Category Archives: fitness

10 K Training Guide

motivational-quotes-2191Congratulation, you have decided to bring it up a notch and run your first 10K. You might be wondering where you are going to start and what you need to do. Below is a fun, 8 week training plan that will help you prepare for a successful, stress free race. In anticipation of Preachtree Road Race, we will be offering an expanded edition of this training plan starting on May 1st. The expanded program will include 8 weeks of cross training workouts, stretching guide, and a meal plan.

10K or 6.2 miles is a fun distance to run. You have successfully graduated up from 5K and moved on to the next level. It is easier and takes less time to prepare for than a half marathon, with manageable training hours, and you can still go out dancing after the race.

Before you start training for your 10K race, you should get a full workup from your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for this kind of activity. You should have a reasonably good level of physical fitness and should have done some sort of running / walking in the past. If you are new to running, I would suggest starting at a 5K level. There are plenty of programs and apps available to train you for your very first 5K race.

How This Program Works:

Cross Training (CT): Simply put cross training can be anything that isn’t running. It can be swimming, cycling, walking, and weight training or any other form of aerobic activity. However, recent research has shown that runners benefit more from weight training and exercises that builds underactive core muscles than from any other form of cross training. My recommendation is combining weight training and other forms of cardio for a complete, well rounded workout.

For example, you could do 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike at the beginning of your workout, 20 minutes of weight training, 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike, and 5 minutes of stretching as your cross training.

For a list of cross training workouts, check back on May 1st for an expanded 10 K prep guide.

Running: This part is fairly simple – go run. It is preferable to train on the same surface as the race, so go outside and hit the pavement (or a trail if you are doing a trail run). If the weather doesn’t allow you to do so, set your treadmill incline to 1.5 -2.0 for your running workouts.

You should be able to run at a comfortable pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. If you find yourself unable to talk, or only talk in short phrases, you are running too fast.

Rest: Rest is extremely important. On rest days you should take it easy, give your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild.

Long Run: This is the longest run of the week. Typically a long run is done at a slow pace.

Walking: Walking is so underrated! In this 8 week training plan, I have a walk scheduled for Friday (the day before your long run). A walk will keep your muscles active with less stress. It is a great way to recuperate from the week of training before your long run. Feel free to walk at any point during your runs too! No one cares if you run the whole race (unless that is your goal). If you are tired and you know you can’t push through, walk!

Below is an 8 weeks training schedule. Feel free to modify it to fit your life, this is merely a guide to help you get started. If you would like a personalized, custom training guide, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be honored to help you reach your 10 K training goals.

8 Week 10K Training Schedule:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT 1 M CT 1 M Walk 2 M Rest
2 CT 1.5 M CT 1.5 M Walk 3 M Rest
3 CT 2 M CT 2 M Walk 4 M Rest
4 CT 2.5 M CT 2.5 M Walk 5 M Rest
5 CT 1.5 M CT 1.5 M Walk 3 M Rest
6 CT 3 M CT 3 M Walk 6 M Rest
7 CT 3.5 M CT 3.5 M Walk 7 M Rest
8 CT 3 M EZ CT Stretch Walk RACE Rest

 

Diet

Diet is extremely important when prepping for a race. You don’t want to get to the start line and realize that you are 10 pounds heavier than when you started your training. You also need to eat for your goals. That means eating strategically to optimize your performance.

Eating whole grains and complex carbohydrates will help you maintain steady energy in your workouts as well as on race day. Protein will help with recovery and building up muscles necessary for a successful run. Proper water intake is essential to keep your body functioning properly.

Going on a low calorie, low carb diet is not the best choice when running a 10 K is the goal. You need to be eating smarter, not less. Try swapping out processed foods for whole foods, decrease your fat intake, and make sure that every meal is well balanced. That means that you should eat a complete lean protein (such as chicken, fish, eggs, or lean red meat) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, squash varieties, sweet potatoes, and cruciferous veggies) with every meal. The longer the distance, the higher amount of carbs you will need in your diet.

The jury is still out on the optimal amount of carbohydrates that a distance athlete needs to ingest to optimize their performance. For more details on nutrition, meal planning, and a sample menu check back on May 1st for our extended edition of the 10 K training plan.

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The Problem with BMI

What is BMI?

health-and-fitness-motivation-by-elisaBMI or Body Mass Index is a frequently used to measure or quantify an individual’s body shape based on a correlation between that person’s height and weight. BMI was first created in the 19th century by a Belgian sociologist and mathematician Adolphe Quetelet as a means to measure populations with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

Today, BMI is used by doctors and other healthcare professionals as a means to objectively discuss weight problems instead of using terms such as “overweight”, “obese”, or “underweight”. However, more and more physicians and other healthcare professionals forget the intended purpose of BMI as a generic way of classifying a population and instead use it as means for diagnosis.

Misusing BMI:

Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? And yet it is increasingly true. About a year ago I went to visit one of a few dozen physicians from the “old country” that operate in my area. I thought that since this particular doctor had experience dealing with people from my region I could save some time on filling in the gaps about some of the common ailments and just get to being treated for the problem that was bothering me. What I didn’t expect is to come into the office get weighed in and to be told that I am overweight and need to lose a lot of weight.

bmi-chartAt this point, allow me to give you some back story. I am a runner with a love of bodybuilding. I am fit, I eat right, I have a fairly low body fat percentage, and high muscle mass. So, when the doctor whom I never met before, looked at me (I was wearing a hoody and loose pants) and told me that I really needed to start watching my weight and change my diet, I couldn’t help but laugh.

He, of course, asked me why I was laughing. I asked him why he thought I had a bad diet and was overweight. In turn, he turned my attention to the BMI chart and said that based on my height and weight, I was clearly overweight and that could be due to the fact that I am not eating right and not exercising regularly. Honestly, at that point all I wanted to do is get up, take my hoody off, flex my “guns” and walk out, but I refrained.

I nicely told him the following:

On a case to case bases, BMI alone is not a good indicator or predictor of health or body composition. For example, a man who is 6’ 3” with a weight of 210 pounds is considered overweight according to the BMI chart. However, the chart does not specify if the body fat percentage (BF) of the man in question. Sure, if the man has a BF of 30% or more he is overweight. However if you look at a man who weighs in at 210 and stands at 6’ 3” with a BF of 15%, I guarantee you, you wouldn’t be calling him even remotely overweight.

What is the Lesson to be Learned Here?

1970767_10152283371584394_2044580024_nBMI is a good way to analyze large samples of predominantly sedentary, average population, not as a way to discuss weight issues on an individual case by case bases.

You will hear fitness professionals tell their clients to stop concentrating on “the number on the scale”. This is partially the reason why. That number means absolutely nothing unless you pair it with measurements, accurate BF% measurements, and, of course, whether or not the client is trading their “fat pants” for the “skinny jeans”.

So, if anyone tells you that you are overweight / obese and you respectfully disagree, ask them why they think that. If the answer is that the BMI chart told them so, tell them to read this article and walk away. You should expose yourself to such willful ignorance and negativity.

Fierce Workout: Well Armed

Regardless of who you are and what you do you probably spend a lot of time picking things up and putting them back down. Whether you are carrying your children and groceries, working in your garden or lifting a 32 oz. mug of beer to your mouth, your arms are probably involved in the process.

This weeks workout is all about building strong, shapely arms to make whatever it is you do look a little sexier.

The How To:

Tension (resistance) Band Curls:

Stand on the tension band with your legs apart until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your arms straight down. Holding the tension band handles, palms out, curl up as you would with a dumbbell curl.

Tension (resistance) Band Triceps Extensions:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your ankle level. With the tension band behind you. With your hands behind your head grab the handle, palms face each other, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handles up and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Preacher Curls:

Wrap the tension band around a sturdy surface at about your waist level. Hold the band with your arms extended, palms up. Pull the handles towards your shoulders and slowly return back to starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Triceps Push-down:

Wrap the band around something sturdy high above your head. Hold the handles with your palms facing each other, elbows bent at 90 degree angles close to your body. Pull the handles down while keeping them close to your body, bending only at the elbows. Return to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Wrist Curls:

Secure the tension band underneath one of your feet. Hold the tension band handle with the opposite hand, elbow resting on top of your quad, hand  above your knee, palm facing up. Pull the handle up by curling your wrist up. Return to the starting position. Take care to utilize proper and challenging tension on the band at all times.

Tension (resistance) Band Wrist Extensions:

Secure the tension band underneath one of your feet. Hold the tension band handle with the same hand, elbow resting on top of your quad, hand  above your knee, palm facing down. Pull the handle up by utilizing only your wrist and allow it to return to the starting position. Your forearm should remain stationary throughout this exercise.

Well_Armed

Fierce Workout: Cry on My Shoulder

Warm weather is right around the corner and that means sleeveless shirts and exposed shoulders and arms. Who wouldn’t want to have some nice, sexy definition? This weeks no gym required workout is all about shoulders. All you will need is a set of tension (resistance) bands.

The How To:

Tension (resistance) Band Shoulder Press:

Stand on the tension band with one of your feet until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your hands over your shoulders and  elbows bent. Holding the tension band handles, palms out, push the handles up until your arms are almost fully extended (keep your elbow soft), then bring your hands slowly to the starting position.

Tension (resistance) Band Internal Shoulder Rotation:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your waist level. With the tension band at your side, grab the handle with the hand closest to the band. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handle in towards your abdomen and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band External Shoulder Rotation:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your waist level. With the tension band at your side, grab the handle with the hand furthest away from the band. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handle out across your body away from your abdomen and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Front Deltoid Raise:

Wrap the tension (resistance) band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well. Hold the tension band handels with your arms in front of you, palms facing down. Pull the tension band up until your arms are parallel to the floor, then slowly return to the starting position. Remember to maintain appropriate, challenging tension on your resistance bands!

Tension (resistance) Band Lateral Deltoid Raise:

Stand on the tension band with your legs apart until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your arms straight down. Holding the tension band handles with your arms on either side of your body, palms in, pull the handles out and up until your arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly return to the starting position.

cry_on_my_shoulder

I’d love to her what you thought about this workout in the comments below or on our Facebook!

 

 

Easy Calorie Counting & Demystifying Weight Loss

Nutrition and Calories

l_a1d8c110-60e7-11e1-b1da-97b177c00001It is no secret that in order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. Cutting calories and “dieting” is more of an individual process than generic, preset approach. It is only through trial and error that you will be able to know what truly works for you and how many calories you need to consume in order to lose weight and gain lean muscle.

If you follow Fierce Miles, you have heard me say this time and time again—severe caloric restriction is not sustainable and extremely dangerous. Creating massive deficits will wreak havoc on your hormones and result in slowing down your metabolism even further which will lead to the inevitable weight gain.

Of course, there are general guidelines that can help you figure out your approximate optimal daily caloric intake. However, without good record keeping and a willingness to go through a certain period of trial and error, you will never be able to zero in on what truly works for you.

 

Fat Loss:       

The general formula to calculate daily caloric intake with the emphasis on fat loss is the following:

Focus on getting 11-16 calories per pound of your target body weight.

So, if your goal weight is 140 lbs:

11 cal X 140 lbs = 1540 calories (this is your absolute lowest daily intake)
16 cal X 140 lbs = 2240 calories (this is your highest daily intake)

Muscle Building:

The general formula to calculate daily caloric intake with the emphases on muscle building and weight gain is the following:

Focus on getting 17-25 calories per pound of target body weight.

So, if your goal weight is 200 lbs:

17 cal X 200 lbs = 3400 calories (lowest daily intake)
25 cal X 200 lbs = 5000 calories (highest daily intake)

Weight Maintenance:

It is generally ill-advised to maintain a caloric deficit for prolonged periods of time. Your body will eventually get use to the deficit making fat loss more difficult. In order to maintain a healthy metabolism and a lean, strong, healthy body, periods of maintenance are essential. During maintenance periods your body rests and rebuilds.

There is no set formula to calculate your maintenance calories. I suggest starting slowly increasing your caloric intake by 15-20 % every week until you stop losing weight. A large increase in the daily caloric intake may result in an increase in body fat. If that happens just reduce the weekly caloric increase.

Maintenance periods can be tricky and it usually takes time to find the proper increase percentage. Good record keeping is essential for the maintenance phase.

Counting Calories:

fitness-inspiration-954-eaf80244-sz480x480-animateToday, there are a number of tools that you can use to track your daily caloric intake. However, nothing beats good old math. Many food companies actually underestimate caloric values of their products on their labels due to the way they count calories in fiber. It has been a fitness myth for many years that calories from fiber do not count towards the total caloric value of a carbohydrate because fiber isn’t fully absorbed by the body. The key word here is fully. Some fiber does get absorbed and can’t be counted towards “free nutrients”. So, what does that mean?

That means that some food companies do not include the caloric value of fiber in the calorie total of the product. Although a difference of 10 calories here and there may not sound like much initially, an extra 100 calories a day can add up to 1 pound of body fat gain per month.

Here are the macro nutrient caloric values:

Protein = 4 cal/gram
Carbohydrates = 4 cal/gram
Fat = 9 cal/gram
Fiber = 4 cal/gram (fiber is a carbohydrate and there for is 4 calories per gram. When you take into account that only about ½ of the fiber gets absorbed by the body, it totals to roughly 2 calories per gram. When calculating total caloric value of fiber, divide by two).

Example of calculating calories based on food labels:

Let’s take Healthy Life High Fiber Bread, the label give the following information:

Calories: 70
Total Fat: 0.5 gram
Total Carb: 16 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 5 gram

Look at the total fiber number, divide by two. Subtract the number you are left with from the carbohydrate total and multiply by 4 to get the proper carbohydrate calories in the food you are looking at.

When you calculate it out:

0.5 x 9 = 4.5 (fat)
5 / 2 =2.5
16 – 2.5 = 13.5
13.5 x 4 = 54 (carbs)
5 x 4 = 20 (protein)
4.5+54+20= 78.5 (total calories)

So the total calorie count in the Healthy Life High Fiber Bread is 78.5.

What to do when a food doesn’t have a nutrition facts label:

There are a number of resources that you can turn to if you find yourself in a situation where nutrition facts are not readily available.

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • USDA Super Tracker (a more user friendly version of the Database)
  • CRON-O-METER (although this does not come in a convenient app form, it is accurate)

In most cases a simple Internet search will answer all of your macro nutrient questions. However, make sure that you rely on trustworthy sources for your nutrient information. Some of the largest fitness and calorie tracking applications that are available today grossly underestimate calorie information and are laden with human error.

Blueberry Banana Bread

When a sweet craving hits try making this easy and satisfying recipe! You will be surprised how sinfully delicious it is and yet how good it is for you. With loads of protein, complex carbohydrates and antioxidant rich berries this treat will leave you speechless.

Blueberry Banana Bread

 

Ingredients:blueberry_banana_bread
3 ripe Bananas (mashed)
2 Eggs (room temperature)
¼ cup unrefined Coconut Oil
1 ¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 scoops Chocolate Whey Protein
2/3 cup of Splenda ™
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ cup Blueberries

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add mashed bananas and stir until well incorporated. Add coconut oil to the mixture, stir and set aside. In another bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, add blueberries and until well incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a non-stick loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the loaf.

Fierce Workout: Fierce Fit

This week is all about endurance and seeing what you are made of.  Do this workout as fast as possible, with proper form for 30 minutes. Make sure that you are keeping track of how many rounds you have completed, write the number down. I do this workout at least once a month to see if I can beat my score every time. Enjoy!

fiercefit

Spud Muffins

A lot of us made New Year’s resolutions and some of us are determined to keep them come hell or high water. If one of your resolutions was to eat better and make smarter food choices, I’d like to dedicate this post to you.

I know all too well how it feels to wake up before dawn and realize that you barely have enough time to take a shower before you have to be out of the door. Breakfast? What breakfast!  Then I got to thinking, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, it sets the tone for the day. I find that if I had a decent meal in the morning I feel energized, I feel unstoppable, I am on my game. Best of all, having breakfast prevents you from being, what I call, hangry. Hangry is a sad combination of hungry and angry that causes one to make bad decisions and have virtually zero patience.

So, what’s the answer to having a healthy, well balanced breakfast that hits all your macros on the go? Portable food! Below is the recipe for the most awesome muffin that is easy to eat, has a low glycemic index, loads of protein, very little fat, and you can make them in advance! What?! Yes, your week just got that much easier!

I usually make these on Sunday evening at the end of my food prep because they tend to take a bit longer than the usual blend and go variety. Why? Because I make my Spud Muffins with meringue to insure nice and fluffy consistency. I tested other recipes of healthy, protein muffins and I noticed that all of them are dense, chewy, and taste like cardboard. I refused to have this happen to my food, this is fit gourmet, after all!

Let’s dive in! First and foremost, make sure that your eggs are at room temp. Room temperature eggs make better meringue. Also, older eggs are better suited for meringue purposes, but who has old eggs lying around?! I set my eggs out just as I am getting ready to do the rest of my food prep, that way by the time I get around to the muffins, they are nice and ready to go.

Since I pre-make my sweet potatoes for the week, having a cup of mashed sweet potato isn’t a problem. If, however, you don’t pre make yours, here’s the deal:

Peel and cut up your sweet potatoes, put them in a pot of boiling water, boil until tender. Strain the water, mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a fork.

I don’t add seasoning to my sweet potato ahead of time, because I refuse to commit to one single flavor in my mash for the rest of the week. I like a good variety.

Back to the eggs and the trick of the meringue… You will need to separate egg whites from egg yolks. Make sure that you take great care not to get any of the yolk into your egg whites. I recommend breaking the eggs over a separate dish, separating the whites and then adding them to the mixer bowl one at a time. That way, if you do end up with the yolks in your whites, you won’t have to scrap the whole batch and waste eggs. No, I wouldn’t recommend using egg beaters. They do not meringue well.

Please, do not attempt to be a hero and whisk the meringue by hand. It’ll take you forever!

photo(3)

Ok, I think I covered the important basics of the meringue. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through our Facebook Page, Twitter, or just leave me a comment here!

Supd_Muffin
Spud Muffins

Ingredients: 

4 large eggs at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup Splenda or Stevia
1 cup almond meal flour
2 scoops vanilla whey
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp coco powder
2 ½ cups of mashed sweet potato

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Place the egg whites into a large bowl and mix on medium-high speed until the eggs are frothy. When your eggs are frothy add cream of tartar. Continue mixing on medium-high speed until the eggs are white and nearly doubled in size. At this point add Splenda or Stevia one tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing the meringue until the mixture begins to form stiff peaks in the mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Gradually fold the sweet potatoes into the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Make sure that there are no clumps of flour or protein powder.

Gently fold the sweet potato mixture into the meringue. Fold from the sides towards the center until the mixture is well incorporated. Be careful not to over mix and deflate your meringue.

Divide the batter between muffin cups. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nutrition Info (1 muffin): 

Calories 119
Fat 5g
Carbs 8g
Protein 10g

3 Easy Steps to Get Fit in 2014

1381532_648223808555104_266900310_nIf you have been anywhere around a TV set, a radio, or a computer, you have noticed the great abundance of “get fit now”. It is that time of the year again. The time when supplement companies and larger than though trainers are pushing their miracle cure all product on the unsuspecting consumers with low self-esteem. Do these products work? Some of them. Do they work safely and for a prolonged period of time? No.

We live in a society that is largely driven by instant gratification and impulse. No one wants to work to be fit, but everyone wants to have a fit body of a fitness model. After all, it is much easier to pop a pill and eat a pizza while watching football, than working out and eating clean. Does anyone think about the consequences of taking these drugs? Does anyone stop to ask why they work so quickly and so effectively? No. Why? Because blissful ignorance with a skinny fat body is significantly safer than a challenging and at times difficult reality in which one has to find information, process it, and work to get the results that they want. In short, half-baked approaches breed half-baked results and a lot of disappointed, misinformed consumers. So, what can you do to get lasting weight loss results? Read on.

What I have to say right now may not be what you want to hear, but I am not in the business of cuddling and propagating fitness myths. I am here to give you the hard truth and save you the time you’ll spend doing research on your own. Here’s the deal. Most “magic” weight loss pills, shakes, and powders are unsafe. If you have to order your food premade, you’ll gain all of your weight back after you stop eating “out of the box”. There is no such thing as getting “toned and fit” without changing your daily lives.

The only way to get true and lasting results is by keeping a clean and sustainable diet, maintaining a healthy attitude, and exercising daily.

Keeping a Clean and Sustainable Diet:

1238363_644675618909923_1184660794_nLet’s face it, if you drastically cut calories, completely cut out certain food groups or expect perfect rigid compliance to a dietary plan, you will eventually slip. In fact, when you slip you will binge, feel guilty, get down on yourself, and try to maintain the same diet with even more restrictions than before to make up for your pitfall. Does that sound like a healthy relationship with food? No. To me, that sounds more like an eating disorder and we all know that eating disorders are very unhealthy.

A sustainable diet should revolve around a lifestyle. When you decide to get in shape, you have to realize that you are on a journey and just like any journey, this one will have peaks and valleys. The secret to sustainable, healthy weight loss is realizing that a valley isn’t going to undo everything you worked for. So, if you make it a priority to eat healthy 90% of the time, that one piece of cake on your birthday, a plate full of delicious food on Thanksgiving, and a bowl of macaroni and cheese every other month aren’t going to send you on an express train to fat town.

A clean sustainable diet should involve all of the major food groups (unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from eating certain things) in moderation. Eating for weight loss is an art form that will take time to master fully, there is no diet that perfectly fits all, and there are no shortcuts. A clean, healthy diet with proper caloric intake (you can’t starve yourself!!!) takes time to develop and perfect.

I encourage you to do your research, look at various food plans, study strategic eating, and custom design your own eating plan. It will take time, but in the end you will be rewarded with energy, better health, and a lean, strong body.

Healthy Attitude:

quoteWe briefly touched on this subject in the previous section when we discussed a healthy relationship with food. You can’t punish yourself for slip-ups and deviations of off the plan, but you also have to hold yourself accountable for what you do in daily basis. Having a support group helps, but at the end of the day it is between you and your refrigerator, or between you and your bed.

You have to make a plan and stick to it regardless of what the world around you wants. If you know that what you are doing is right for you, then no one else has the right to keep you away from your goals and your dreams. Not even you. You have to push yourself every day. I wish I could tell you that it gets to a point where going to the gym or out on a run is automatic. No. I still have days when I question why I am up at 5 am on a cold winter morning. There are days when the last thing that I want to do is drive to the gym and lift a bunch of weights when the laundry is piled up, dinner needs to be cooked, and I still have a mound of paperwork to get through. However, I don’t make excuses. I put on my big girl pants, lace up my shoes, and I tell myself that it is better that way. I can say with full confidence,  I am yet to regret a workout that I did.

However, healthy attitude goes far beyond building a healthy relationship with food and regular, hard workouts. A healthy attitude also encompasses how you view the world. It is easy to be mad and sad about your circumstances, but when you make a decision to take control and change, you become empowered. Feeling strong and in control is what gets people in the gym initially, but most quickly get discouraged because the results didn’t come fast enough. Here’s the hard part: you have to remain positive and have faith in the fact that the results will come if you actually follow a program that you set for yourself. You have to force yourself to become an optimist on those days when you just want to quit because the pudgy feeling isn’t going away fast enough.

Again, I wish I could tell you that feeling discouraged goes away with time – it doesn’t. But if you keep at it long enough, you will learn that the voice inside your head that tells you “it’s not working”, “you don’t have the body for this”, “you are too old” etc. is a total liar. With time, you learn to ignore your own little critic and you learn that when the voice rears its ugly head, you are closer than you ever were before to achieving that one goal that you set for yourself.

Exercising Daily:

Khloe-Kardashian-Fitness-MotivationA good diet and a great attitude aren’t going to get you far without exercise. Consistent, challenging, daily exercise paired with a great diet is a sure recipe for a fabulous body. Now, let me clarify, I am not telling you to go out and do Zumba (although it is a fun way to initially lose some extra weight). The exercise that I am talking about involves 3-4 heavy weight training sessions and 3 cardio sessions a week. You can’t be a cardio queen and expect a toned body of a fitness model. You have to lift HEAVY weights. Let me say this right now: there is no way that you are going to end up looking like a she Hulk unless you are SPECIFICALLY working to attain that aesthetic. So, no, don’t tell me that lifting heavy turns women into men. It is a total myths that is propagated by men who are scared of strong women, women who are scared of hard work, and skinny fat models who would be out of a job if the rest of us woke up and realized that having the ability to pick up more than 5 lbs at a time makes you more attractive and gives you the lean, toned look you actually want. Yes, I’m talking to you ladies.

Gentlemen, I have to caution you against trying to show off. Heavy training means lifting the weight you can ACTUALLY lift with PROPER form. Allow me to elaborate: that means that you shouldn’t be squirming under a barbell during your bench press like a deranged worm because you loaded the bar too heavy. You are not a hero if you get hurt, so why set yourself up for failure? Take it easy, maintain proper tension throughout your exercises and watch your body bulge with awesome rippliness faster than the guy who has been trying to “out lift” you all alone and has been doing it wrong.

trustI don’t know about you, but for me, a fit strong body is a status symbol. You can’t buy it, you can pay someone to surgically make it. You have to invest the time, the sweat, the tears and the doubts to achieve it. There are challenges to achieving your perfect physique at any age and in any circumstance, so don’t discount the efforts of the younger crowd just because of their age or the older crowd just because of their experience. We all face different struggles, have different body types, and respond to different things better than others. Building a body you want takes time, it takes trial and error and you have to be willing to invest in your journey fully in order to rip the perfect results.

Fierce Workout: Step It Up

All of us, at one point or another, knew that we could use a little more speed, a touch more endurance, and a bit more mental strength to fight through those last miles, or even, those last few feet.

Recently, I remember crossing the finish line of a race so exhausted and drained that I honestly didn’t think that I would make it. Needless to say, I placed and PRed, but  reaching both of those goals simply means that now I have to beat them. This week I present to you a workout that is sure to help you step up your game just like it helps me to step up mine.

This one is all about endurance and mental strength. I usually do a short warmup, stretch, and begin this circuit with an easy, 1 mile run. During the workout, I do not stop. It burns, it hurts, but that just simply means that it is working! Remember, your brain will want to quit before your body. Train your mind to stay strong, fight the negative voice that says “can’t”! After the workout, I cool down with another 1 mile run and stretch.

Step-It-Up

If you are an advanced athlete and want to make this workout a bit harder, you can always raise the reps and add weight. Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below!