WORK IT WEDNESDAY: FREE Total Body Circuit

Grab some weights (8-15 pounds should do) and a little space for total body toners :)

FREE Workout Wednesday! Total Body in 10

1 move (ok, 3 but who’s counting?!?!) to get your whole body. Planks rock! Keep telling yourself that ;)

Whoo, it’s also a throw back. I was softer around the middle…and blonde. See what happens with consistency?

 

FREE Workout Wednesday!

BOOM! A freebie exercise ball workout for you today :)

Grab a ball (steal only if necessary) and get busy!

The BEST in Metabolic Conditioning: What is MMA training? And what can it do for me?

One of my very favorite continuing education courses I ever invested in is my MMA Strength and Conditioning coach certification. It takes regular strength and conditioning up a notch and provides a fat blasting, metabolism boosting workout that flies by and leaves you drenched. In other words, it’s the most efficient workout I have in my arsenal.

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and is a buzz word due to the popularity and success of fighting for sport, which has been around longer than most other sports. Fighters are lean, strong, and functionally fit. Why? Because of the way they train. A fighter doesn’t split body parts, but rather works the entire body in symmetry to promote a fully functioning fighting physique (say that 3 times fast). With MMA strength and conditioning workouts you are tacking the 3 pillars of fitness (cardio, strength, flexibility) in one workout. What kind of real-life benefits can you expect from MMA?

  1. Increased lung capacity
  2. Better body awareness
  3. Increased strength (all of my girls do MAN push ups now! )
  4. Decreased body fat (yay!)
  5. Increase lean muscle
  6. Increase calorie burn
  7. Increased EPOC (oxygen consumption post exercise; big for recovery and fat loss)
  8. Increased Flexibility
  9. Increased VO2 Max
  10. Increased self confidence, self efficacy, and general butt kicking awesomeness

Those are really the top 10, but there are many more. Are you sold yet?

There can be some concerns about embarking on an MMA journey. Some people tell me they just aren’t angry enough to hit things….that generally doesn’t last long. Once the gloves go on and the bag comes out, a little Hulk shows up in all of us. BUT, just to dissuade a few misconceptions take a look:

  1. You will not become an overnight fighting sensation and be taken from your family.
  2. You won’t randomly start fights….you’ll think about it, but you’ll know it’s stronger to control those emotions and use them in the gym.
  3. You won’t get big, bulky or start grunting when you move anything…unless you already do that.
  4. You won’t be challenged to fights by strange people lurking in alleys.

You’ll get leaner, stronger and have more energy than you thought you could have in just a few weeks. It’s worth the time and investment, plus you’ll learn some pretty cool tricks…like how to dislocate a jaw or knee :)

SOLD! Where do I sign up?

If you’re close to me (you lucky duck!), I run MMA sessions year-round. These sessions are 2x per week, 6 weeks with a limit of 4 people in each. If you’re interested, shoot me an email: michelle@michellecfitness.com for info on the next open sessions.

If you’re more of a homebody, or you don’t live near me (don’t cry, it’s ok) try out an MMA inspired workout like Les Mill’s Body Combat. They do sell this through Beachbody OR you can check out www.lesmills.com to find a combat class near you.

Either way you go, have a BLAST burning calories, getting lean and staying mean :)

rach Rachel Newsham, creator of Les Mills Combat

 

Cheers to health!

Michelle

Top 3 things that keep YOU from losing weight

 

National Nutrition Month: Nutrition for Weight Loss

 

I love videos! So entertaining right?

Tough Love Tuesday is making a comeback on Friday to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Stay healthy,

Michelle

 

The Fad Diet Fallout

OK, so this post may be better suited for Tough Love Tuesday, BUT I feel it is needed.

Let’s dive in head first shall we?

WHAT IS THE DEAL PEOPLE?!?!?!?!?!? Are we SO very desperate for losing a few pounds that we will MINDLESSLY hop on any fad that comes along? By the way, I find it incredibly mind-boggling that we are so very willing to cut out entire food groups JUST TO AVOID DOING THE ACTUAL WORK. Crazy…

Did you know that 2014 already has a compilation of “best diets”? No lie. These are broken down into categories for “commercial”, “weight loss”, “easy-to-follow”, etc. While Weight Watchers, The Biggest Loser and The DASH Diet all top the lists, I see absolutely nothing that really works long-term. Why? Because they are blanket fads making big promises. They basically want you to act as a trained monkey, eating ONLY what they say and then when it doesn’t work it is somehow your fault. I’ll be honest with you: it totally is your fault IF you keep falling for it.

What are the problems with diets anyway?

  • For starters, the word “DIET” is grossly overused. Diet refers to what we take in on a daily basis. It is not a person or a style of eating. Statistically, the average American diet consists of cheap, fast, greasy and sliding out of a window. 6 weeks of your life on some miracle diet will not reverse the majority of your eating habits.
  • Those big promises are NOT regulated or tested in any way and are lies that sound good. How did the serpent tempt Eve in the Garden? Uh, HE LIED TO HER! And now look where we are…
  • Fad diets are not a lifestyle. They are a blip on the blurry screen of your diet-lived life. Meaning? You skip from one promise to the next never really understanding why it doesn’t work. Diets are never designed to work. They are designed to sell.
  • You’re always giving up something. Many diets make big claims like “you’ll never be hungry”, or “it’s easy to stick to”, or ” you’ll lose 10 pounds the first week”. Let me drop a physiological knowledge bomb on you: That 10 pounds you lost in 2 weeks was WATER. Losing water doesn’t count as losing fat. As a matter of fact, once your body has regulated the water after the initial shock it will hold onto more FAT, even if it lets weight go. So, if you’re not losing fat and you’ve lost your water, then what are you losing? MUSCLE. Losing muscle makes you a floppy mess, period.
  • You’re deprived of nutrients. TRUTH: weight loss (I prefer the term fat-loss actually) is a science. It’s not by chance or by finally finding “THE ONE”. It’s science, period. And if you are cutting out nutrients, then SCIENTIFICALLY, you will leave weaker than when you came in. But hey, at least you’ll die skinny right? At the end of the day skinny is what we care about, not healthy…

So, I should just resolve myself to the inevitable…that NOTHING will ever work for poor me?

Did I say that? NO. You should resolve yourself to wise up and stop being the one that falls for the fads. You are no longer a trained monkey because YOU want results that stick. If you are a trained monkey, then by all means head over to the banana bowl and have a blast…the grownups among us have work to do.

What DOES work?

  • Education. Educate yourself on fat loss. Talk to people who know. Perhaps somebody who has had over 600 hours studying the human body, nutrition and fat loss. Know anybody like that? (Hint: you can reach her on this site.)
  • Think more nutrition, not calories. Even in competition diets (again, that refers to what we intake), we focus on the nutrient density of foods as opposed to calories. Why? We’re trying to recover from workouts and the training game, PLUS we need to look our best. Nutrients help with all of that and the same goes for ANY type of goal in which fat loss and/or muscle gain is involved.
  • GET OFF YOUR BUTT. Seriously, you have to move and move a lot. You need to be burning an excess of 500-1000 calories more per day to lose weight. There are simple math problems out there to help you determine what you burn to stay alive and what you need to increase to lose fat. Invest in a device to show the burn (please, not the Nike Fuel band as it is WAY too optimistic, sorry Nike).
  • Your kitchen determines your weight loss, not your workouts. You get fit in the gym, but you lose weight in the kitchen. You cannot out-work a terrible diet. If you’re looking to drop the weight that’s holding you back, stick to your clean eating guns 5 full days per week! Feel free to have 1-2 small treats on the weekend, but don’t overdo it. Far too many clients still “reward” themselves for hard workouts. This contributes nothing to health, fitness or weight loss.
  • Develop some self-control. The #1 problem we face today isn’t diabetes, cancer, or obesity…it’s a simple lack of self-control. We don’t want to wait for results, so we try to hit the EASY button as many times as we can. Fad diets, crazy cleanses and shakes don’t work. You work. That’s it…YOU. Exercise discipline to see results. Who cares if you don’t “feel” like a workout? What does it matter if you don’t “feel” like eating your veggies? You cannot be governed by your “FEELINGS”. If I were governed by my feelings there would be a lot of people walking around headless…self control is key :)

Now, take it and run. You are no anomaly. There is nothing crazy different about you when it comes to weight loss. There are LOADS of people dealing with the same issues you have. You either suck it up, educate yourself and do the work or you are doomed to keep repeating the cycle.

Peace out! I’m packing up my soap box and heading to the gym.

Stay focused, stay in control,

Michelle

WORK

Thirsty Thursday: My Superfood

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RAISINS!!!!!

I promised you on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM the other day that I would give you the details on my latest Super Food obsession and here they are!

Raisins seem pretty simple right? I mean, other than being a dried out version of a grape, what can they possibly do for fit folks? Hold on to your hats, cause raisins are about to take your game to the next level.

Some of us (like me) enjoy our raisins in all different varieties and variations while others tend to keep it simple with dried fruits. Either way, you can reap benefits like these:

  • lower blood pressure
  • lower blood sugar
  • more intense training sessions

Let’s break it down…

LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE:

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that simply munching on raising for a period of 12 weeks, those with slightly elevated blood pressure levels lowered their systolic (the top number) by as much as 10.2

LOWER BLOOD SUGAR:

This may come as a surprise considering raisins general sweetness, but the American Diabetes Association  found that eating raisins 3x daily significantly lowered post-meal blood glucose levels by 16% in non-diabetics who experienced prolonged mild elevations of blood sugar levels, when compared to other snacks. Meaning: choose raisins over candy and protein bars.

MORE INTENSE TRAINING:

Don’t freak out! This doesn’t mean your sessions will actually get harder, but studies do show that raisins (most likely owing to natural sugars) can help you work harder. Researchers from the University of California, Davis compared the effects of raisins, sports chews and water on running performance (cardio). They found that those who consumed raisins had similar increases in performance as those who ate sports chews.

So there you have it! Science to back your dried fruit addiction :) Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  1. 1 ounce of raisins contains 85 calories. That’s about 1 small handful.
  2. Heating raisins, or throwing them into hot cereals, does change the texture and release a bit more sweetness.
  3. If you’re like me and can go overboard, consider purchasing the boxes of raisins to keep stashed in your purse or gym bag.
  4. Experiment with different colors and recipes.
  5. Add raisins to cookies, breads, crisps (a holiday fave around here), cottage cheese, yogurts, small bowl of nuts, hot cereals, salads, etc.

So, have a blast and boost your drive with these super sweet power houses.

 

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Peace, Love, and Lunges,

Michelle

The KEY for Success

Unlocking your potential takes hard work and dedication in whatever area you are setting to work.

Continuous  effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our  potential.
Winston  Churchill

Your potential to reach your goals is hinged on your effort. How hard are you truly willing to work towards your goals? What are you willing to give up to reach your goals? Are you willing to work daily to cultivate the discipline needed to reach your goals?

Many people come to me with one blanket goal: WEIGHTLOSS.

That’s a wide-spread goal for sure. It comes from the stay at home mom who feels as though she’s lost herself. It comes from the former college football player who wants to relive his glory days. And it comes from women of all ages who want to step on the great fitness arena stage….yet it’s always presented as the same goal.

Weight loss is a timely goal right now, since over 66% of our population suffers from disease that is directly related to our expanding waistlines. We have become sedentary and lazy due to the technological advancements of our age. Unfortunately, these advancements have also brought forth information technology that can be completely overwhelming and leave us confused amidst the haze of opinions. So, let’s hash out the keys to weight loss success shall we?

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

  1. Know your science. There is scientific data that backs up weight loss, sports training, bodybuilding and performance. Invest some time in learning about YOUR specific goals.
  2. If you’re wearing it, you ate it (or drank it). OK, so I know most people take this as harsh, but pay attention….I am afflicted with comments daily that say, “I just don’t know why I’m gaining weight, my diet is pretty clean..”. That word “pretty” (or mostly, really, kind-of, etc.) tips me off to the fact that the diet is probably the main problem. The key here is CONSISTENCY. You can’t expect excess weight to run fleeing from your body at the first introduction of celery. It takes a full 6-8 weeks of consistently clean eating to notice a difference in the body. Keep an accurate record of your food AND drink to track the progress you can expect.
  3. Workouts are essential. If you’re looking to lose 20, 50 or more pounds, you NEED to be moving consistently 60 minutes per day, 6 days per week. Those with less than 20 pounds to lose or those seeking to add definition to the body can get away with 4-5 workout days. Am I discriminating? Yes I am….the more you have to lose, the more you need to move! Period.
  4. Your feelings are of little concern. Feeling motivated will not get you far. Don’t skip a workout because you don’t feel like it. You can modify a workout, change a workout or take a rest day IF necessary, but simply leaving your workout because you don’t feel like is a sure-fire way to stay out of reach of your goals. BE CONSISTENT.
  5. Find a program. Programs are available (I know an AWESOME one that will be available at the end of December!) to help you with meal plans, meal prep, meal timing, workouts, motivational words, brain training and even behavior modification. Make the financial investment to your health and fitness. Programs put professionals within your reach to keep you on track towards your goals.

Did you notice something in those 5 points? CONSISTENCY is the word for the day. You won’t get anywhere without consistency. When you were a baby, your parents didn’t rejoice in your first step just to carry your butt all over the world for the rest of your life right? They let you walk wherever you could. I bet you even walked everyday! For some, I bet you walked more then than you do now, but you have the power to change that. Be consistent in your fight towards your goals. Be realistic in what you are WILLING to accomplish daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Make it a point to move forward every single day.

Stay with the fight and stay fighter fit!

Michelle

 

You are what you train for…

I have found in my life that wisdom can often be wasted on the young….mostly because they have more deductive reasoning than those of us who are set in our ways :) I was able to witness such wisdom just yesterday:

My daughter and I were in the office, she doing her school work and me passing the time watching yoga videos (hey, we all have our things). I was watching one such yoga video featuring the ever lovely and always lively Meghan Currie (I highly recommend her site) and in complete awe of the control and grace with which she moved. If you would take a little time to watch her, you’ll notice her back bends are quite enviable. I remarked to my daughter how I always wanted to conquer such poses, but alas they had eluded me. I expressed frustration over this fact since I have been a yoga teacher for nearly a decade (with specialities in human anatomy). I was met with an honest and eye-opening response…

“Well, that’s not what you train for….”

Wisdom came and smacked me across the face right then. My daughter had nailed down the fact that I indeed do not train for yoga or even to improve my yoga. I have always been the yogi that trains for other things (namely nice glutes and fit thighs, along with shapely arms and the ability to kick butt) and then throw yoga in as a preventative measure or, sadly, an afterthought at times. Before we move on, I must express my newest set of goals is to remedy this situation…

So, it begs the question then: WHAT DO YOU TRAIN FOR?

Do you have to constantly tell people you work out, or do they know because your lifestyle reflects it? Honestly, you don’t have to be ripped for people to notice, you just have to commit to a lifestyle. You can’t hit the gym 5 days per week, but party ALL weekend. Beer pong (if you don’t know what that is PLEASE don’t go searching. You’re all the better not knowing), ribs, fried foods, sweet binges and weekend cocktails can take the best of gym dedications and drive them into the ground. We all know the people who either talk about class (Take yoga, Pilates, barre, step, kickboxing) ALL the time, but their body never changes. What should that tell us? That hour is just another form of a social outlet, not a lifestyle. The same thing goes for those who hit the gym 5 days a week like it’s a job. If that dedication doesn’t bleed into the kitchen, nothing will ever change. This is why knowing your goals is so important! If my new goal is to accomplish a back bend sequence without wanting to cry (or hit somebody) then my training needs to reflect it. If I told you my new goal, but you saw me deadlifting 150 pounds 3 times per week, am I really training towards my goal? So, if you tell me your goal is to drop 20 pounds, but I see you posting about happy hours, nachos, chips, and mimosas….do I think you’re training towards your goal? Are we drilling this in enough?

How DO you train towards a goal?

Easy, know your GOAL. All too often we follow the latest fad or hit the gym just because other people do. God calls us sheep for a reason….we’re always looking for something or somebody to follow. If your goal has nothing to do with the gym, ditch the membership and actually work towards what you want. If your goal is to make $5000 more this year, don’t take extra days off from work. Your goal will ultimately determine WHAT you do. Your will determines how far you go…

Michelle (your soon to be back-bendy blogger)