Tag Archives: strength

Funky Tie-Dyed Yoga

I have had several readers ask me to continue sharing my workout plans and fitness tips, so I figured I would fill you in today with a new DVD that I tried this morning.

I kicked off this morning with a 30-minute yoga workout via my new Power Yoga: Strength and Flexibility with Rodney Yee. The DVD is broken into two workouts — strength and flexibility. So, I did the strength section of the DVD.

I liked this workout because it definitely helped me break a sweat, but it was not soooo difficult that the novice yogi could not participate in the workout.

Here’s my question for you: Would you workout next to me in yoga class? These are the funkiest exercise pants I have ever owned, but every time I wear them they make me smile.

After yoga, I went for a run, and I really had to take it slow. I was hurtin’  from a couple days of tough exercise, so I just decided not to push it and move slowly, focusing on my foot movements and swinging my arms. I ran 3.6 miles in 32 minutes which is about 9-minute miles. It felt good to get outside and enjoy the fall weather. Autumn is my favorite season . . . not too cool and not too hot! Just right. (;

But, given the looming winter weather, I am curious: What is your favorite way to stay fit in chilly conditions? Share them here, and I will lend you a few pointers tomorrow!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Lisa! I just love you.

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Filed under Eat, Pray, Run, September 2008

Workin’ Those Abs for Summer Fun!

I started off the day with some Ab exercises from Fitness magazine. Hey, it is vacation time, so that means it is also time to bare my lily white belly.

Gotta get in bikini shape!

I found this program in Fitness’ Web site called The 4-Week Ab-a-thon. Pretty cute, right? Anyway, I just kicked off Week 1 today, and boy did it get my tummy muscles going! My kitties were pretty freaked out by the figure eight exercise, but I could definitely feel it in my obliques.

I’m not sure if it’s my favorite ab workout, but we will see how my stomach feels about it tomorrow.

One bonus: I like waking up in the morning and sweating, even if it’s just for a bit. It always seems to give you that extra jolt you need to get your morning started!

Breakfast was a bowl of cereal; about 1 cup of All-Bran’s Strawberry Medley and 1/2 cup of Cascadian Farms’ Raisin Bran with 1 cup skim milk. I am not to fond of this brand of raisin bran, so I have been mixing small bits of it into more favorable cereal so it does not go to waste. I also had a juicy nectarine — it was perfect!

I had a homemade iced coffee in between breakfast and lunch — still fighting that caffeine addiction!

Lunch was leftover chicken salad from yesterday (about 3/4 cup) on 2 slices of whole grain bread with shredded carrots and lettuce for toppings. I also had the rest of last night’s broccoli on the side.

In addition to lessening coffee consumption, I am also still working on getting more sleep. Last night was about 5 1/2 hours again, and I am definitely feeling it. I just keep reminding myself that vacation is coming!

I am still working on getting outside on this fabulous summer day for a walk or run. I will keep you posted, but for now I have got work to do!

Happy afternoon!!

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Filed under Eat, June 2008, Pray, Run

Time for a Change … Are You Up for It?

I don’t really even know where to begin this post, so I am just going to start and try to make it sound as coherent as possible.

The whole purpose of this blog was to initiate change; a huge change not only for me, but for the readers who follow it so faithfully.

We all are here because we are looking to make our lives better — whether it be by eating healthier foods (Eat), calling upon spirituality and holistic health (Pray), or getting up off our asses and going for a walk (Run).

WE WANNA MAKE A CHANGE.

But as of late, I have been feeling like I have been promoting so much change for others and ignoring the changes my own body is craving. In other words, I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. At least, that is how I feel today.

Well, I have been reading this fabulous book — The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Any Change (and Loving Your Life More) — as a result of my new job with the First30Days Web site, and I have got to tell you that it has really got me athinkin’. Mix that with my overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction with the way I have NOT been healthfully living and you gotchyourself a recipe for change!

So, I thought, “Why not share it with my readers at Eat, Pray, Run?”

Now, because the theme of the book and Web site is to commit to thirty days of change I have kicked off my personal challenge this morning. Throughout the next 30 days I am going to blog the steps I am taking to make my day a healthier one, and, hopefully, you can learn from it, too.

I think you will.

To make things easy, a list of things I would like to change:

1.) I want to be stronger. I don’t necessarily need to lose weight, but I would like to see an overall commitment to building physical strength. I want girly musk-les. So, you will begin to see more workouts from me — I mean, I am going to give ’em all a shot! I probably won’t be able to sit down on the toilet without holding onto the sides, but I am going to go all out anyway. Look for pictures, videos and workout reviews. I look really red-faced and silly when I exercise, but your going to get it all, right here.

2.) I want to eat more healthfully. I work and run around like a crazy girl a lot, and when I do sit down to eat, I don’t necessarily feel like cooking — or eating healthfully for that matter. Eating sporadically and not putting the best foods into my body is starting to wear on me. Therefore, I will begin to post what I am eating to keep me in check, and give you some healthy meal ideas. Lemme know if you have any other suggestions for this part of the 30-Day Challenge.

3.) I need more SLEEP. Again, I love what I do and, therefore, I put a lot of time toward making my writing life better each day. This is not a bad thing in the least bit, but when it begins to completely compromise your sleep and make you lean on coffee like it’s a prized gem, you may have a problem. I do. So, I am also going to begin to try to commit to more sleep. I think it will help me eliminate stress, mood swings and, of course, dark circles. I will log it in here, and I am counting on all of you to hold me accountable.

4.) I want to be more spiritual. I have so many fabulous spiritual resources and I feel like I don’t put them to good use. Look for more tips from experts, and reviews of books, CDs and classes. Come on, people, help me say, “Ommm….”

Now, I am going on vacation at the end of the week, so some of the meals might be pretty bo-ring. But I will try to jazz it up as much as I can . . . promise.

I am going to end this post here, but stay tuned for a few more separate posts today that will highlight what I am eating and a really interesting quiz.

In the mean time, check out the 9 Principles of Change located in the right sidebar of this page. You will see them there every day, and they will serve as a reminder of why we are here.

Wanna make a change? Keep checking Eat, Pray, Run for inspiration, and sign up for the free First 30 Days daily email program where you will get the tips you need to make a change today!

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Filed under Eat, June 2008, Pray, Run

Why a Quickie Can Be a Good Thing

I do love exercise — running and Pilates and yoga and things of the sort. But sometimes, it is just plain old hard to squeeze it in, ya know?

That’s why I was so happy when I found this Perfect Circuit workout in the May 2008 issue of Fitness magazine. Check it out; it is a great strength routine, and really gets your muscles going! The next day, I could definitely feel the lunges and squats in my butt! :

The Perfect Circuit:

WHAT YOU’LL NEED – A pair of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells. The last few reps of each move should be really difficult, so increase weight as needed.

♥ Warm up (walk on treadmill, bike slowly, march in place, jump rope) for five minutes. Then, complete one set of the following:

  • 24 alternating lunges with bicep curls, holding a dumbbell in each hand
  • 20 plié squats, feet turned out to sides, knees behind toes, holding a dumbbell in each hand. As you squat, raise arms straight out in front of chest. Lower arms as you lift back up.
  • Two 45-second plank holds, hands below shoulders, abs engaged, back straight; lift one leg each time
  • 20 alternative reverse lunges, holding a dumbbell in each hand. As you lunge back, lift arms straight out to sides at shoulder height, palms down. Lower arms as you stand up.
  • 20 squats, holding a dumbbell in each hand. As you squat, press dumbbells straight overhead, palms facing forward. Lower arms as you lift back up.
  • 1 to 3 minutes of cardio (such as jogging in place, doing jumping jacks or jumping rope)

Rest for 1 minute, then do another set, switching up the order of the exercises.

Happy exercising!

P.S. I would never wear such derrière-exposing shorts when exercising, but good for her (model) I guess!

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Filed under April 2008, Run

Thought for the Day!

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.Mohandas Gandhi

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Filed under April 2008, Pray

April Showers Bring . . . Well, That Is Up to YOU!

I hope by now you have all picked up your April issue of SELF magazine. Not only is it a fantastic issue with a focus on how to “green” your life, but it also includes the second part of the SELF Challenge!

My favorite move from the list of new strength moves is the Thigh Tightener. Any time I have ever gained weight it has always been in my butt and thighs, so I found this exercise to be particularly relevant to my, ahem, backside:

thightightener.jpg

Thigh Tightener — Works arms, abs, butt, legs
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, one weight in both hands at chest. Squat deeply (as shown), then tilt forward as you lower weight to floor and straighten legs. Return to squat position, then return to standing. Do 12 reps.
As you move further into the Challenge, I also encourage you all to lean on your friends and family for support. There are also a number of online communities that have been put together to help you toward your goal for a healthier life. Check out the SELF Forum and, if you are a member of Facebook, the SELF 2008 Challenge group created by Eat, Pray, Run reader Cristina.
Reforming your life to find a more healthy YOU is tough, so don’t forget to take advantage of the many support resources that are all around you!
→ Lastly, I am am looking so forward to trying this Red Chile and Pecan Slaw — it looks so fresh and yummy!

Red Chile and Pecan Slaw
Serves 4
Dressing
32 oz nonfat vegetable stock, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup sweet Thai chile sauce, such as Mae Ploy
1/4 cup apple cider (or rice wine) vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Slaw
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1/2 tsp dark chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb red cabbage, shredded
1/4 lb green cabbage, shredded
1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
Preparation:
Stir 1/2 cup vegetable stock with cornstarch in a measuring cup until blended. Bring remaining 28 ounces stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in stock-cornstarch mixture. Stir rapidly until stock is the consistency of olive oil. (It should cling to the back of a spoon.) Cool to room temperature, skim off and discard any film on top. Place cumin seeds in a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir until aroma of seeds is released, about 1 minute. Blend 1/4 cup stock in a blender with cumin seeds and remaining dressing ingredients until smooth. (Refrigerate or freeze leftover stock.) Heat oven to 350º. Combine pecans, chili powder and oil in a mixing bowl; toss to coat pecans. Place nuts on a cookie sheet and roast until the aroma of the chili powder is released, 3 to 4 minutes. Combine dressing and slaw ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
THE SKINNY 168 calories per serving, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 21.7 g carbs, 4.4 g fiber, 3.2 g protein
♥ This month, my personal goal is to put a major focus on increasing strength. What are your goals for April?

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Filed under Eat, March 2008, Pray, Run

Are YOU Up for the Challenge?

exercise-buddies-2.jpgI have always found that a buddy, someone to lean on when the crunches get tough, is the best “tool” for any successful exercise or diet plan.

And for those of you who may be looking to lose weight or just to get back in shape, I have found the perfect tool for you and your closest buds!

The 2008 SELF Challenge was recently released online and in their March issue. I have always been a big supporter of the plans that SELF puts together; I love the fact that they really require little work to follow — the eating and exercise plans are completely laid out for you — and it is a regimen that you can follow with friends.

This year’s challenge really tops the ones that I have seen in the past. First of all, the nutritionist, Katherine Brooking, put together a 1,600-calorie food plan that includes easy-to-use blocks which are required to put together meals. Each block — dairy, protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fruit and veggies, an one treat — is equivalent to a specific food and portion size. For example, one treat block — the best one! — is equal to 3 Dove Dark Chocolate Miniatures or 16 oz. Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino Light. Even if you are someone like me, who is not necessarily trying to lose weight, but just eat more healthfully, this system is awesome because it allows you to learn how to put together healthy, balanced meals.

The second part of SELF’s Challenge is the exercise. For this aspect of the program, SELF has put together a cardio and strength plan which, for the first month of the program, includes 2 strength and 3 cardio sessions per week. The strength exercises come equipped with tear-out cards that include instructions, and no fancy equipment is required — just a pair of 3 to 10 lb. free weights.

As for the cardio, the thrice-weekly sessions are 25 minutes each and vary in intensities. For example one cardio workout is called “Get Slim, Gain Energy” and uses different intensities to build endurance. SELF also includes 1-minute “Bonus Burners,” such as jumping rope, which burns thirteen calories per minute.

The online portion of the program also includes down loadable video and MP3 workouts, food and exercise diaries for you to keep track of meals and workouts, and a progress chart where you can document your starting weight, measurements and ability to do exercises, such as push ups. That way, as you continue on with the program, you will be able to track your weight and health progress.

I signed up for the program today,and signed the Challenge Pledge — because putting it in writing always makes it more official! My goals this month are to get stronger and increase my endurance. What I am saying here is that I would like to be able to do more than 2 3/4 push ups, people!!

I also think that the Challenge will help me to continue to be motivated to get out there and get moving. What’s more, it could not come at a better time, seeing as how my family, friends, this community and I are preparing to participate in the 2008 Pittsburgh Race for the Cure (see sidebar for more information about our team and how to join).

I hope that each one of you, too, will sign on for the challenge. No matter what our individual health or weight loss goals are I think it is fabulous that we can use a forum such as this to support each other in our combined goal for healthier lives.

Now, get goin’!

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Filed under Eat, March 2008, Run