What Are You Waiting For?

Each new day, opportunities arise. They will slip by if you let them. They do not knock loudly and they don’t seem to wait around for very long before something else takes their place. Generally, we call these distractions because that’s what they do. They take your eye off the prize. Don’t let this happen. Each day is precious. Don’t waste them.

Here we are in another year and while a part of me hates the pressure of New Year resolutions, another part relishes in the idea that I can begin again. As soon as NOW.

So, yes, here is another post about making healthy resolutions. Don’t view resolutions as negative things but rather things that will inspire you. They’re not awful and if they are, try looking around for some better ones! Resolve to be healthier and happier! Screw resolutions that suck and make you feel like crap because they are unrealistic. Instead of having a list of a bunch of don’ts, try a list of a bunch of dos. Because health and fitness are good things and you will love the results they bring.

Especially this spring when tank tops and shorts come around. Make this spring something to look forward to by working on your body and that homemade yummy tuck now. Here are some quick resolutions that will yield fantastic results:

Move more.
Exercise more.
Eat healthier.
Drink more water.

Don’t overload yourself with resolutions that sap your fun and energy. Try small things and add a bit every day.

Looking for some exercise that will help you see results? Try Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day-Shred. It’s a quick workout that will change your body. No joke.

I’m currently on Level Two and it’s a tough but rewarding workout.

Not for you? Tell me what is. I’d love to know!

Third Day In

I just completed day three of Jillian’s 30-Day Shred. I’m on Level One and I’m just glad I made it through. Here’s what I’m experiencing: soreness in my quads, glutes, calves and chest.

If you haven’t done any kind of workout for awhile, the most difficult thing is going down to the floor to do one exercise and getting back up to do another. Then going back down and getting back up. From push ups to squats to crunches to jumping jaacks…. the entire routine is like this. These kinds of exercises are fantastic for building a strong core and terrific abs. So, if youre used to being on a bike or doing aerobics without any kind of floor work, this will be a shock. But, as always, a good one.

We’ve got about six weeks until Thanksgiving. Do you want to join me in making some radical transformations by then?

Second-Day Scare

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Yes, the second day is the most difficult to get up and get moving because the soreness has begun to kick in. The best thing for this soreness, however, is to move the muscles a bit and that’s exactly what happens when you do this workout. 🙂

It’s tough and that’s what makes the short 27 minutes tolerable. It goes by fairly quickly and if you just focus on getting through every move with proper form and pride, you can do it.

It’s been years since I’ve done this routine and it’s still one of the best out there. I think the planets were aligned when she threw this thing together; just like they were when Tony Horton created p90x.

The good news is you will love yourself when you get through each and every day and when you complete the workout, you’ll have so much to be proud for. A new appreciation for yourself and a new body.

Don’t fear the trainer.

The Power of the Plank

Many people think crunches and sit ups are the only way to tone your abs. This is isn’t true.

Plank exercises are far more beneficial than you might think because they work an incredible amount of muscles. Planks are isometric movements, which means they maintain stability in core muscles. Simply holding a plank for 30 seconds will demonstrate just how powerful these exercises are. Believe me, if you hold a plank this long, you will feel it. Everywhere.

Planks engage your back and transverse ab muscles, along with your shoulder muscles to hold up your body weight. These exercises are no joke and while it’s not funny to do them, it is awesome to feel the strength you get from them.

But that’s not all. Planks also help improve balance, especially if you advance enough to do arm rows and leg lifts while doing planks. Planks also are less likely to cause back pain, unlike traditional crunches and sit ups. Planks strengthen your core and while this terminology is bandied about often, it is good to have a strong core. Why? Because you get stronger. Stronger is better.  When you keep at it, planks will give you a solid core and that will make you love your abs.

File:Plank.jpg

When doing a plank, remember to keep your pelvis neutral; don’t raise your butt too high or let it fall too low. Don’t let your chest fall; your shoulders should feel tight when in a plank position. As with any exercise, improper form can lead to pain and that’s not never good.

Challenge yourself. If you’re ready to work on that diy tummy tuck (which we all know, you are), try plank variations. Plank jacks are jumping jacks in the plank position and mountain climbers are the result of bringing one knee in at a time and alternationg a s quickly as possible. Side planks are exactly what they sound like – a plank on your side. They’re tough but they’re worth every second because they target obliques, which will give you a solid core.

Don’t wuss out; do the planks. Go do one now and tell me how it felt.

 

 

Photos: courtesy of Jaykayfit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plank.jpg

Inspiration, Motivation and Willpower

Track finish line from above Athletics 2000 Sydney PG

Inspiration, motivation and willpower are funny things. You need all of them to succeed. Many people may focus on just one of these when they are working toward a particular goal, but I think they work better as a team. This is especially true with weight loss and fitness because these goals take time to reach and sometimes you need something to hang on to while we’re waiting for success. Let’s break it down and I’ll show you what I mean.

Inspiration is that spark of arousal; that hint of hope that initiates change or, at least, thinking of change. It can be something as simple as a picture of Jillian Michaels, Tony Horton or even an old photograph of you. Inspiration can also be also be how you feel when you do something positive. For example, I love that soreness after a workout. That soreness can last a day or two so even when I’m not exercising, I am constantly reminded of my progress and potential success. I can’t express just how empowering that feeling is; it’s wonderful. You might be inspired by the numbers of calories burned after an exercise or the feeling you get from turning down a doughnut at the office. Inspiration comes in many forms and it’s okay to accept any and all of them if they help you achieve your healthiest best.

Motivation is that thing that gives you a reason to move. It’s actually very similar to inspiration in that both make you want to do something. However, in terms of diet and achieving a flat tummy, or whatever you want, motivation is closely related to incentive. For example, if I exercise, I will burn fat or if I strength train, I will build muscle. A motive is something that causes you to act; it is a goal that causes motion. In short, it leads to action. You can sit and look at a picture all day long but what makes you want to move? This is where the goal comes in… You need that goal, that motivation, to get up and make the move.

Willpower is the another link in the chain. Some will tell you it’s the most important aspect of any goal because it requires control. For that reason, it is probably the most complete aspect because control can be hard at times. However, it’s not impossible. It’s hard to pass up cheese dip at family functions. It’s hard to turn down pizza in social situations when everyone else tells you to eat up and enjoy. Chocolate goodies at the office are the devil but everyone wants you to eat one. Yeah, it’s hard and that’s why willpower is so important. You cannot live without it and inspiration and motivation make it easier. When you are aware of how strong your mind actually is, willpower might even become a powerful weapon.

When you put the three together, it becomes easier. For example, if you’re in the office and someone wants you to eat a doughnut and your arms are sore from yesterday’s workout, you might be more inclined to pass. If your butt is burning and hurts you every time you get up, those cookies look like the devil because they represent all the reasons why you have to workout in the first place. If you can change the way you look at cookies, pizza and beer, you can see them as motivation and even inspiration. How many minutes will you have to workout to burn off that pizza? Or how about thinking of sacrificing your last workout for a candy bar. Really?

If it takes a lot for you to get up and exercise, you should look at your temptations as an opportunity to say no. Why? Because you know it isn’t worth it. If you’re feeling the burn in your triceps from yesterday’s workout, you’ll easily pass on the cookies because cause you don’t need them. Does the taste of food trump your hard work? No.

It’s all connected and the thing you can never lose sight of is your goal. Inspiration, motivation and willpower are some pretty important tools to help you get there. Don’t ignore the tiny voices in your head urging you to greatness – those burning muscles and tight abs did not happen for nothing and the question you need to ask yourself is if the pizza is worth negating all that work.

The answer is no. Use your inspiration and motivation, whatever they are, as your source of willpower and allow them to motivate you to say no – an act that moves you closer to the finish line.

Photo: Australian Paralympic Committee/Australian Sports Commission

My Favorite Ab Exercises

This site is all about giving yourself your own tummy tuck and one might guess that ab exercises fall into the mix somewhere. Ab exercises do work, after you’ve burned the fat off your middle.

I really like plank exercises. I’d never done a plank until I did Jillian’s 30-Day-Shred and it was then that I began to feel solid in my core. I liked that feeling, so planks quickly became one of my favorites. There are dozens of variations of planks and you should try a few to find out which ones you might actually look forward to doing. Up-down planks, planks with alternating arm and leg lifts, walking planks, plank twists and side planks are some of the best exercises to build a stronger core and a solid foundation for killer abs.

As far as basic ab exercises go, I feel my abs get tighter with standard sit ups and bicycle crunches.

Do you have any favorites? Feel free to share them!