Don’t Forget to Play

This morning as I ambled onto my yoga mat set up in my bedroom, I decided to do things a little different. I threw away any pre-conceived “stuff” that had to be accomplished during this time and I threw on some Lorde (always good for yoga, in my opinion). Then, I just let go. I began to move through the stiff joints and muscles caused by teaching high impact classes and I began to feel invigorated and much freer than if I had just focused on flattening my abs or burning what I was about to eat for breakfast. There was an element of play involved in the process.

meghan yoga

Yoga helps many athletes to find balance within life. While life will never be completely balanced, yoga helps us find that internal balance that can lead to more focus and less freaking out. I find that this is better accomplished through a sense of play. In the world of fitness that I reside in (that would be weight loss), there seem to be more rules than actual fact. There are always new diets promising big results, but only if you follow their rules. There are workouts promising the body you always wanted, but only if you follow their rules. It gets to the point where many seeking weight loss do begin to take things too seriously and feel as though they must be told how to eat and move on a daily basis. Welcome to the land of crazy…

Without an element of play, we can begin to feel stifled by the very thing that we are working so very hard to obtain. If we feel as though it is always against the “rules” to eat the cake, then we feel guilty if we eat our own birthday cake. Life itself demands a certain amount of enjoyment and rules for the sake of rules can leach that enjoyment away over time. Then we are left with possibly smaller waistlines and a feeling of want all over.

sadie yoga

So now you’re probably thinking, “Cool, so I need to add yoga to my list of things I must do right?”

Well, personally I think we could all benefit from a bit more yoga :) I know my family enjoys it when I’m doing a lot of yoga, as it calms me down quite a bit. The Super Bowl XLVIII Champs the Seattle Seahawks incorporate it into their training regimen. So yes, if you want to be a winner, do more yoga…. I kid! What I do suggest is finding the fun in life again. The worst feeling in the world is to be so very devoted to your workouts that you don’t have the time and energy left over to play. So, in the spirit of play, try a lightening up a little with these ideas:

  • Host a fitness party. These can be super cheap or super expensive and it’s really your call. You can hire a personal trainer to come put you and your friends through your paces, but make sure they know it’s in good fun. My favorite way to have some fitness fun? Have everybody bring a healthy dish and an exercise DVD. Then pick 1-2 from the pile to do together (clear the living room!). When it’s time to go home, have a DVD exchange so people can leave with a new workout…bonus points if people bring Tae Bo :)
  • Get off the track. If you meet for walks or runs at the same track everyday, switch it up. Walk in the grass sometimes, head to your local beach or take a hike. A change of scenery is good for the senses.
  • Try a new class. We are now in an age where there is almost no limit to workout classes. We have pole dancing classes, hip hop, salsa, kickboxing blended with Pilates, Pilates blended with yoga and yoga blended with cycling….and that’s just the short list. Contact your local gym or studio and see if they’ll let you try one on for free.
  • Get out of your food rut. Are you tired of chicken, tuna and green beans yet? As Winter gives way to Spring, more brightly colored food is becoming available in the grocers produce section and NOW is a great time to take advantage of it. The brighter the food, the more vitamins and minerals available for you. Play around with salad ingredients: try adding berries to your salads and topping it off with the juice of an orange mixed with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (CRAZY! I know, but so very good). Try lightening up your meats in favor of fish that you can either grill, skewer or make into yummy tacos. Ask your fit friends for ideas on new recipes or host a recipe swap to get you over your food rut.
  • Ditch sugars for a while. Over time, too much of a good thing leaves us feeling foggy and constantly craving more of that good thing. Sugar is one of those “foods” that causes more and more cravings as we take it in. So, ditch the sugars (both real and fake) for a week to reset your system back to normal. Need more of a challenge? Ditch it for a month then :) but 1 week has been shown to suffice in breaking the sugar cycle.
  • Do a gut check. Make sure your intestines are running smoothly as we enter into a new season. How is this playing? Oh, it’s not. I don’t play around with gut health :) But really, the healthier the gut, the healthier you will be and the more attuned you’ll be to playing, PLUS you’ll be able to handle stress better.
  • Get away. It doesn’t have to take all of your savings to get away from it all for a while. In today’s world, you may suffice by taking a staycation that involves turning off the ringer and NOT checking statuses on Facebook. Choose a weekend to chill out and turn off. Tell everybody you’re going away and be unattainable for a weekend. Take a long soak in the tub, do a sugar scrub, relax, etc. Hey, you could even rub on a little tanner so they think you really did go somewhere :) Often times what we need to get away from is our own expectations of life, so chill and let it go.

These should get you started towards a more playful time. Remember, you can’t control everything…most of the time you can only control your reaction to things :)

Lots of peace and playful thoughts,

Michelle

Tough Love Tuesday: Unrealistic Expectations

TOUGH LOVE TUESDAY!

Beware: I’m not holding back on this one. It’s time to be HONEST to get results!

Slim without the Gym

Loads of people want ot lose weight and live a healthier life, but not everybody wants to drop money on a gym. I have a great workout you can do while enjoying one of the easiest ways to get fit: WALKING. So strap up your laces and let’s get to it :)

Walk Fit

Start with a brisk walk, pumping your arms to warm the body, 5-10 minutes.

Perform 10 walking lunges forward.

Double the pace of your warm up walk and punch arms in front for 4 minutes.

Stop and perform 20 jumping jacks.

Take a deep breath and do 10 push ups (if there is a park bench, place hands there. If not, use the grass or trail)

Walk at your double pace again, punching arms overhead for 3-5 minutes.

Perform 10 walking lunges backward.

Walk as fast as you can, pumping arms briskly for 3-5 minutes.

Perform 20 alternating forward lunges.

Do 10 jumping jacks.

Do 10 push ups.

Perform 20 alternating back lunges.

Sprint walk (where it would be more comfortable to run) for 2 minutes.

Cool down by walking back.

You can perform this whole routine outside at a park, trail or even the streets of your neighborhood (watch for cars!) or on a treadmill.

I know some of you are thinking about all the weird looks you may get while doing this: DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! Weird looks now=envious looks later:)

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Tough Love Tuesday: December 4th

Healthy Holidays Q&A: Weight Loss

Healthy Holiday Travel Treadmill Shredder

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The Holidays are upon us and for many that means travel. Don’t let your workouts fall by the wayside! This is the treadmill program I did while in New Orleans this past weekend :) BONUS! Healthy recovery shake below. I do my workout track by track on the Ipod, instead of having to time things.

Treadmill Shredder

Warm up at 0 incline, 3.0 speed  for 3-5 minutes

Track one: 5.0 speed light jog at 0 incline

Track two: 20 deep squats off the rails (feet wide, belt between). Speed 3.5, incline 15. Every chorus, 20 deep squats, verses are climbs.

Track three: easy run at incline 3.0, speed 5.3

Track four: super slow speed, 0.8 walking lunges at 6.5 incline

Track five: quick run, 2.0 incline, 6.0 speed

Track six: recover and 3.0 pace for 2 minutes. Light jog, 0 incline, 3.8 speed for remaining track

Track seven: 20 deep squats off rails. Side shuffles at 1.5 speed, 0 incline. Repeat squats every chorus and alternate shuffles during verses.

Track eight: hill run/climb. Set incline at 15, speed at 3.5 during chorus. Verses, incline down to 7.5, speed to 5.0

Track nine: incline between 5-10, speed alternates between jog (5.0) and sprints (7.0-8.0) between chorus and verses.

Track ten: 15 incline, 3.0 speed, slow climb entire song.

Cool down with flat walk and make sure to stretch!

Post workout Recovery Smoothie

In blender:

4 oz water

4-6 oz skim milk

1 whole banana

1/2 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 scoop whey (I use BSN Syntha 6 chocolate peanut butter)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

ice to taste

Blend well and drink within 30 minutes of your workout :)

Your FREE Total Body Workout

This workout takes about 30 minutes and hits the whole body, particularly the fat burning-metabolism muscles in the lower body. No equipment needed.

Thirsty Thursday!

Can you believe we are so close to the weekend already? Hello Summer!

As we enter into the warmer months, it is important to stay hydrated and what better way than with luscious drinks that also increase your beauty and radiance? Yeah, I thought you’d like that! Read on for a few of my current favorite indulgences :)

Infused Ice Cubes

Water is great in and of itself, but I find it’s much more fun to drink if it has a little personality.

Simply crush fruits of your choice and place them into old school ice trays (about 1/3 of the cube), then cover with water and freeze. Need an extra nutrient and skin hydrating boost? Use coconut water!

Some fruits to choose from and mix are:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Watermelon

You can mix and match too. Have fun with it and get the kids involved!

Fruit Flavored Water Pitcher

OK, I keep this in a large glass pitcher right in my fridge. We can all dig into it any time we need something a little extra refreshing.

  • 1 lemon, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, finely sliced
  • 1 cucumber, finely sliced
  • A few mint sprigs

Place into pitcher then cover with pure water OR coconut water if you’re in the mood for more hydration.

TAZO Passion Iced Tea

You can totally get this at the Starbuck’s drive through for less than the coffees! PLUS, it’s packed with antioxidants for glowing skin. Another benefit is the hydration factor. Most of the time when we reach for caffeine, we really need water, or in this case, tea. Skip the sweetening syrup though, it will take fluids out of the body. You can also buy Tazo Iced Teas at your local grocer and make it by the pitcher. :)

Slimming Berry Smoothie

You know how you wash your berries and then they tend to start molding as soon as you bat your eyelashes? Yeah, embrace that they are in full season and at the peak of antioxidant perfection! Just don’t eat the mold ;) . I place mine in freezer bags once I start to notice them moving into adolescence, then I can use them for a super slimming smoothie. Plus, I saved money by using the food I bought.

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (for protein)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (I prefer the almond/coconut milk blend on the market now)
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • 1 handful blackberries
  • 1 handful raspberries
  • 2-3 large frozen strawberries
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Stevia to taste (you can opt out of this one and leave it plain. At their freshest, berries are very sweet)

You can have a 24 oz glass (whoa! That’s huge) for about 150 calories. Hello slimmer you! The health benefits of this smoothie are a better running digestive system, clearer skin and even a boost in metabolism. If you’re drinking it post workout feel free to add a banana for extra potassium.

I hope you enjoy your slimming sips this Summer! Get creative and make sure you stop by to share your recipes.

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Workout Wednesday! Total Body Toning in 30 Minutes

If you have 30 minutes, you can tighten and tone all your problem areas!

Do the entire circuit 3 times through, aiming for 12-15 repetitions of each exercise.

If you have more time, add on 30 minutes of intense cardio OR add cardio bursts of 30 seconds to 1 minute (HITTS), such as jumping jacks, jump rope, mountain climbers, jump squats, etc. between each move.

Have fun!

Michelle