't have to take hours from your day. Honestly, taking 10 minutes a day to workout can have tremendous benefits to your body and mind! Even if your goal isn't to become muscular, or even to loose any fat, just working out or getting some form of exercise is making you better! It shows some discipline, motivation, and that you are willing to take some time for yourself!
I hope you give HIIT a try if you've never tried it before, and share the message with your friends and family! Because sharing a simple, life-giving tip to others is a wonderful thing you can do!
Yes, well, you did read that title right!
I want to share with you today someone I've recently subscribed to on YouTube. I'd actually done one of his videos a long time ago, but wasn't hooked. It was a 20 minute jump rope video and it just wasn't my fav. I realize it's confusing to start a post about something I love by saying I didn't like it! But seriously, doesn't that happen?! You really are unsure (or strait up hate/dislike) something, and then you just give it a solid effort and then you realize how much you enjoy it!? Maybe it's just me, but it happens all the time!
Anyway, while looking on YouTube for a workout video, one of the other channels I subscribe to, BeFit, had a bunch of videos featuring this guy from the jump rope video. I was looking for a quick and hard workout, so I thought I'd give him a try again.
Well, turns out he's the freakin' best. Ok, I'll admit calling someone "the best" is pretty relative, but take my word for it - if you're looking for a workout to seriously kick your butt, and have a laugh, and feel like you're working out with your friend who happens to swear like a sailor, you will LOVE Mike!
Mike Donavanik is his name, and his shirt status in the intros to a lot of his workous? Non-exsistent. Why does this matter? It doesn't.
Except when your 8 year old daughter asks if he's wearing clothes at all and you need to explain he is....or you hope he is....but you can definitely reassure her that he wears clothes during the workout.
I wanetd to narrow down the videos and show you my favourite today, but basically ALL of his videos are my favourite!
He works you hard (especially if you try to keep pace with him!), and if you're slightly ADD when it comes to working out (like I am), you'll appreciate that he rarely repeats moves. I mean, yes, he does some times, but it's not the kind of workout where you do 4 moves, and then repeat that circuit of 4 moves 5 times! That makes my brain so upset! I like to kick-ass in a move and know that I won't have to do it again!
Anyway, here's one of my favourites! He even has his shirt on in the intro! : )
One of my favourite things about Mike's videos is seeing how hard he's working, and how difficult it is for him (even though he's super fit) and feeling like you're not alone in your torrent of sweat dripping down your face!
I hate feeling like I'm working SO HARD at a workout, and the pretty person leading the workout is still fresh and happy looking! I'm freakin' dying and they're just have beautiful rosy cheeks and are still smiling!
With Mike you'll get someone leading you through a workout who is super sweaty, swears, and make crazy faces.
I can relate to that!!!
Since the spring I've been struggling with getting back into better shape. The spring was very stressful for me, and I didn't workout as often or as hard as I wanted to, and my eating habits were getting pretty derailed.
So, the end of the summer and early fall I really buckled down and started eating better and trying to workout harder and smarter....but it seemed like nothing was changing.
I realized that my workouts, although they were tough, were not kicking me into gear like I needed them to. They were difficult, but not the leave me with a purple face, sweat everywhere, and a serious jello legs kind of difficult. I think when working out we know if we're giving our all, or just trying to do it so we can say we did. And that's what I was doing. I was doing good workouts, but not really pushing myself hard enough.
Then I started these workouts with Mike at the end of October, and I'm down 2 inches on my wasit, an inch on each leg, down 5lbs in total weight, my arms are getting definition again, and my stomach is getting flatter again. And I wore a pair of jeans. On purpose. : )
If you know me you know that I basically only ever wear leggings. I wear them because they're cozy, they go well with all my whacko sweaters I own, and they are forgiving for when the waist is growing or shrinking!
But, I wore jeans. And they fit great! They'd been hiding in my pant drawer since last winter, and I had tried to wear them once just before summer...and it was a little upsetting how they didn't fit well at all! So, to wear my fav jeans again, and feel comfortable in them was amazing! I literally put them on, and proclaimed, "I LOVE Mike!". My adoring husband just rolled his eyes at me. : )
This past weekend was my husbands work Christmas party. I had kinda sorta wanted to get a new dress for it, but I hate shopping. Seriously hate it. Anyway, after we spent many hours at the mall with me going "bleh", "meh", and "yuk!" to many dresses I finally found one I liked. I grabbed the size I thought I needed and headed to the changeroom to try it on, but ended up needing a store employee to bring me one 2 sizes smaller to try on instead! That's me wearing the dress in the photos above!
So, Mike, thanks for the new motivation, the new found love of working out, and for the new dress, 2 sizes smaller than I thought I would have been wearing!
If you want to try some new workouts, head over to Mike's YouTube channel (MikeDFitness), and give them a whirl. Seriously, just doing one of his 10 minute workouts will leave you feeling whipped!
Can I also say though that my version of being fit doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) your version. In October, while a friend was visiting, I told her I'd put on 15-lbs and had lost a lot of muscle and muscle definition during the spring and summer, and she was like, "what? For real? You weigh 15-lbs more than before?". She's not the kind of person to be nice just for the sake of it, and it reminded me that I am my biggest critic, and I need to be kinder to myself. For me though, I only care moderately what other people think of me and how I look. What I care about more is how I feel in my body, my clothes and how healthy I feel (getting good sleep, having lots of energy, stable moods, etc.).
So, that's it! I hope you check out Mike's videos, and I hope you had a good weekend and have a great week!
Sometimes I do a workout plan that lasts a month or more, but more often than not I end up trolling through YouTube looking for something I think looks like it'll be challenging and still fun. Well, this video met both of these requirements!
Sweaty Betty (a health & fitness brand) has a Get Fit 4 Free series on their YouTube channel, and I just loved this one from Body By Simone. It was enjoyable while kicking my butt! You can't beat that! : )
Just a quick share of some of my favourite workouts!
I'll start ya with a 30 minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout, then let you cool down with a 15 minute yoga routine.
Weeks 1 & 2 of my February long "Keep It Real" series we talked about "real simple" and "real food".
Today let's talk about keeping health & fitness real interesting!
I know grammatically the word should be "really", but I live in the sticks, and saying something like, "real interesting" isn't uncommon, and I like it!
Grammar aside, let's talk about keeping things interesting in health & fitness!
If there is anything I've learned on this journey through health & fitness, it's that what you eat and how you workout need to be interesting. If you do the same thing over and over and over and over and over (you get it), then you'll get bored and quit!
There are often times where you naturally fall into a routine, and that sameness can be comforting. But you need to be listening to yourself. A comfortable routine can slowly turn into feeling trapped. That little voice in your head that says, "ugh....more salad....." as you're prepping your 15th salad in a row for dinner. Or that same voice that says, "I am so not looking forward to my workout today because I've done the same one for the last month...."
That voice is the voice of health & fitness boredom, and that voice is not your friend!!! It's like the little angel and devil sitting on your shoulders telling you the right and wrong things to do, except one of these little creatures would be an unhealthy, sickly thing, and then there would be a healthy & happy one. Well, the "this is boring" voice is coming from the sick and unhealthy one. After thinking up this clever notion I Googled "angel and devil on shoulder", and found the images below. So much for being original! Haha...fail.
One key in keeping it interesting is being willing to try new things. If you keep saying, "I only really like (fill in the blank), and so that's all you ever try, eventually you will become bored of it.
If you like having a workout video, see if a friend has one too and ask if you can borrow it or swap with one you have for a time.
If you need new recipes (and have the internet....which I feel I can safely assume you do because you are reading this...), then decide to look up 3 new, healthy recipes to try in the next 3 weeks. Or you can go to a local library and see what healthy recipe books or magazines they have that you can borrow to try out some new things (you may also find some workout videos there too!).
So, allow me to share with you some of my favourite recipes and workouts and maybe you can add them to your life to keep things "real interesting!"
Favourite Healthy Recipes
Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad from Cafe Delites
There is brown sugar in the marinade/dressing that I have omitted and the salad was still amazing!
Cauliflower Chowder from Yes, More Please!
Super yummy, super filling, super-duper!
Chicken with Rosemary & Mushrooms from Paleo Foodie Kitchen
Such a simple recipe, but really full of flavour!
A 20 minute workout from POPSUGAR Fitness
10 Minute Jump Rope with Tony Horton
15 Minute Power Yoga with Yoga by Candace
A great way to find variety in YouTube without feeling overwhelmed is by finding a few channels you like (the 3 above are my favourites), and then just start working through their videos, and liking (clicking the thumbs up icon) the ones you really enjoyed to have as a reference for later use.
The other thing about workouts and keeping them real is to keep them challenging too. You will get bored if you consistently choose workouts that are too easy for you. Challenge yourself and your brain won't get so bored!
A few other ways to keep workouts interesting is to workout with a friend. I personally prefer working out alone, but if you're more social, than maybe having a friend to workout with will give you the boost you need in your workouts. Another thing you can do is to add new music to a playlist you might use while working out. Even just adding 3 new songs can add up to 15 more minutes of music that will be keeping you moving!
So my friends, don't get stuck in a rut! There is no reason to in this day and age where we have so many resources available to us! Arm yourself with new and interesting recipes and workouts so that you can succeed in being the healthiest you possible!
A lot of people talk about and focus on weight loss. If you're looking to lose weight, well.....ok. But might I suggest instead that you consider losing fat instead? Is there a difference? Oh yes, oh yes indeed!
The last few weeks I've been working at losing some of the extra Christmas love I got (read: lots of visiting, staying up late and snacking!), but, the scale hasn't budged. What has budged though is how I feel in my pants, bras, and shirts. Seriously, I look in the mirror at myself everyday and can see the difference that getting back home, working out hard and eating clean have made. But the scale won't agree. Why? Because the fat I'd collected over the holidays weighs less than the muscle I'm re-gaining, but the fat also takes up more room than the muscle. So, my shape and size are changing, but not the number on the scale.
This idea can help put some of your "defeats" in perspective.
Ever have a week where you nailed your workout every day, ate like a super-clean super-human, drank all the water you should, blah blah blah.....and then you step on the scale at the end of the week and.....drum roll...., you lost 1-lb? You're standing there thinking, "well, THAT was a waste! I'm eatin' me a 1 kg bag of peanut M&M's for breakfast now since it doesn't seem to make any difference!". Or maybe I'm the only one who's ever felt like that...? Haha, for realz, it's not just me!
But here's what your body is doing "behind the scenes". First of all, it's not turning fat into muscle. That would be a magic trick! That's like trying to change pork fat into a chicken breast--on a living chicken!
You can looe fat and muscle, or gain fat and muscle. But, fat and muscle are not inter-changeable, so just get that idea outta yer head! : )
I like they way they said it on bodybuilding.com "Muscle mass and fat are two different animals: Muscle is active tissue that burns calories around the clock even as you sleep, kind of like an engine running in neutral. When you move around, you burn more calories, just like a car will consume more gas the faster you go. Fat, on the other hand, is just a storage of excess energy. It does nothing but sit there with its sole goal in life to be a spare tire around your waist until you put in the effort to burn it off" (emphasis mine).
So, the body isn't doing any magic tricks, but is just functioning as it's being asked to. You are either asking your body to gain or lose fat, or to gain or lose muscle.
So, if your scale doesn't seem to be cooperating with your best efforts, can ask yourself, "have I been working out hard using weights, or my body weight? Could I be gaining muscle and that's why the scale isn't getting lower??". The answer will almost always be yes....unless all you're doing is cardio......
Oh boy, so, for a long, long, long time you've heard "do more cardio to lose more weight!!!", and that's true to a degree.....except than you're really only losing fat and not gaining any muscle (and muscle burns calories, so the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while NOT working out). So, you can run your heart out, lose big numbers on the scale, but then you'll end up with a "skinny fat" body. Basically, a body that seems small or skinny, but has low or no muscle definition. If you are stuck in a "skinny-fat rut", read this article, or this article from muscleforlife.com
Rethink your approach to "loss". Focus on gaining muscle. Focus on working hard. Don't focus on calories burned (GASP!). Just don't for now. Start in a place where you are telling yourself, "my plan is to build muscle, & get strong"
Below are some images of different bodies at different weights and you can see that the heavier in weight photos are the muscled, trim bodies. I also included some replica fat vs. muscle photos that I find intriguing! Because I'm a geek. : )
I think these pictures say a lot, don't they! I find them an encouraging reminder that fat loss and weight loss are very different games!
Don't be discouraged if you're not "losing weight" as fast as you want. Keep measurements, keep trying on one particular pair of pants and take note on how they feel on your waist and legs, and, of course, stay positive! Rome wasn't built in a day, and the body or health & fitness goals you have in mind won't develop in one day either!
If you want a great body weight workout, I've included one of my favourites below! It's one of my best loved YouTubers, Tony Horton, as a guest on another of my top-pick channels POPSUGARfitness! To fav's for the price of one!
In this video Tony takes you through a 10 minute, full body burn! You will love it!
And that is all I have for you today!
Please let me know if you have any thoughts, comments or concerns, or just say "hi"!
Amy-Lyn, checking out! : )
....And now some legal jargon....
Remember that I am not a certified health & fitness professional! Read my Disclosure Policy HERE
Truth is, when you're trying to eat healthy, a holiday coming up can seem overwhelming!
You want to enjoy visiting family & friends, but you don't necessarily want to jump off the healthy-living-bandwagon either! It is easy though (really, really easy!) to get caught up in eating 'til it hurts, trying every creamy, fatty, salty & tasty thing you see, and topping it all off with a glass or two (or bottle) of wine! Whomp whomp.
There are ways to get through, ya just need to keep your head screwed on tight, and stay calm! : )
Follow me while I offer you 5 tips to help you get through the holiday season without loosing your mind (or waistline)!
Going to someones house in the evening where you'll be having a feast, or meeting up with friends at a restaurant? Then consider not eating a monster breakfast & lunch first!
It can be a bad idea to show up starving because then you might be inclined to scarf down every morsel you see, but showing up already thoroughly fed, then feeling like it'll be rude to not eat dinner (and dessert) can leave you overly full of food and calories.
And, knowing what might be for dinner can help you decide what things to eat beforehand. Eating raw fruits and veggies during the day can help you get the nutrients you need that you may not get at dinner, and they won't leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable!
Lastly, be prepared to say no! Don't be mean, but you don't have to eat everything that is offered to you! You can politely say "no thank-you".
Make a Healthy Contribution
Going to a pot luck? Bring a tray of veggies or fruit! They aren't always something people think to bring, but in my experience, they always get eaten up! And make it a good colourful tray of food, it gives lots of variety and ensures everyone finds something they like. And, it means you know you'll be getting a serving or two of goodness!
It may seem like a boring contribution, but it will be appreciated. Take the healthy tray a step further by offering a healthier dip like hummus, guacamole, or try one of these 5 dips from Body Building.com, and don't even bother with fruit dip! What the heck?! Fruit is natures candy, and you need a dip for it? I think not. Good golly. I feel strongly about fruit dip being ridiculous, but if you insist on having it, try to whip up a healthy version like mixing greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon together. But I still think it's ridiculous.
Bringing these may also help you if there are a bunch of pre-dinner snacks and appetizers, and will give you a healthy option to mix in with the hors d'oeuvres or candied nuts you may sample.
One last note, if you're short on time or ambition, both veggie and fruit trays can be purchased at grocery stores, all ready for you! And if you have time, ambition, and don't want to bring something "boring", there are many ways to make a fruit or veggie tray amazing! Check out some of those amazing images above!
Plan to Enjoy
If you say, "I am not going to eat ANY sweets tonight!"....you probably will. Thumbs down. The thumbs down is not because you couldn't resist, but that you're now lugging around guilt over a failed healthy eating attempt, and that guilt could lead you to keep making bad choices because, "you've already messed up".
Well, my dear friend, stop that! I said stop it! : )
Try telling yourself instead, "I know there will be lots of dessert there tonight, and I love chocolate, so I will try a chocolate dessert if there is one that looks great!", or, "I love cheesecake, so if there is one I'll have a slice!". Make it part of your plan, your first draft, black and white plan. Not your emergency, all systems failing plan! The holidays often bring out specific desserts or foods that are special, so keep those in mind too. Instead of inhaling that store bought cookie you can literally buy any time you wanted, enjoy the amazing pumpkin pie your aunt brings, or buttery & beautifully frosted shortbread cookies (my weakness!)
You know what makes off-limits food seem super-duper irresistible? Telling yourself you can't have any of them! It's true! Studies have shown that feeling deprived (even if you are well fed) can lead to over-eating! Geepers!
Be kind to yourself, show yourself some grace, and plan to enjoy some treats. SOME treats, not ALL the treats. :) ....I am talking to my own sweet tooth....
If you drink wine, don't use a jumbo wine glass if you can help it, A huge glass looks sad half-full, but a smaller glass looks more satisfying filled to the top! It can still be a 6 oz serving, but they will have a different effect on your mind and how you see it. You feel like you are enjoying a nice full glass of wine, which will leave you feeling more satisfied with it. The photo above shows a 6oz serving of wine in different glasses, and you can see the difference! Also, I know there are "rules" about which glass is for which type of wine....but let's be honest, unless you're a wine connoisseur (which most of us are not!), you won't really notice the difference!
If you enjoy a mixed drink, try it in a tumbler instead of in a tall glass. You will be drinking just a little less liquor, and less mix too. And while we're at it, try having your mix with ice and water, carbonated water (otherwise known as soda water, club soda, sparkling water, or fizzy water). There are even quite a few types of fruit flavoured fizzy waters that don't contain any added sugar and make a nice alternative if you really dislike plain carbonated water. A real fruit, no sugar added fruit juice is also a better choice than (soda) pop or artificial, full of sugar juice.
If you have the option, beers, ciders or anything out of a can or bottle can be poured into a glass. Taking the time to pour the drink into a glass helps you stop and take notice of your actions and be a little more mentally aware of your drinking.
And don't forget to drink water! Try your darndest to alternate between alcohol & water as this will keep you from drinking too much, and will help you feel better the next day!
And, of course, be sure to fit in some exercise!
It can seem difficult to find the time or motivation, but take 10-15 minutes to do a HIIT workout, or go for an after dinner walk with family, just find something you can do to help your body get moving and feeling it's best!
I created the workout above with maximum sweat in mind! It's a tough one! Some of the moves may be unfamiliar (like butt kickers or the extreme mule kick-it's my new favourite move!), but do your best, if you don't know what something is, do something similar (like a regular ab crunch instead of a v-sit) push yourself, and you'll be glad you did!
Most important during this time is to be realistic. Life gets turned upside down, and your usual food & exercise plan will shaken up! Don't expect to eat a completely clean diet while visiting your best-baker-in-the-world sister, or most-amazing-deep-fried turkey uncle! Don't expect to be able to go for a 1 hour bike ride when you've got all your family over, or plan a 2 hour gym excursion when you are out of town visiting family or friends! Maybe you will manage to do those things, but there is a better chance you won't!
Be prepared for glitches, be prepared for temptations, be prepared for peer pressure, be prepared to feel lazy and tired, but be prepared to do your holiday best! Not your usual best, but your holiday best! There is a difference!
Above all else, enjoy whatever the holiday season means to you and your family. Whether it's simple or complex, fancy or not so much, just take the time to appreciate whatever Christmas offers you. And be sure to look at what you can offer Christmas! Giving & sharing, offering peace and joy, these are parts of Christmas you can give away to anyone and everyone. Smiling at someone, holding the door open, just putting others first during this hectic season can make the season bright!
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
Welcome to my