If not for the skinny jeans…

Archive for the ‘tips and tricks’ Category

This is one of the best “extras” anyone could (and should) have in their fitness arsenals.  It’s cheap and effective!

What is a foam roller you ask.  In a nutshell it’s a big tube with different materials wrapped around it depending on how resistant you want it to be.  There are foam rollers, which are the softest, going up to using just a piece of PVC pipe, giving you the deepest release.  My personal foam roller is this one.  I honestly love it and use it at least once a day, every day.

Using a foam roller acts almost like trigger point massage and myofascial release all in one, and without the high price tag.  It is also used post training sessions to help lengthen and stretch your muscles, as well as helping to rid the muscles of lactic acid buildup, allowing you to perform better at your next training session.

I absolutely love this thing!  I use it for my IT Band, my shins, my calves, my inner thighs, my back, my shoulders… want me to keep going?  Seriously though, it works miracles.  Sometimes it may not hit the knots between my shoulder blades just right, so I’ll switch to its tinier cousin, the tennis ball 🙂

If you’re curious to know of a couple different ways to use a foam roller, just read on and make sure to click the links!  Before I leave you to your videos though, I do want to point something out.  If you have never had trigger point therapy done, it can be rather uncomfortable.  The reason being is that you’re breaking up knots that have been building up.  Nick jokes that the more it “hurts” the more I need it!  This should go without saying, but I’ll say it to be safe.

DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT HURTS YOU!!

There is a big difference between being uncomfortable and hurting!  Learn it!  Once you’re foam rolling, you’ll find those knots and if it hurts, you need to back up the amount of pressure you’re applying, which more times than not, can be done simply by a slight shift in your body position.

IT Band –

Hamstrings –

Shins –

Glutes –

Quads –

Lower Back –

Upper Back –

Lats –

This list could seriously go on and on!  I’m hoping I’ve intrigued you enough that maybe you’ll do yourself the favor and consider it an investment in injury prevention and go pick one up!  Just google or bing it to your hearts desire and you’ll find a ton more exercises to help numerous muscle groups!

Have a great night everyone!!  I hope you all love foam rolling as much as I do!!

First and foremost: LINK IS HOME!!! His two week “vacation” started this morning, so I was crazy getting the house and kids ready, which is more or less the reason I haven’t posted much in the past week (ish).

Now, onto blog business. A quick update with my “no scale” challenge. It’s been hard. Honestly. I hate not knowing how much I weigh. At one point, a couple of weeks ago, Nick wanted to get my stats, so I found out then what my weight was, and seriously, it was like getting taking a huge breath after you’ve been underwater to that point just before you know you might want to consider coming up for air. I haven’t looked since though. I’m starting to feel the “itch” though. LOL May 4th is the day my scale comes back out. One more week.

On Friday Nick decided it was a good day to work my entire back half. Wow. Lots of dead lifts. Lots and lots of dead lifts. I was actually able to do 185 pounds, whereas last week I could only do 165 pounds. 20 pound difference in a week? I’ll take it! I try to tell myself those are the numbers that matter, even if it doesn’t sink in every time.

We also did some ab work on the TRX. It’s a great training area/device/contraption/torture device if you can find the right form. Some of the exercises are a bit hard to find the right form, at least for me they are, but I think that’s what I’m going to start working on because I really do like how it works.

I’ve included a couple of pictures that Nick took while I was working with cables and while on the TRX.

—Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have!

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Since starting this adventure into the world of “fit living,” I’ve had to make some serious changes.  Not just environmental, but mentally and emotionally.  When a person endeavors to better themselves, the only way to achieve that goal is by changing and adapting.  Here is a list of some of the biggest changes I’ve had to make in order to make myself the best person I can be.

1. Drinking close to, if not more than a gallon of water a day.  I used to drink half my body weight (in oz) of any liquid.  Now, I strive to drink at least my body weight (so 159 ounces) in water.  If I drink something besides water, I don’t count it.  Honestly, the only things I really drink are almond milk, coffee and water, so not counting liquids hasn’t been too hard.

2. My general mindset.  I used to get frustrated when the results weren’t happening as quickly as I wanted them to.  I used to “cheat” and say if I didn’t write it in my tracker I didn’t eat it.  I used to think that I could never get to my goals.  I know better now.  I know that I am worth all the effort I’m putting into this.  I know that great things take time to develop.  I know that even if I don’t write it down, my body is keeping a very accurate journal of what I’m putting into it.

3. I need to eat.  It’s very frustrating when you’re trying to lose weight to be told, “You need to eat more.”  But they’re absolutely right.  I’m eating every 2 -3 hours now.  All my meals can fit on a small dinner plate.  I’m getting 5-6 meals a day, and 1-2 of them of drunk.  I am eating so much cleaner now.  I can actually listen to my body and know what it’s telling me (for the most part).

4. My body needs the release it gets from lifting weights and/or getting a good sweat.  “Sweat is just fat crying.”  That saying has helped me more times than I can count.  I now look forward to sweating, since I equate it to how hard I was working at the gym.

5. Emotionally, I’ve also had to change.  I used to want this for other people.  My husband, my daughter, my friends.  No one likes being the fat girl.  Now, I realize how much I want this for me!  I don’t want to have to worry about diabetes.  I don’t want to have to get on medication to control the functions in my body that should be handled with living a healthy lifestyle.  And yes, I want to look good.  I love fitting into my 8’s now.  I love buying clothes that wouldn’t have fit me just two years ago.  I feel better about so many other things now.  That being said, I’m not overly thrilled with my lack of bust now, but I’ll take the no boobs over being fat with boobs any day!  They make push-ups for a reason!  LOL

I know that with each stage in this endeavor, new adaptations will have to be made.  I look forward to making them and learning from them!

I was talking to a friend the other day and she asked me what I’ve been doing to keep my stomach flat.  First, I laughed at her because my stomach is FAR from flat.  She got it.  She then said, “I mean, what are you doing to not be poochy?”  Oh!  So here’s the thing.  The ladies in my family seem to be just as prone to get that lower belly pooch that so many other women get, most noticeably after pregnancy.  I’ve never really had one.  Even when I was super über fat!  It all “pooched” together LOL  I told her that I haven’t really been doing much of anything.  I said that I give most of the credit to when I decided to have these crazy painful injection shot into my gut fat to hopefully minimize the fat cells.

taken 3/18/13 after working out at the gym

taken 3/18/13 after working out at the gym

(It was a series I couldn’t finish because it was so painful!  The company I was going through eventually stopped offering them because clients weren’t finishing the series and thusly were not getting the results they were expecting.)

back to my story

She asked me what I did before that.  Now I was looking at her like she was crazy.  Yes, I was in Army for a bit, but I was never super fit.  I could pass my PT test, but that was about the extent of it.  Then it hit me!  Something I have been doing since I started driving.

How do I know this happened when I started driving?  Because it was the only time I would do it.

If you’ve read my history you know that I had some serious self-image issues.  I didn’t have much of a muffin top but the fat on my stomach still bothered me so much that while I was driving I would always “suck it in.”  Yup.  That roll that hung around my midsection was so embarrassing for me.  As the years progressed, I stopped “sucking it in” as much as I would keep it contracted.  I honestly don’t know when the change happened.  And I literally do this ALL THE TIME.  Like now,  I’m sitting here, belly contracted inwards.  I do it when I’m driving, while I’m doing strength exercises, while I’m doing my cardio, while I’m eating dinner.  Literally…. all.the.time.

It’s the only thing that I can think of that I do that stops me from getting the pooch.  Now, catch me a day after I’ve eaten my weight in sodium (i.e. anything from a fast food joint), and you’ll tell me I’m full of it.  LOL

So maybe while you’re driving, contract your belly in, hold it at the stop lights.  It might make a difference, it might not.  I honestly can’t say for sure, but if nothing else, it keeps your core stable and that can only be a good thing!

wake up – 7 am

breakfast – 8 am ; normally its a 1/2 C of oatmeal.  I like to try different flavors, but oatmeal is definitely my go-to for breakfast.  I will also eat a single egg and 3 egg white omelet occasionally filled with lots of veggies to break up the monotony.  I will pair either one with a non-fat yogurt (I shoot for greek, but I’m not against regular yogurt) and a piece of fruit like a banana.

snack – 11 am ; some sort of complex carb paired with a proteinDSC_0018

lunch – 12:30-1 pm ; a chicken sandwich made with toasted light bread, 2 tablespoons of regular hummus, tomato, cucumber and lettuce.  Depending on how full I am, I may have a side salad to go along with it.

snack – 3:30-4pm ; homemade protein bar and an apple

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yes i know this doesn’t go exactly with what I wrote but it’s good enough 🙂

dinner – 7-7:30pm ; this varies A LOT.  I always try to stay away from gravies and thick sauces.  There is always a lean meat and at least 1 type of vegetable and a whole grain starch, like brown rice.  I do a lot of my cooking based on color.  I like there to be a lot of colors on my plate.

bedtime for the girls (finally) – 9-9:30 pm

evening snack – 10pm ; yea I know this is late, but it works for me.  Sometimes I will get some ice cream, sometimes I will grab a piece of fruit, or some crudités and hummus.  If it’s been a rough day, you can catch me sitting at the table munching on some cookies and milk.

Obviously there are some day-to-day variances, but this just gives you a general idea.

Since I started my new fitness regimen, I decided it was probably best to heed the advice of so many trainers and articles and start adding dietary supplements.  Before I bought anything I did some research to make sure that what I get is appropriate for the type of lifestyle I am currently living.  Once I bought it all and it made its way to me (THE NEXT DAY), I was a little surprised by how much I was going to be taking.  I had to re-research some of the supplements.  DSC_0021

As you can see, it really does look like a lot.  Honestly though, there are only five supplements there, but the dosage is two pills.  The back amber-colored capsules are a smart fats complex (as in Omega 3’s).  The green ones are my Vitamin C.  DSC_0022The beige colored pills are my multivitamins.  The ugly yellow ones are my fish oil pills…  my least favorite.  And the two big ones in the center are Vitamin D.

I also use whey protein as a way to get more protein into my diet, because honestly, I can only eat so many meats and beans.  🙂  I also take a green tea extract supplement and a BCAA supplement.  The BCAA stands for Branched Chained Amino Acids.  I take both supplements before my workout, so that by the time I’m done working out, the BCAA is already in there, doing its job.

Here is a quick run down of the benefits of each one:

BCAA – helps with the rebuilding of muscle after strength training

Green Tea Extract – helps burn fat and gives a small amount of energy

Vitamin C – boost immune system health

Vitamin D – supports bone health as well as supporting thyroid functions

Multivitamin – provides the fundamental building blocks of nutrition

Fish Oil – an essential fatty acid, helps rebuild existing cells and create new ones, as well as supporting cardiovascular health and joint flexibility

Smart Blend – enhances body fat reduction, increases your immune system, and support cardiovascular health

This is one of the posts that I have been wanting to write since I started this.  We all have our sources of inspiration, regardless of the meaning behind the journey.  And of course, all of our adventures into creating better selves will be exponentially different from one another.  That’s the joy of all this.

I wanted everyone to know where I find inspiration.  Where I turn to when things just aren’t going as planned.  First, my five-year old.  My constant source of unconditional love.  Sappy, right? LOL  Here’s the thing though, for as much as I love her, she has no problem at all telling me I’m squishy, or that my belly is wiggly “like jello,” or that, as she says, I’ve got a big ol’ booty.  Yup, gotta love that 5-year-old honesty.  Some times it bugs me.  I mean, no one likes their faults pointed out. She’s also pointed out to other family members things about their appearances, and we’re working with her and her manners as far as that is concerned. Other times, I appreciate that she makes me face my flaws.  She will also tell me when I look nice.  She even notices when clothes are fitting me looser (and occasionally tighter).  I love her for her honesty.  I don’t worry about creating this image of perfection in her head because although she understands that I’m overweight, she also understands that the reason I want to lose the “squishiness” is not to look like the women in the magazines, but so that I can have more energy and be a better, healthier mom for her and her sister.

I also get tons of inspiration from all the members of my Weight Watchers meetings.  It’s great hearing their success stories, and celebrating with them when they hit milestones, or even better, hit goal!

The last place I look for inspiration is from my dear friend Erin, although I doubt she knows it.  Erin and I aren’t super close, but she is such an amazing person I make sure I keep contact with her.  We were both army spouses at the same time and it wasn’t until after our husbands deployed together a second time that we really became friends.  It was during this time that I really learned who she was.  An absolutely amazing person.  To me, she is the picture of perfection.  Her fiancé is an incredibly lucky man (and I’m sure he knows it).  She makes living a healthy, balanced life a priority for her and her family.  I know I can always ask her questions.  Not just about losing weight, but about life in general, from financial to personal, and she’s always got great advice to give me.  She has overcome so much in the little time she’s been here (she’s in her mid-twenties) that the world better watch out.  She’s a power house of energy and love!  I hope everyone gets the privilege of befriending her!

Changing a person’s life is ridiculously taxing to a person’s entire being.  I find inspiration in people that have no idea that they are inspiring me to continue on my path.  I appreciate and love them all.


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