Tough Love Tuesday!

Motivation Monday: Biggest Loser Recap

Well, it’s that time again…..time for millions of viewers to slide into our couches and watch a show about weight loss :) Seems a bit odd, right?

Last night marked the beginning of a brand new season for the long running show. Jillian Michaels made a triumphant comeback and was in rare form. Bob Harper is still holding tight to his long-playing role as the top trainer and Dolvett Quince came back to resume his role as well. The BL also added a twist to the show in that they are bringing in 3 kids to be ambassadors for fitness. This means they won’t be at the ranch full-time and they cannot be eliminated. Good move on their part for bringing awareness to the childhood obesity epidemic. Oh, and Alison Sweeney is hosting again and might I say she looked FABULOUS last night!

As I move on through the recap, I need to remind you that the Biggest Loser is first and foremost a REALITY TV SHOW. They cater to ratings. I’m not judging, but I feel that some people watch the show and get caught up in the alternate reality of it all. Take it with a grain of salt people…… First night was exciting for sure. I loved the way each of the trainers handled the kids. Children should be trained differently from adults. Both in training progressions as well as motivation. The adults were a bit of a different story. The first workout was par for the course and each trainer stuck to their respective roles. I have to say, Jillian makes excellent points about the way we treat and speak to ourselves. I love the line she said about “That is abuse. All of this in here is not.” I agree whole heartedly. Now, I may not kick people out of my gym when they get dizzy (I usually offer a G2 and tell them to rest as it’s usually due to poor fueling), but I agree with her tough approach. you have to want it badly enough to challenge what has become your normal.

Aside from people dropping like flies and feeling poorly about the state of their own health (or lack thereof), everything went fairly smooth for the opening evening. As I sat and watched (with the rest of America!) I was bombarded with a lot of thoughts about this entire approach to weight loss. I mean, ALL of the contestants chosen made comments about the fact that they were doing this for their health and/or to live for a certain loved one. So, here’s the thought that keeps banging away at my heart and mind…..Why on Earth do you have to wait to be on a reality show to do it?

Whoa! I know what you’re thinking, “Come on now, at least they’re trying”. I say, no, they haven’t even begun to really try. Here’s the place I’m coming from. I have lost 104 pounds. No trainer, no huge gym, no pre-planned meals, no TV show, no cameras. Some might rebut by saying I already knew how. You would be wrong. I started right where many of these contestants start. There is NO lack of knowledge available, there is a lack of discipline to go get it.

Real fitness is just that, a DISCIPLINE. It’s not about motivation, inspiration or TV ratings. It is developing a discipline within your life to commit to your health and the health of your family. The young man who goes by Bingo (isn’t he precious???) is the same age as my son. It has taken me taking responsibility and telling him “Just a small serving” or “Get up and go do something”. Goodness, most of the time I get up and do things with him! And I’m busy too people, so don’t even try….. Develop a discipline in life and you will succeed. Success is derived from discipline.

So, I promise I’m not hating on the show! I realize that it does get some people inspired and that is worth the watch itself. Here’s the rub though: years ago when I first started teaching aerobics I had a lady who came religiously to my classes, and she was losing weight steadily. Then, one day she stopped coming. A few weeks later, she met me up at the gym. She explained that the Biggest Loser was coming to Houston to hold auditions and since you have to be a certain amount overweight to participate, she stopped working out and was gorging to gain her weight back. Houston, we have a serious problem….

Why do we think that only a TV show can save us? We are enamored with the celebrity of it all. Ask any professional actor and they will tell you the celebrity part is the worst part of the whole thing. Yet, we pine for it. It’s as though we honestly believe that living in an alternate reality is the only way we can succeed. To that I say this: if you believe you can only succeed in an alternate reality, you have already given yourself to failure. There was a man chosen who stated he had waited 3 years for his chance to be on the show. THREE YEARS!!!!! Do you have any idea what he could have accomplished in 3 years?!? And yes, I get the fact that when you do it on your own there are no cash rewards, no accolades, no interviews……but honey, it is so worth it!

The dedicated discipline you earn from putting in your own work far exceeds anything a reality show can offer! You want to see a change in this world? Start a fire in you first! Be the one that begins to develop a change in your own family. Take personal responsibility for your health and fitness. Stop making excuses and playing the victim! You and I are no different from each other. We both hurt, we bleed, we struggle, and if you’re like me, we have a raging sweet tooth! But you know what? Fitness doesn’t care who you are, how much money you make a year, where you start, or how long it may take. Fitness is available to EVERYBODY. You don’t need a membership, you don’t need a certain color shirt and you sure don’t need to be picked from a crowd. Did you realize that as of right now over 66% of the United States is struggling with obesity? That’s the MAJORITY! You are no longer going to sit idle amongst the majority, waiting hopefully for your name to be called. You will stand from this day on. You will walk tall and know that YOU CAN DO THIS.

So, what’s it going to be? Are you in or are you out? Are you tired of waiting for your “chance”? Be the first to step out and make a real change…..no script required :)

LIVE OUT LOUD!

Michelle

NEW DVD REVIEW! Biggest Loser Power XTrain

Hi guys!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve reviewed a new workout DVD, so I thought I’d hop into the new year with The Biggest Loser DVD series.

For those wondering, although Jillian is back on the show (which airs this Sunday evening) she’s not in the video.

This DVD follows the same circuit style fashion as the others. Why? Well, circuits are the BEST form of exercise when you’re trying to lose weight. It’s effective because it keeps the heart rate up and provides cardio as well as strength training. We ALL know that is essential to keep the skin pulling back to the muscle. Now, as a disclaimer we all know that we cannot expect Biggest Loser style results unless we’re already on the show…..and have a couple hundred pounds to lose :) These DVDs do appeal to those just jumping back into working out or trying it out for the first time.

The big question: Do they work? Yes they do, in my opinion. The problem with any DVD is that it is up to the individual to push play though. They can only film it for you, not do it for you :)

Power X Train takes your workouts to a different level. This DVD is more like actual training in that there isn’t a lot of pre-choreographed movements and everybody is on their own pace. All trainers featured do give awesome form tips, but ya’ll know Bob is the favorite! He states at one point “I focus on your FORM first, then reps” and I couldn’t agree more. Bob is in true form throughout his part, making sure even the home viewers know exactly what to look for in their form. This is of great importance as form is key to not only preventing injury but also expediting your results.

You need your own body weight and some handheld weights for this DVD and you will also need some space. They take you through your paces, but you are always encouraged to stay at the level that works best for you. As always, modifiers are front and center and you can choose the former Biggest Loser contestant you want to follow. As with anything else, consistency is key. If you’re in love with the Biggest Loser DVD series, this is a great one to add to your rotation.

Until I see you again, remember….LIVE OUT LOUD!

Michelle

P.S. Who’s planning on watching this season?

A New Swing on Fun Fitness

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Welcome to the New Year! Well, close enough right?

I have embarked upon the mission of getting others excited about fitness. What better way than to take 2 of my girl friends to a pole dancing class? OK, you may be thinking of better ways, but hear me out…..

During our end of year outing, my girls and I decided to try out a beginners pole dancing fitness class. We found ourselves in for a great treat at Verticality Fitness. We took one Saturday to enjoy a class and then have some lunch at the nearby Cheesecake Factory (location, location, location). As we were preparing for our outing, both of my girls asked me the question, “Will we sweat?”. To which I replied, “NAH!”. Um, I was wrong. We actually glistened….which is sweating, but in a pretty way :)

Pole dancing for fitness is not an entirely new trend (I actually tried a different class a few years ago), but it is one that is catching steam. Why? Well, it’s fun for one thing. I believe it also helps empower women and make us feel better about ourselves. A recent study out of a University in British Columbia states that 90% of women over the age of 30 suffer from near debilitating low self-esteem issues. 90% people! That’s unacceptable…. I can tell you that there were 13 women in this pole dancing class and by the end of the hour I think that average may have been down a bit.

How does pole dancing help? Well, the instructor has to be on point in my opinion. Our instructors name was Dana and for all her petiteness she really can fill up a room. Her confidence flowed over to her students and I think this makes a BIG difference. She put us all at ease from the very beginning and kept the class moving at a brisk pace, while giving beginners and advanced participants plenty of options. The fun thing about pole fitness is it really is all about your preference. There’s no judgement in how you swing around the pole! It’s all about the individual. That’s what fitness should be right? Individual.

Verticality itself is extremely bright and well-lit. This is a plus since you’re there for fitness and not some seedy show right? The changing areas are very clean and they keep cleaning supplies all around the studio for use at a moments notice. The studio participants come from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes, but ALL are welcome. You need no prior fitness experience and you’re not tested at the end of class! Good thing too because I kept ending up on the wrong side of my pole….

This makes for a great fitness class for anybody looking for a fun way to torch calories. By the way, it’s also a GREAT core and upper body workout. Verticality is located in downtown Houston, just off Allen parkway at Waugh drive. For those who live in Houston, it’s very easy to get in and out of! Check out their site and see all they have to offer. They even do parties for a fun twist on girl’s night out.

My next visit will be at the local Pure Barre to check out the hot BARRE classes that are sweeping the fitness scene.

Until next time, keep living FIT!

Michelle

 

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DVD REVIEW: ChaLean Extreme and TurboFire

Hey guys!

I have a quick DVD review for you today. My very lovely Chalene Johnson’s DVD’s ChaLean Extreme and TurboFire.

These workouts are honestly on constant rotation in my home gym because they ROCK. Clear and concise instruction, pumping music, and oh yeah, RESULTS! I can say that I get far better results with these programs than any others, so let’s dive in :)

ChaLean Extreme

This is an extreme circuit program and it’s great for beginners all the way up to advanced. It is all about the strength training, with some flexibility and cardio thrown into the mix. Chalene focuses on getting more lean muscle mass on the body because MUSCLE BURNS FAT! The pace is awesome and the instructions are clear. Even if you have never lifted weights, you’ll find your stride here. The video come with bands and a tutorial on how to get them to work for you. I personally love the bands since they take up very little space and are easy to travel with. You can invest in weights as you progress. Once you begin to see the results, you won’t want to stop, but as with anything in life, you MUST be consistent! I mean, it doesn’t get any easier than right in your house so suck it up and PUSH PLAY.

This is a periodization program, meaning you go through 3 phases, each lasting about 1 month. This particular style of training is a favorite among most of your very good trainers. Each phase teaches you about sequencing and weight training specifics so that you learn in the process. These DVDs will give you the confidence to walk into any weight room and know what you’re doing as well.

Turbo Fire

So, I’ve already reviewed TF, but I find the need to mention it in this review since there are a few new things as well as the interplay between the 2. Turbo Fire now has the Greatest HIITS DVD with the Ab Igniter. HIITS are THE #1 tool in sports trainers tool boxes to help prepare an athlete for sports. They are also extremely effective in FAT loss, not weight loss, FAT LOSS. YAY! The Ab Igniter is one of the best sequenced core workouts around :) you’ll thank me later.

TF is an advanced cardio workout, but there are modifications given. As a matter of fact, you can now get a Fire Starter pack which has HIITS with NO jumping. Perfect for those just starting out, or those with knee/ankle/foot injuries or issues.

TF is a wonderful component to ADD to your strength training found in CEX. you will be able to expedite your results and see you lean in no time. Like I said, these are in constant rotation here and I’m starting a fresh round of the 2 today. To check out these programs, sign up for a challenge, or get involved in a fitness fanatic community where you can log workouts and keep up with your results, CLICK HERE.

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Lose inches in less than 10!

In ALL honesty (this is professional and personal) there is no special diet no body wrap (all the posts about losing inches while wrapping yourself up like a burrito…..yeah, that’ll stay off) that will permanently get rid of inches. BUT, there are tricks of the trade and this is a BIG one. Muscle control. This routine takes less than 10 minutes (BTW, most body wraps take at least 45) and you’ll walk away looking taller, trimmer, and with a post spa glow. Use the video above to plug in your upper body moves.

Lose INCHES in LESS THAN 10 PLAN!

Warm up with dynamic stretches for  1 minute.

Perform 20 deep squats, squatting as low as your knee and hip flexibility allow while maintaining good form

Pick 1 of the pushup variations above and perform until failure (until you are unable to maintain good form in your pushups)

Perform 20 alternating front lunges, switching legs with each rep

Do 20 jumping jacks

Pick a different push up variation and perform until failure

Flip over and perform 50 bicycle crunches, keeping trunk steady while rotating shoulder towards knee. TIP: do these slowly to maintain good form and focus on drawing the abs in and up

REPEAT 2-3 more time, with little to no rest.

NOW, go show it off! You’ve managed to cut seeable inches from the body by activating both small and large muscle fibers, plus you’ve raised your metabolic rate and started a little sweat, resulting in increased blood flow and a beautiful glow. NO MONEY REQUIRED :)

Michelle

Oh. My. Goodness…Have you heard about this?

Sorry about the no makeup thing I have going on! LOL

OK, so this is THE challenge for those looking to change their physique. Hey, did you know it’s officially 90 days until summer as of today? Crazy!

The vid above tells you a little about Les Mill’s Pump but you can always click to find out more :)

Now, let’s talk turkey. The investment in this total body transformation system is $245. You get the entire program on DVD (and you KEEP it) plus an exclusive CORE workout when you order through your coach. BONUS!

Your Challenge Pack also includes:

  • Your first 30-day supply of Shakeology®—The Healthiest Meal of the Day®, delivered through Home Direct, our autoship program that ensures timely delivery of Shakeology to your doorstep every month.*
  • A FREE 30-day trial membership in the Team Beachbody® Club, where you’ll find all the support you’ll need to complete your challenge.**
  • Plus FREE Shipping!
  • Free Shipping Offer not available in AK, HI, U.S. Territories, or Canada.

But wait, there’s more… hehe. OK you get ME as your coach. Total access. I check your food and keep those motivational saying coming because I know YOU can do this! See? There was motivation right there. Also, BeachBody has asked me to document this particular group, so to make it a little more interesting, the first 4 people to sign up for the challenge get 2 free one on one sessions with me so that we make CERTAIN your results are inevitable. Awesome? You bet! I’m taking 10 people into this challenge group and all 10 get guaranteed access to my online class about rockin your life (mind, body, and soul) this summer. Pretty cool deal right? You get the tools needed to make the physical change, the trainer/nutritionist/coach to ensure that happens, 2 FREE sessions with me (if you live far away, it’ll be online or by phone, but still me!), and access to a course that truly will rock your life. Steps are super easy: JOIN MY TEAM and let me know you want to PUMP! I’ll get you where you want to be :)

To the FIT LIFE!

Michelle

ALL the Awesomeness!

Hey everybody!

Today’s blog is going to cover a whole lot, so hang with me as we get going :)

First up is food news (everybody’s favorite kind of news right?) and we’re dealing with the most nasty: FAKE SWEETENERS…..AAAHAAHAHAHAHHHHH! That was scary right? I’ll make it short and sweet with some of the new research. Basically, we know that table sugar is no good for your body (your waistline NOR your internal organs and normal body functions), but we love our sweets. So, ages ago man decided to make sweeteners to fill the gap so to speak. These artificial sweeteners are now causing loads of problems, the least of which is the fact that they kill the metabolism and promote the ever rising epidemic of obesity. So, what’s a sweet tooth to do? The short list of acceptable sweeteners (moderation, my friends) is as follows:

  • Stevia
  • Xylitol*
  • Succunat
  • Raw Honey
  • Agave

yes, I know your beloved Sweet n Low and Splenda are not on that list. GASP! When you take in zero calorie sweetener your body pulls a “What the HECK is THIS?!?” moment and decides that since it offers absolutely NO nutritional value it will simply put it in the nearest storage facility: i.e. your gut. That’s right! Diet Coke addicts trying to get rid of your poof? (Not the Jersey Shore kind). Ditch the diet drink! Also, even more interesting is the latest research on GUM. Yeah, gum. That thing we use not only to freshen breath, but thanks to the Biggest Loser, we are now addicted to it because it helps ward off cravings right? NOT SO, says research. Many sugar-free gums contain aspartame, which wrecks the metabolism AND when it comes to gum it can actually spur sweets cravings. Are you thinking back now to all the times you had a piece of gum ONLY to eat the candy anyways? Yeah, happens to the best of us. So, what should you do? Ahem, READ YOUR LABELS! I did it for you already and Trident offers Xylitol as it’s sweetener of choice. Fresh breath plus no cravings, rock on. Now why are stevia and xylitol acceptable even though they are labeled as calorie free? First off, in order to actually register a calorie rating on the package, the item must have over 5 calories per serving. Second, these 2 sweeteners are naturally derived and therefore processed differently and used for energy (technically they DO contain energy in the form of calories).

Second order of news: FREE CLASSES! I am in the midst of filming videos for 2 online classes. One is a 31 day nutrition mission called the Lean Eating Program. You’ll learn the ins and outs of actual nutrition (not dieting, gimmicks, or heresy) and how to use nutrition to reach your health and fitness goals. The catch? I’m ONLY accepting 20 people to the FREE round of this particular program, then it will be offered again through a different system. So keep an eye out for that one. The second class is a lifestyles course that will deal with all the issues that we have in leading the life we should be leading. Like I’ve said to many of my clients, you have to learn to get out of your own way to reach your goals. This will be a 30 day online course designed to tackle some of the hardest aspects of making lifestyle changes and taking responsibility for the outcome. Examples of subjects covered are optimal health and fitness, branding you (instead of trying to be others), goal setting, goal reaching, how to deal with people (especially those who are less supportive), how to handle roadblocks, self-confidence techniques, budgets for your time, energy, and money, PLUS loads more. You learn how to build the habits of a succesful life. This one will be open to 100 people FREE OF CHARGE.

Last, but not least is the APRIL CHALLENGES! I’ll have 3 challenges beginning April 2nd. My challenge groups so far have been experiencing phenomenal results so I’m excited about starting 3 new ones. As always, you’ll get all the coaching you need (and probably some you don’t want!) to help you reach your full potential. I’ll be putting up the actual challenges next week, but here’s the teaser:

So, that’s the announcements for now. I hope all of ya’ll are up and enjoying life today. Remember, don’t just show up and sit on the bench, GET IN THE GAME!

Michelle

Savvy tricks to WIN the battle of the bulge

So, why is this here? Because it’s Monday and we’re all usually looking at getting back on track with our goals. I don’t know about you, but my fitness DOES run week-long (meaning 7 days) however, the weekends are more casual. I still get kick butt workouts in, but I might allow a treat. This past weekend my hubby and I went out on a date and I totally scarfed on Romanos Macaroni Grill rosemary bread. Have you ever had that? Oh my goodness, it’s so good you’ll slip into a carb coma and never want to leave! I digress…

So, what I am trying to get you to see is that it’s ok to treat every once in a while. I also had a self-inflicted rest day due to serious water retention and sore legs (I refuse to believe my beloved bread had ANYTHING to do with that…but it probably did). You see, your fitness and by result, your body, are made by what you do 80% of the time. So, 80% of my time is eating clean and living lean. That’s how I have gotten to this almost no-brainer stage of health and fitness. I don’t have to remind my core to turn on, it does so out of habit. I don’t worry about what I will eat, it happens by habit. Do you see the pattern here? What are the top habits of incredibly fit and energetic people?

  1. They have a good attitude. Yeah, I put this one first because I’m tired of the “poor me” and “if only” attitudes I’ve seen lately. If you’re not a naturally positive person, fake it! Nobody cares to hear you whine and if you keep on, you’ll be by yourself at your pity party. I say it out of love! Ditch the bad attitude and be grateful for each day. We all have aches, pains, and set backs, but your attitude is one of the biggest components of your success.
  2. They are consistent with their workouts. Fit people know when their next workout is and they know what their next workout is. We don’t leave it to chance, or say “I’ll try to workout”. It is non-negotiable, like eating, sleeping, and breathing.
  3. They eat a lot of the same foods. I have way too many people who want way too much variety in their diet. Don’t get me wrong, having some variety is cool, but when you EXPECT a lot of variety then you get into the trouble zone of over eating. Like I tell all my clients, you can gain weight on celery if you eat too much. Fit people find what works best, what fits into their time frame and we stick to it. Ask Lance Armstrong and he’ll tell you his diet (especially race prep) is consistent and clean, sticking to a lot of the same foods.
  4. Fit people find excuses to move. Why do you think we drink so much water? Because I just burned extra calories with that sprint to the bathroom baby! Accidental exercise is essential to fit people, mostly because it keeps our muscles warm and our metabolism firing. You’ll see me standing more than sitting, I walk, step touch, little hops, glute squeezes, knee raises, stretches, etc. When people look at you funny say, “I know, don’t you wish you had this energy? Guess what, you can!” I totally say that and most people appreciate the little bits of advice. Side note here: don’t give advice you are not licensed to give please!
  5. We write it down. Fit people write down our food and exercise DAILY! There is rarely a day when I go without writing things down. Yes, I wrote down the macaroni grill meal and beside it I wrote how GOOD it was :) . I also write down all of my workouts and how I felt. There are days when I feel super weak or sore and I make a note of that. THIS is the BEST way to track your progress, period. Don’t argue or try to get out of it. By the way, out of every single client I have ever had, those that actually used pen and paper (as opposed to a computer) lost weight quicker, and kept it off as long as they kept logging. If you’re worried about the environment, plant a tree….

That is 5 things you can start doing  TODAY to get your fitness and physique on track. No excuses for you because you are on to the next stage.

Michelle

P90X2: Two Days in Review

Hey guys!

So, after reviewing tough love, I decided it may be a little too tough today, but you will see it at some point! For now, let me tell you what’s going on in the Carlson house…

For the past 2 mornings I have started waking up at 4:15 (as opposed to 4:30) and setting up our living room for the battle! My hubs and I are doing P90X2 at 5 a.m. every morning and I, for one, am LOVING IT! I needed a new challenge thrown at me because even though I am a sicko that enjoys a good sweat session, I can become complacent in my workout habits and stop seeing results. Yeah, I’m always striving to improve. Think of it progress, not perfection. I noticed a few weeks ago that I wasn’t seeing what I wanted for the amount of time and energy I was putting into my workouts. That meant it was time for a change! I talked with my love and we decided P90X2 was one we could do together. So, I wake up and clear the living room floor and get everything ready, then get him up to have a light snack and get started.

Day one was CoreX and it was great (I’m getting the feeling I won’t find any not great though). The moves are really complex which left me feeling like I’ll do 200% better the next time since I’ll know what’s coming. Note to reader: this is why exercise programs always say to watch before you do! So, yesterday morning we huffed and puffed and groaned through it and by about 2 p.m. my abs were already sore. Then I taught kickboxing last night :) . This morning was Plyocide, or Death by Plyometrics, as Tony Horton calls it. I felt more in my element here as it’s cardiovascular endurance training. think of how athletes train….yep, that was me! I was jumping and laughing at the “rabbit” so hard. My glutes were killing me this morning, but plyo worked them out, then worked them over. My endurance level is above average because I’ve trained for it to be (hello! I have to kickbox AND talk at the same time for an hour!) and this workout still challenged me through the variety of movements. During water breaks I was usually still hopping around and I have been pumped up ALL DAY.

Tomorrow is the Recovery and Mobility and I do love playing with foam rollers:) Each workout so far has been an hour long, but we have found it doable before the workday starts. After the workout, Alan goes to get ready and I whip up some Shakeology (today he made mine though, that sweet man!). It all works with some effort. P90 isn’t a beginner program in my professional opinion, but there are others beginners can try and I WILL make sure to get a review of those up in this next week.

Keep on moving and have a HEALTHY day!

Michelle