Feel Better Fit

Feel Better Fit

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Tribute to My mother - Mom always said...

My mother possessed a deep inner grace, beauty and strength. I thank God for mothers everywhere and especially for my own. I miss her dearly and pray that I might inherit her gentle spirit and pass it on to my own children.

At an early age, Mom told me, "God is love." Not only did she speak this, but she lived it daily. She also taught this to 2nd graders in her classes at the church we attended. I loved to join my mom at every church event even into my teen years. I helped her make little surprises for the students every holiday (mom's hands weren't very cooperative due to health problems, but her heart was more than willing). I gladly agreed when mom volunteered me to model in fund raiser fashion shows or attend a crafting bee for the up-coming white elephant bazaar. These are memories I'll always cherish and hold dear to my heart!

Me and Mom, Backstage Fashionshow Fundraiser
& Me with Silvana (just crowned Valentine queen) 25 years later

In the kitchen, mom patiently shared her tricks and favorite recipes. Before I knew it was supposed to be "work", She "let" me fix dinner. By my teen years, I just "wanted to". Thanks Mom, for teaching me the joy of giving! My sisters and I learned to hem garments and sew on buttons. These were difficult tasks for her because of her health issues. When we were young, she would have us thread the needles and watch and learn as she gave us hints. When we were old enough, she just handed us the job to be done!

I doubt my mother knew her words of direction and wisdom would live on long after they were spoken and I wish I could tell her today just how much I still rely on them and how much I love her and miss her.

In my life, first, as as a mother; also in my work life, as a personal trainer, PE teacher and writer my wonderful mother's influence lives on as I speak the works, "My mom always said..."

My mother was a very kind, thoughtful, caring, wise, God fearing woman. She had a massive stroke when I was only 24 years old and was bed-ridden for 16 years, unable to talk or feed herself until she passed away. Only the oldest of my 8 kids remembers Grandma before her stroke. There were many times I longed for my children to know my mother the way I had. Despite her inability to influence her grandchildren first hand, I realize now the tremendous affect she did have on their lives by all of her painstaking efforts in molding mine.

The lessons my mother taught have stayed with me and are the foundation for every success in my life. Her gentle patient leading and guiding followed by her infrequent and thus keenly felt admonitions have created in me a desire to be my best and give my utmost. My mother struggled all her life with health issues that originated at birth. Near the end of her life, my grandmother confided in me her desire for "The good Lord to take her home before her daughter."

Ellen Louise McGarvey was the only child of my grandparents that survived infancy. My grandfather, mom's father, passed away when she was only 20 so as my grandmother explained, "Your mother; she's all I've got left dear but I thank the Good Lord for every day that I have her. You see, she's been on borrowed time all her life. When she was born, they told us she wouldn't live to adulthood, but she did and raised you and your sisters and brother. I call your mother on the phone every day. She can't talk to me but I know she can hear me and that's enough."

Not long after that, My Grandmother passed away and soon after, my mom followed her to rest at last. I felt a keen loss but also a peaceful gratefulness that her many years of bravely accepting sickness and pain had ended. In my mother's and grandmother's words of wisdom and examples of courage, gratefulness and strength, I found guidance and confidence to fight the battles of life and lead my own children. Likewise in my daily walk, I feel my mother's influence directing me in my job as it passes on, influencing my clients and students. Like my mother who frequently said, "My mom always said......" I too refer back to "Mom always said...." and find the truths Mom and Grandma and most likely great grandmas, generations back pass on are ageless, timeless lanterns that lead us through the difficulties, the gray areas, the storms and the even the celebrations.

The last time I received a "Mom said..." is near and dear to my heart. It came through my sister, Lynn. I often go to my big sisters for advice, especially since mom passed away. I had confided to Lynn that I was nervous about a new Fitness Director position I had accepted. She told me that years before, upon opening her own beauty salon, Whispers On Wentworth, she had expressed her fears of this new undertaking to mom whose calm brave advice was, "It's your job, just do it!" Throughout the years, since my sister gave me this last, "Mom told me...." I have returned to that nugget of wisdom time and again during moments of apprehension, when facing new challenges.

My mother knew her job and "just did it" despite her life long health obstacles. Likewise, I aspire to take up whatever challenges life puts in my path bravely, in the confidence I've received through my mother's wisdom and encouragement. Everywhere, the words of mothers resound in hearts exerting an ongoing influence that literally shapes lives, societies and our future world. My mother's words will live on not only in my heart but will encourage, motivate and direct the lives of others as I continue doing my life's work, and referring back to "My mom always said...."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Shoulder Workout At Home

This workout is a superset routine. I wanted to get done quickly and still have maximum results. For this type of training, one area rests, while another works. Then we alternate back and forth. This tends to keep the heart rate up so it's tiring. It works best with light to medium resistance. Otherwise, you'll run out of steam.

Super setting is great for busy lifestyles. It's also frequently utilized by body builders and figure competitors during "shredding" which refers to the time preceding a show when maximum bodyfat reduction with minimal muscle loss is the goal. Competitors may experience a reduction in overall strength during shredding because they are limiting calories. Using high energy, yet lower strength emphasis workout is ideal for their needs.

With a normal healthy diet, this type workout will help you convert (lose fat, while gaining muscle tone) to reach your goals in no time!

Alternating Exercises - 3 sets each. Choose/adapt resistance to complete suggested repetitions in good form.

Dumbbell shoulder press, squat/switch 40 reps

Alternate with:
Suspension squat/straight arm overhead raise 10-15 reps with good form
Clicking on picture below will take you to Kenetic Chain Post. Directions to preform exercise correctly are at bottom of post.

Tubing front raise 20 reps
Alternating with:
Rear dumbbell fly 20 reps each side

Dumbbell shoulder presses 15 reps
Alternate with:
Cobra exercise (hands free)
Face down on mat, contract abs, raise head, arms and feet. Hold 6 seconds. Rest and repeat 3 times

Tubing Lateral Raises
Alternating with:
Ball Exercise Crunches

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vitamin D Are you Getting Enough?

Did you know almost every cell in your body requires Vitamin D to function properly?

Americans tend to fall short of their daily requirements. That's why it is added to our milk. How do you know if you are getting enough? Yes, there is a test doctors can use to check levels, however, nature provided a much better solution.

Take a walk every day!

Our best source of Vitamin D is sunshine. Sun exposure for short periods of time or in mild sun has many health benefits. Sunnier areas of the world have a lower rate of certain cancers because cancer cells have more vitamin D receptors and when the D attaches to them, it kills the cancers.

Are you still inside? Here are a few more great motivators to include a 10-30 minute outdoor stroll, gardening or ballgame in your daily routine.

Vitamin D plays a role in the production of insulin (blood sugar regulating hormone, deficient in diabetics).

Without sufficient Vitamin D, a bone disorder, rickets develops.

Vitamin D helps you maintain healthy bone density.

Sun is the only natural vegetarian source of Vitamin D.

Since the liver stores Vitamin D, summer exposure can supply us all year. Darker skin needs more exposure than lighter skin to create Vitamin D.

Read UK Research

Too much sun is dangerous so don’t “worship” the sun, just enjoy its benefits in small amounts!

So, how much is enough?

Get out of the sun before you see a visible change in your skin color. Some people notice a "hot" "tingling" feeling as a "warning" that they've had enough. To be safe. it is suggested you time your exposure. Choose early morning or late afternoon sun, but still be careful! Depending on your natural pigmentation, somewhere between 10-30 minutes, on one area (face, legs, arms or back) 3 times a week is adequate for most individuals. Since weather can be a deterrent, aim for as many days a week as possible. (Remember, Vitamin D stores in your liver for rainy days. Stash some away!)

Let me reiterate, if you are light skinned, you don't need as much sun exposure to get adequate Vitamin D stores in your body. Lighter skinned individuals should limit unprotected exposure to early morning or late afternoon and then only for 10 minutes or so, daily depending on the intensity of the sun.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Upon request, I'm giving you my first recipe. My goal with this was to surprise Brian with a great meal but NOT have him guilting over the calories.

Marinade 4-5 Large Portabella Mushrooms(1 Package)in:
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup fat free Italian dressing
1/4 cup Portuguese Pepper (or add your own zesty red pepper to taste)

I marinaded mine in a locked container, in cooler, while driving to Maryland. They were probably in marinade at least 2 1/2 hours.

Pre-heat oven - 350.

Crumble and mix together:
2 medium packages of fake crab (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain, unseasoned)
1 tsp Cajun season
2/3 cup egg whites

Move Mushrooms from marinade to baking dish (set aside marinade)

Stuff Mushrooms with mounds of fake crab mixture

Sprinkle tops of mounds with breadcrumbs, then sprinkle each with Cajun seasoning

Pour marinade around mushrooms in baking dish

Important! - Every 15 minutes, open oven and use a spoon to drizzle marinade from bottom of pan over each mushroom.

Bake 45 minutes (or until mushrooms are soft)

I served this with:

Spinach Salad garnished with tomato and Mandarin oranges; topped with fat free Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

Seasoned Wild Rice (no butter added)

Fresh Steamed Asparagus (tied and steamed, standing; served in center of plate of rice)

Strawberries and Cantaloupe layered with Lite Whipped Topping

I prepared the rest of the meal while the entree was baking. That kept me near the oven for basting. Everything was delicious and since it was just the two of us, we had lots of leftovers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Home Workout - Chest Strength/Muscle Growth
Superset 2 exercises - 3 sets each
Dumbbell chest press on exercise ball - 15 reps
Alternate with:
Exercise ball crunches using tubing for extra resistance - 20 reps
Tubing fly - single arm - 12 reps, each side
Alternate with:
Tubing external rotation for rotator cuff strength - 15 reps each side
Suspension pushups (or regular) - to failure
Alternate with:
Kneeling opposite arm/leg raise - 20 reps
This workout focuses on strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth). The suspension push up recruits stabilizers. The arm/leg raises develop balance and core strength. The rotator cuff muscles are unseen, yet integral shoulder stabilizers that affect chest, back and shoulder movement.
Training Tip:
Warm up with a light weight dumbbell chest press. Choose a weight that you can preform 25-30 reps of. 2 sets - rest between.
Diet Tip:
Beans and peas - incorporate in after workout meals. They are typically 1/2 carb and 1/2 protein. Season with interesting herbs, etc (garlic, onion, parsley, basil, cilantro).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Back Strength Workout

Gym Workout - Back Strength/Muscle Growth
3 sets each, rest between sets
D-handle bar lat pull down - 15 reps (adjust resistance accordingly)
Low rows -15 reps
Smith machine pull-up to failure: kneel on floor head BELOW bar n use to of feet to give slight assistance. To set up, stand by machine and set bar to chin height approximately. *Make sure your knees are in front of bar (when kneeling), head below it and suck your belly in to protect and strengthen abdominal muscles.
Alternate these 2 exercises without rests between sets:
6 second static crunches - 6 times
Light weight dumbbell rows - 25 reps each arm standing on opposite leg (beginners keep other hand lightly touching wall or exercise ball till better balance is achieved)
This workout focuses on strength and hypertrophy(growth). The last two exercises are added to develop balance, recruit stabilizers and focus on neuromuscular development in the core. They may get the heart pumping a little too, if done quickly!
Weight Loss Tip:
Follow workout immediately with 20+ minutes of cardio.
Diet Tip:
Eat within 1 hour a meal containing-
Complex carb

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Setting A Goal

I desire change and change usually follows a set of steps that typically go something like this:

1. A desire to achieve something
I desire to improve my current fitness level.

2. A realization that it can be achieved is arrived at, accompanied by thoughtful questioning of "how to" complete the task.
I am always more committed to a task if I can see some greater good to others so I will record my experience. The feeling of being productive combined with the accountability factor will increase my motivation to be consistent.

3. A commitment to move forward takes place and is possibly confirmed by some outward action.
I posted an entry to mark the beginning of my commitment.

4. The goal to be achieved is more distinctly defined.
I have reflected on my goals for several days. I tend to be over-zealous when training so it is important that I set my "bar" of achievement realistically. Since my goal is two-fold in nature (training and writing) I have to intertwine the goals realistically. Here goes:

Training - Increase Muscle and reduce bodyfat primarily by conversion (not weight loss) Final bodyfat goal - 16-17%. Current bodyfat is 21% (I may lose a few pounds but the primary goal would be to increase lean mass; ie: muscle) I expect to allow approximately 6 months to reach my goal. Although I could lose the bodyfat in much less time through more extreme dieting and cardio workouts, and then try to gain the muscle mass afterward, I know that a woman my age cannot gain muscle as quickly as others and the higher bodyfat will actually make gaining muscle and maintaining strength easier. There is also a greater risk of losing muscle if I drop bodyfat too quickly and I LOVE MUSCLE! I'll explain why later. It deserves its own entry!

Writing - Motivate others by making frequent entries that cover many aspects of training.

5. A plan conducive to completion is created.
Take my bodyfat and weight and create a goal (see number 4 above)
Begin daily training and eating optimal diet.
Set ideal times for training and writing to avoid having either goal "slip through the cracks".
Start recording my workout and diet to post.
Actively publish my blog to others in diverse ways.
At least once a week, delve deeper into some aspect of training.
Make monthly assessments of weight and bodyfat and explain their relevance.
Make weekly adjustments to my plan as needed.

6. Possible obstacles are identified and premeditated so that they may be more easily overcome.
I know my schedule changes frequently and that my workouts and writing times will have to be adjusted, rather than skipped altogether.

The first step in my training, defining a realistic developmental goal, has been accomplished. I took a caliper bodyfat test today and did the math to decide what my goal is. I'll start my workout regimine tomorrow. Eating appropriately for my goal is second nature for me but I will spend time in future blogs outlining it for others. My actual training plan is to devote a portion of time daily to resistance training of at least one bodypart (5 days a week). I'll detail my plan in future entries.

Cardio will probably only be 2-3 times weekly because I don't have any real weight loss goal. My purpose in cardio is to develop/maintain cardio-respiratory fitness. I have asthma which has a less negative effect on my quality of life as long as I keep up my cardio. To achieve this, I'll utilize a combination of jogging and practicing new choreographs for Zumba. I am planning to run a 5K in a few weeks so jogging should be at the forefront presently.

Worthwhile pursuits are much easier with a plan. I have a base structure in place. I still need to lock down best time of the day to train and write. I'm leaning toward morning for both because mornings have the least conflict for me currently but as a trainer, my schedule is constantly rewriting itself. Trainers train at the times that work for clients. This requires flexibility. Like most people, I find it much easier to stay on track if I have a specific time of day devoted to developing my fitness goals. The constantly changing schedules I keep are probably my biggest obstacle to success at consistent training. The plan will have to be reevaluated and adjusted depending on how it works in practical application as these changes in my circumstances occur. Some expected changes are:

Presidential Fitness testing time requires extra work
Two new training groups probably starting in the next few weeks
School lets out soon (additional kid duties)
Teenager has to dropped off and picked up from driver's ed class
Online training should be up and running within the next month
New Zumba classes will probably be starting

Now that I have defined a realistic goal, created a workable plan and have determined possible obstacles, I'm ready to begin. I'm eargerly anticipating having alot of fun and a great outcome!