Advertisements

Switch Up Your Workouts

Hey y’all, so I know you’re still going strong on those New Years resolutions and keeping up with those workouts, so now’s the perfect time to remind you to switch up your workouts for this Wellness Wednesday.

We all know how important it is to keep up with your cardio and it’s also equally important to switch up your workouts to make sure they stay effective. I don’t mean that you have to completely change what you’re doing, because that’s not it at all, but you should mix things up a bit. What many people don’t realize is that if they continue to do the same workout every day, it won’t work the same way that it did a few weeks ago. You need to change it up a bit whether that be trying a new workout to get you out of a rut or just adding to your current workouts. It also doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but if you’re pretty regularly doing cardio and then arms, try adding in a new workout for your arms, you can find several on Pinterest. This will help shake up your workout and get you working a different part of your muscles too. The same thing goes for cardio, if you find that you’ve suddenly hit a rut in what you’re doing, change it up. If you’re on a treadmill, adjust the elevation of your workout, or try going faster and see if you’re finding that to be challenging for you. These changes can be simple tweaks that can make a huge difference.

If you find you’re just growing bored with your current workout or it really doesn’t seem to be working for you, don’t be afraid to try something new! I have tried so many different workout classes and exercises from Zumba to kickboxing to running outside to treadmills and ellipticals, and not all of them worked for me, and that’s ok. I tried it, if I loved it, I kept coming back and if I hated it, I tried something else! Even if everyone raves about it, it’s ok if you don’t enjoy that type of workout. My friend and I tried pilates once, and neither of us got what the big deal was. What works for some doesn’t work for others.

Switch up your workout every now and then and see what a difference it makes!

Advertisements

Have an Evening Routine

Hey y’all, so there are some nights when it seems like there is just too much to be done and too little time to do it…at least, that’s how I feel sometimes. You know what really helps me to get things done and stay focused? Having an evening routine. I know, I know, but trust me on this, it really does help. The past few weeks I’ve been coming home from work and first thing I do is change and get my workout in, and I haven’t missed a day, and that was during the crazy holiday times too! I then have a bit of energy so I can get some chores done, make dinner, etc. It’s all because I have an evening routine and that really helps me to streamline my night.

Don’t Join a Gym if You Won’t Go

New Years is a time of the year when gym memberships go up. Everyone is posting about “New Year, new me” and they’re determined to get themselves in shape. They go out, they sign up for a gym nearby that has some New Year membership deal, and then they feel they are good to go. Here’s the problem with that. In a few months, many of those who signed up will be avoiding the gym because it’s just not the right fitness option for them. So here’s my advice: don’t join a gym if you won’t go.

It sounds harsher than I mean for it to sound. Gyms are fantastic, they have cardio equipment, weight machines, free weights, and some even have massage chairs and other amenities that can be taken advantage of. However, for many, that’s just not the right option for them to complete their fitness goals. If you dread getting up and going to the gym and constantly have an excuse not to, then quite simply don’t go. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your health goals completely, quite the opposite. It just means your money may be better spent elsewhere.

While most people only think about joining a gym when they are looking at ways to improve their fitness goals, there are actually a bunch of different ways you can meet your health and fitness needs, without ever stepping foot into a gym.

  • Join a sports group. There are many groups you can find on Meetup or even on local bulletin boards where people meet up to play sports. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play tennis or are really interested in getting back on the basketball court after your glory days in high school. Joining a gym won’t help you with that, but joining a group or a league will help you meet new people, and perfect your playing skills.
  • Find a fitness class. There are a few gyms that offer fitness classes with their other equipment, but for the most part fitness classes are separate, so if you’re really looking more for the fitness class rather than the gym equipment, find a fitness class that interests you. My best friend is obsessed with kickboxing, and she goes daily. I personally love to dance, so dance cardio classes are super fun for me to get a workout in without even recognizing that I’m working out. There are so many different classes out there, it’s just a matter of finding one that interests you so you’ll actually want to go.
  • Find a walking group. You don’t need to pay for equipment that you won’t use when you have the great outdoors at your fingertips. The past few months, we’ve had several neighbors and their dogs start joining us on our walks around the neighborhood, so we’re getting some cardio and exercise in while also having some time to socialize with those that live near us.
  • Ride your bicycle. If you have a bike sitting in your garage that you keep meaning to take out, use it as your cardio! You’ll get some fresh air, and if you really enjoying riding your bike, this adventure won’t feel like exercise, unlike going to a gym.

There are other options out there as well, it’s just a matter of finding what interests you. The main point here is that you shouldn’t sign up for a gym because everyone else is, especially if it isn’t something that interests you. Exercise can be fun, if you find the right option for your personality. If you really love the community and workout you get from a gym, then keep going! Everyone is different and there is no one size fits all workout option.

Pace Yourself on Holiday Treats

The holidays are officially here and I know one of the biggest downsides, and biggest upsides, is that it’s cookie season. I am an avid baker, and I love trying new recipes out, which means I also looove eating cookies. Unfortunately, that’s not the best choice when it comes to healthy eating, so this means falling back on my favorite thing. Moderation.

Everything in moderation is my standard for things. I don’t overindulge, but I also don’t restrict myself to where I won’t have a piece of chocolate cake if I want it. However, I do have to exercise a bit more self control during Christmas cookie times because those are so delicious. Just make sure to pace yourself. Set yourself a limit and enjoy only a few a day, and make sure you have other healthy snacks in there too. There’s no harm in helping yourself to an extra cookie or two if you can balance it out.

One thing I like to do is pick and choose where my sugar comes from. If I go to Starbucks that day, I avoid the extra sugars elsewhere like in desserts, because I know that White Chocolate Mocha or Peppermint Mocha I love so much is loaded with sugar. However, if I’ve been having unsweetened herbal tea and water, then there is no reason for me to refuse the dessert menu or not help myself to a couple of cookies from the tray.

Another option is to lower the sugar count in your cookies. There are so many recipes out there and it’s easy to do. Another thing I like to do is increase the flour while decreasing the sugar. You get fluffier cookies, and the sweetness really doesn’t change.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for pacing yourself during the holidays? Drop them below, I’d love to read them!

Abs, Abs, Abs

Hey y’all! For this Wellness Wednesday, we’re going to be talking about abs. That’s right, it’s winter time, and I am still working on my abs, keeping them from disappearing even though sweater season is right around the corner. At least, in my case, I sure hope it is, Florida seems slow on the winter update.

So before you start moaning and groaning, let me first say that having a strong core can help you with so much more than just looking great at the pool or beach. While it definitely has that benefit, it’s also helpful for keeping you balanced, as well as helping you to build muscle in other areas. Not to mention, if you are a dancer or even singer, a stronger core will help you to perform better. I remember my ballet days, and despite the main focus being on my posture and form and stretching my legs, I also had to have a good core to be able to do some of those moves. So if you’ve ever wanted to pursue dance or singing, then you’ll definitely want to work on those abs.

Now, you may be thinking, ick crunches, I hate crunches. I actually don’t hate crunches, but they can get a bit boring. Not to mention, regular crunches only work one part of your abs, while you have other parts that need to be worked too. Luckily, there are some variations on crunches, which I do every single night.

  1. Froggy crunches. I’m sure there’s a better name for them, but they make me think of frogs for some reason. Basically, lay down on your back and put your feet together, with your knees on opposite sides, like the butterfly stretch, except laying down. Then do your crunches as normal.
  2. Legs up crunches. Again, a simple variation, you’ll just want to lift your legs up in the air, bent at the knees and do your crunches as normal.
  3. Planks. Oh planks, can’t say I don’t hate those, but they are fantastic for working on your abs. They aren’t necessarily a crunch variation, but they’re a great workout so they had to make the list.
  4. Standing crunches. These are better if you don’t want to get down on the floor. So you’ll stand with your feet shoulder length apart, and you’ll bring your leg up to your chest, one at a time, alternating, while also crunching your stomach inward.

I am trying to keep my health a focus and priority, and that means not taking many days off from workouts. These are some of my go-tos for every day, and so far I’m really seeing progress that I’m very happy with. I hope they help you out and that you continue to make fitness a priority in your life as well! And don’t feel that you can’t start now, New Years doesn’t have to be the starting point to getting your health where you want it.

Get Your Greens

Hey y’all so by now we’ve all heard it enough since we were kids to eat our greens. In fact, it’s just as important now to eat your greens as it was then. No, you’re probably not still growing into a big strong kid, but your body still needs that fuel and for this Wellness Wednesday, it’s all about getting your greens!

A colorful plate is a healthy plate is what health experts are saying, and while it’s tempting to look at a bowl of M&Ms or Skittles that’s not quite what they mean when they talk about a colorful plate. Instead, think about veggies!M&M's Chocolates in Bowl

I personally have always been pretty good about eating my vegetables, even since I was a kid. I always like broccoli, green beans, peas, even lima beans. But thankfully, my palate has expanded since then to now include other greens like kale, spinach, and asparagus. However, I understand that not everyone loves these things, which is why there are some easy ways to sneak it into foods, so you won’t even taste it. These tips are great for if you have kiddos too or simply struggle to make those healthy meals each night!

Get your greens tips:

  • Blend them in a smoothie. Adding fresh or frozen kale or spinach to a smoothie automatically bumps the healthy up a level, and with it blended with other fruit and delicious protein powder, you won’t even taste it! I even found a protein powder that has greens and the protein, I ordered some this weekend and once it arrives, I’ll start making my smoothies that way. If you’re interested, it’s Tone It Up Greens and Vanilla Protein Powder. Their protein is plant-based, and tastes fantastic.Clear Glass Bottle Filled With Broccoli Shake
  • Add them to pasta dishes. I know when I was a kid, I was a bit of a picky eater, but you know what would guarantee I’d eat it? Put it in pasta. I’d eat anything if there was pasta over or under it, and sadly, that hasn’t changed. But it’s a great way to get some spinach or even zucchini in your diet, without really noticing the taste.unnamed (2)
  • Speaking of zucchini, did you know there are zucchini brownies and muffins out there to make? They taste great, and I can assure you, you won’t even taste it. One of my favorites is pumpkin zucchini muffins, which you can find the recipe here. 
  • Eat them with rice for a delicious power bowl. These can be prepped ahead of time, and are so easy to make. Just start with a bed of brown rice, then add your favorite veggies, heavy on the greens, and voila, you have a delicious and healthy lunch that didn’t take too long to prepare.
  • Add them to casseroles. With the blend of different flavors, you won’t even realize you’re eating a whole bunch of veggies, because it tastes so good! There’s a plethora of healthy casserole dishes out there, all you have to do is a quick web search to pull up some recipes.
  • Make a veggie soup. Simple, delicious, and perfect for the cooler weather, soups can be a wonderful option for dinner with sandwiches or bread or salad, and you can get plenty of greens in there.

 

Have a Cup of Tea

Ahh tea, one of my absolute favorite drinks. It’s perfect for hot or cold weather, since you can drink it hot or iced, and there are so many flavors and styles, it’s impossible not to enjoy a good cup of tea. Not to mention, you can drink it however you like, with milk, sugar, lemon, nothing added at all, how you drink the tea is completely up to you. But you know what’s even better than all of that? The health benefits of drinking a good cup of tea.

I’ve been having a cup of tea each morning for months now, and even when I was a kid, my gram and I used to do tea parties each afternoon where we’d enjoy a cup of tea in her tea china. Needless to say, that holds amazing memories for me, and that’s definitely where my love of tea came from. However, if you don’t have something like that that made you a tea drinker, these health benefits may just convince you to have a cup of tea.

Health Benefits of Drinking Tea:

  • Soothes a sore throat. I think it’s safe to say we all want a nice hot cup of tea when we’re feeling sick and have a sore throat. It’s soothing, and there are certain types of tea that are better than others for helping it. Lemon tea is great for helping with that, as are the special Throat Coat teas that are made specifically with sore throats in mind.
  • Helps ease your stomach. A cup of ginger or peppermint tea can help if you are having some nausea or an upset stomach. It’s an all natural way to get feeling better in no time!
  • Helps ease anxiety. Peppermint and chamomile tea are great for helping when you are feeling anxious or stressed. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, chamomile is great as are special blends of night time tea that may include lavender or chamomile.
  • Gives antioxidants. Most teas, but especially green teas, are high in antioxidants which help your body to stay healthy. Having a cup of green tea each day can be extremely beneficial to your health.
  • Wakes you up. Green tea has an all-natural form of caffeine, so if you feel you can’t quite quit the coffee habit, this is a great alternative to help you still get that jolt. Black tea is also full of caffeine, so that’s a great option as well.
  • May help reduce heart issues and cancer. Tea has these things called flavonoids in it, which can be very beneficial for reducing heart issues and even potentially helping protect against cancer. Seems like a great reason to add a cup or two to your diet!
  • Lower cholesterol. Oolong tea has actually be found to help lower bad cholesterol in an animal study, so if that’s a health issue you’re currently working with, it certainly couldn’t hurt to add a cup or two each day to help with that.

The reality is, there are so many benefits to tea, some of which are just relaxation and enjoyment. One of my favorite things that I’ve done with some family friends is going to an afternoon tea and just spending time together over delicious little snacks and several pots of tea.

IMG_2010

Get Your Steps In!

I think by now we all know how important exercise is. However, did you know the reasoning behind getting in your 10,000 steps a day? Of course, most of us have heard of this goal, but we may not know the reasoning behind it. Luckily, I pulled that information, so you now know why you need to get your steps in!

As with most forms of exercise, getting your steps in is not just to torture you, there are real health benefits to it. So check them out and start walking!

  • Increased flexibility. That’s right, just walking can help with that, though I definitely suggest adding something else on too to help keep those muscles loose.
  • Burn fat. It’s a form of working out, so of course, by getting those 10,000 steps you are burning calories and fat.
  • Promote good digestion. This one may be a bit surprising, it’s actually not something I had known about previously.
  • Relieves stress. Especially now that we are getting into cooler weather, there’s nothing like a nice walk outside in the brisk fall air to help you get out of your head and let go of some of that stress.
  • Increases energy. All forms of exercise give you more energy after to tackle what’s left of your day, so make sure you hit those step goals!
  • Improves posture. This one is important for soo many reasons, the top one being, you don’t want to see a chiropractor once a week for the rest of your life! So stop slouching and get walking!

There have also been a few studies showing women especially are less likely to suffer from medical issues if they get their 10,000 steps a day. So ladies, and gents, please make time for this, and use a tool to help you know if you got your steps. If you have an Apple watch or Fitbit, check those stats! If not, pedometers and other fitness trackers are cheap, and easy to use 🙂

Get Those Gains

Hey y’all, this post is for those of you readers who want to work on some gains. Well, some of these tips come straight from a coworker and friend of mine who is absolutely crushing it in the health and fitness department, and I figured I’d share some of the tips that she gave to me.

Now, I’m not really focused on becoming a bodybuilder, but I do want to build up some muscle and get my arms especially a lot more toned than they are. I was chatting with my friend about this one day, and since she’s built up her body so much in the past few years and is super dedicated and focused on healthy eating and personal training, I figured I’d ask her for some tips and tricks, anything to really help me in this fitness goal, since I don’t have a lot of information on it.

Well guys, here are her suggestions on how to get those gains, at least a few pounds of muscle, and to really tone up and build.

  1. Do cardio for 30 minutes a day. You really don’t need much more than that, she’s not the only one saying this, there are many studies showing that if you do more than that, you’re not really doing much more for your body. So aim for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes of moderate cardio each week. This is also good for cardiac health, which is key to survival 😉
  2. Do various exercises every other day, taking a rest day in-between. So for example, if you do arms one day, do a whole bunch of different exercises to work all of the muscles, not just the main ones. Same thing for legs, but if you do this, you’ll want to do around 3 sets, and 10-15 reps of each, so you’ll definitely need to take that rest day in between your workouts.
  3. Build it up slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your muscles be. So take it slowly, and build up the weights slowly. If you’re like me and are working with dumbbells, rather than building up the weights, you’ll want to build up the sets. Just take your time, don’t move too fast because an injury will put you further behind.
  4. Use protein powder to help. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, and an easy way to do this is with protein powder. Every morning I make a protein smoothie for after my workout, for several reasons. One, it helps keep me full throughout the day, and two, it helps my muscles repair themselves after each workout, which is very important.
  5. Listen to your body. This may be the most important one, if your body hurts or something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body. Take an extra day off, make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too much to where you’ll suffer an injury. I know from experience that pushing yourself too hard, only results in you falling further behind on your goals, so take it from me, if your body is saying no, listen to it.
  6. Eat well. This is also key to building up those muscles, eat healthy fruits, veggies, and lean meats, and don’t be afraid to have several meals in a day. As long as you’re eating healthy things, don’t feel guilty about snacking. Snacks are important when you’re trying to build up your gains, so make sure you have good snacks like an apple in peanut butter or hummus and pita chips. Even trail mix is a great option with the nuts and dried fruit.

I hope these tips help, and if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

In honor of fall being just around the corner, I present to you, a cinnamon apple breakfast quinoa recipe that is sure to delight your tastebuds and keep you feeling full all morning long! This recipe makes enough for two, so if you’re cooking for more, just go ahead and double or triple the recipe.

You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • A dash of honey to taste

How To Prepare:

  • Put quinoa, water, and apples in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon, and serve with a dash of honey!

That’s it, it’s super easy! For drool-worthy pics and to check out the original recipe, go here. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

%d bloggers like this: