Archives for June 2011

Learn DIY Trigger Point Therapy And Get Rid Of Muscle Tightness!

For a couple of months, I’ve been learning self trigger point therapy to ease chronic muscle tightness (mostly) in my lower body.

It’s been one of the cheapest and most effective self-care techniques I’ve discovered so far.

The only investment I made up front was purchasing a trigger point therapy workbook from Amazon plus a tennis ball and a small bouncy ball/super ball. You can see my trigger point therapy “tools” in the picture on the right. (Ok, I got a foam roller too, but I haven’t really used it like I’ll explain later).

The point I’m trying to make is that I’m always looking for new, techniques I can use to treat my own pains and aches. It’s not that I wouldn’t love visiting massage therapists (I would), but in the long run it’s better and cheaper to learn to take care of yourself. Musculoskeletal pains and chronic muscle tightness is most often caused by bad movement habits, poor posture and physical inactivity. [Read more…]

Last Week’s Workouts Plus Full-Body-Licious Fitness

Last Thursday was a monster day: I took 15,204 steps!

I wasn’t even exercising,  I was just running errands and shopping in the city center. On my feet. I was really exhausted in the evening and had no energy left for my scheduled kettlebell workout.

On average, I took 10,929 steps per day. Here’s a breakdown of my workouts:

  • 1 x Sansone’s 2’mile walk
  • 1 x 50- minute Nordic walk
  • 1 x 30 minute kettlebells + strength training
  • 4 x 30-50 minute regular walks

You can see that I do a lot of walking.  That’s going to change.

Flavia Del Monte’s Full-Body-Licious Fitness Program

Last week I mentioned I was planning on purchasing a new workout program. I got Flavia Del Monte’s Full-Body-Licious Workout (aka a Female’s Formula For A Flawless Figure).  🙂

I’ve purchased other online programs, all developed by male trainers. While there was nothing wrong with those programs, I always had a feeling they were programs specifically developed for men. After reading Flavia’s blog and watching a couple of videos I was convinced enough to give her program a try.

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Guess what I my first thought was after downloading and checking out the videos?

“Eek, I’m in trouble! I’m never going to be able to do the workouts!”

You’re expected to do 5 hour-long full-body workouts that consist of compound movements and high intensity training (HIT). Because the program is too advanced for me as it is, my first task was to figure out modifications that suit my fitness level.

For example, I’m not able to do push ups, so there’s no way I’m going to do the push up plus burpee combo. Just burpees for me.

I’m glad you can’t see what my “burpees” look like! I have a distinct memory that they must have been easier.  But that was when I was younger… 😀

The five workouts in the Full-Body-Licious program focus on different body parts:

  1. Day 1: Tight and Trim Thighs
  2. Day 2: Show-off Stomach
  3. Day 3: Booty Booster
  4. Day 4: Sleek & Shapely Shoulders
  5. Day 5: Beautiful Backside

My plan is to do 3 workouts per week in the beginning with one day between them. When I get stronger, I’m going to make increase the number of workouts until I do all five in a week. My goal is to gradually get fit and strong and avoid overuse injuries. My motto: less is more.

I’ve done the first two workouts already. I especially loved the closed squats, “curtsies”, wide squats with Arnold press and woodcutters that were part of the thigh workout. I could feel the workout exercised my thighs from all angles.

I had more trouble with the stomach workout I did yesterday.  🙁

My stability ball jack knives really weren’t jack knives and I had to do side planks without crunches! And how on Earth are you supposed to touch the floor with your fingertips when you can’t unglue your sweaty forearms from the ball? I guess I should use talcum next time?

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I’m already feeling a bit different, as if my body had just been waiting for new stimulation.

I don’t think I’m ever going to have the kind of body (and abs) Flavia Del Monte has, but that’s not the point. I do expect to be much stronger and able to do those straight-body push ups when I finish, even if that takes me 6 months.

Also read my official Full-Body-Licious Review.

 

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My First Green Smoothie – With Raspberry And Spinach

green smoothie with raspberry and spinach

This is a placeholder picture, I put a real one in place when I get it out of the camera!

A few days ago I made my first green smoothie. I read about the health benefits of green smoothies somewhere, so I wanted to try them for myself.

And because I participate in Angie’s 30 Days to Better Healthy Living Challenge, I thought now is the perfect time to experiment with something new. 🙂

BTW, when I talk about green smoothies, I mean smoothies that include green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale or romaine as an essential ingredient. Depending on how much and what other ingredients you use, your smoothie might not actually turn green in color. [Read more…]

Why Do People at the Gym Have Bad Posture?

Woman with a forward head posture doing biceps curlsDo you know how to work out at the gym so that you don’t aggravate your bad posture even further? Here is another guest post by Dr. Natalie Cordova.

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“Maybe they just don’t know” I thought to myself after looking around the gym. I mean, they’re at the gym, working out, trying to take better care of themselves. They must have a serious interest in looking and feeling their best. Why else would they be here? Still I wondered, “Why do so many people at the gym have bad posture?”

As I sat watching, it became very clear to me the problem. They were all doing it. Bad posture on stair climber, bad posture on the treadmill, bad posture on all the weight machines.

A lot of people were using the equipment improperly, but that wasn’t telling the whole story. Most the exercises being done were all going to make the person’s posture worse, not better.

In any attempt to improve posture through exercise, you have to consider a couple of things. What activities do I do all day that may be contributing to my bad posture? What muscles do I need to exercise in order to make my particular posture problem better?

The first one is pretty easy for most computer users. They know they are hunched over the computer all day making things worse. Then their posture changes little when they drive home, when they eat their dinner, and when they sit on the couch. It’s all the same posture! Each one of these positions makes the muscles in the front of the body shorter while increasing the length of the muscles in the back.

Then they head off to the gym and continue to work the front muscles while ignoring the back. Maybe they work the front and back muscles equally at the gym? However, their daily activities are still “front-heavy” and they have to consider that during their workouts. Chances are they should be working out their backs twice as often as their fronts! For some people the ratio might even be 3:1.

The bottom line is going to be the results they are after. If they sit in front of the computer all day, then go to the gym and ride a stationary bike for an hour, they are still hunched over. They have to spend time exercising their back muscles and stretching the muscles in the front of the body.

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Good posture is about balance. Balance from front to back and from side to side. Many people at the gym try to keep things balanced while doing their exercise. They would never work out their right arm and not their left. They do “chest” one day and “back” the other. But how does this work when their daily activities spend so much time ignoring the strengthening of the back? Where does it balance out? It can only balance out if you work the back muscles at a higher frequency than the front.

Work on having good form on the machines you use, and more importantly choose wisely the best activities and exercises to counteract what you do all day. It may not seem like much activity, but it’s enough to affect your posture and make long term changes in your spine and your health. It doesn’t need to be like that!

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Dr. Natalie Cordova is a posture exercise expert, chiropractor, and health educator. More information can be found at her website at  http://www.postureconfidence.com.

My Weight Loss in Pictures (+ Workouts)

Eek! This is the first time I’m putting any weight loss progress photos on display (for everyone to see and comment).

Because I don’t use scales, taking pictures of myself wearing my goal jeans (size 8) has been the most important way to document my progress .

I’ve taken a set of progress pictures two or three weeks apart, starting on March 27.  The latest pair was taken on May 23. The slideshow shows only my first and the most recent pair of pictures.

I actually have more pictures, but I really don’t want the whole world to see me wearing just bra and panties,  from every possible distance and angle. 🙂 (It’s a shame, because it’s  easier to see my progress in those pictures…I’ve followed closely how I my “back rolls” shrink).

[portfolio_slideshow]

Taking progress photos has been an ideal way to track my weight loss. I’m able to see exactly where I’m losing FAT. That’s something scales can’t tell you. If you’re only following numbers on a scale, you lump together everything from gains in muscle mass (good thing), losses of muscle mass (bad thing), temporary bloating, plus fat loss and fat gain.

In my opinion, weighing yourself is not a the best way to track your weight loss progress.

I obviously still have time to go before I’m able close that zipper.  🙂

Week 23 Workouts

On average, I walked 10,040 steps per day. I had one low step day (6,903) I spent sitting in a car.  Otherwise the week was pretty normal for me.

  1. 5 x 40-45 minute walks
  2. 1x 50 minute Nordic walk
  3. 2 x 30-40 minute kettlebell workouts (plus other stuff)

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I’m planning on buying a new online fitness course at the moment. I miss a proper workout planned by a real fitness expert. I also wouldn’t mind gaining more strength and sculpting my body in a more systematic way.

Best Wishes,

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