Success is all around you. Most of us don’t know the journeys our friends and family have been on in the past (either distant or recent), but if you start talking to people, you’ll find a lot of them had to LEARN to be healthy.
For everyone who has met me within the last year or so, it may seem like I’ve always been this into health food and fitness and have always looked like I do, but that’s far from the truth and it is still a battle for me to work on unlearning poor habits I developed when I was a kid and a college student.
Over the weekend I ran into a couple of friends I haven’t seen in a while and both of them are looking fabulous! Their secrets? Actually paying attention to what they are putting in their bodies and getting their butts to the gym and pushing themselves harder every time. Sound simple? It is, but usually easier said than done. In talking to both of my girls (shout out to Olivia and Emily! You ladies look absolutely stunning and happy and healthy!) I heard all about how they have really taken the time to learn about nutrition, about what exercise to be doing, and then figured out how to make it work in their lives.
You cannot lose weight or feel better if you don’t take the time to educate yourself. Knowledge really is power and the more you know about what you’re using to fuel your body with and how best to challenge and shape your body with exercise, the more successful you’ll be. And remember, everyone’s path is different. I try to include insights from my friends and family in my blog because I know that not everything that works for me will work for other people, but I certainly have a biased opinion. So go out and talk to your friends about what they do, what they have learned, and what has helped them to make a change.
If you’re on your healthy living journey now, keep moving forward and learn as much as you can. If you’re not there yet, start asking people about how they got started... for some of us it takes years of “knowing” what we should be doing before something actually motivates us enough to start doing it.
Talk, share, listen, and learn! And then let me know what you’ve learned! Post in the comments below so we can help everyone learn from each other and realize that they are not the only one trying to make a change!
Have you ever lifted weights? Real weights?
I see a lot of girls in the gym picking up the brightly colored 3lb, 4lb, or 5lb weights to do triceps presses, bicep curls, or weights squats with. While any weight is more challenging than doing exercises without the weight, women seem to be constantly underestimating their own strength. Either that, or they have fallen victim to the myth that women who lift weights will become massive and look like men. I promise, the picture is the truth (I lift heavy and I am actually thinner, leaner, and have better curves than ever!).
Ladies, there is no point lifting weights lighter than your purse.
Seriously, if you want to build muscle, tone-up, and help your body to burn more calories while at rest, you need to challenge it. Go ahead, weigh your purse. However much is weighs, that's what you lug around all day and any weighted exercise should use that much or more weight.
I know it can be intimidating. Weight rooms are often packed full of men, some of them grunting and yelling and being generally obnoxious (I promise, no noise is necessary to successfully lift weights and make physical gains). But don't let that stop you. Half of them don't really know what they are doing, and the other half are going to be focused on their workouts and not you. I've had quite a few experiences of guys helping me figure out a new machine I want to try or re-racking weights for me so I don't have to lug 45lb plates off a machine.
Not sure where to start? I have fallen in love with Bodybuilding.com. They have all sorts of (free) workout plans and each one includes not only a schedule of exactly what exercises to do, but descriptions of how to determine the weight you should use and videos of each move to help you learn proper form before you get to the gym. The best rule of thumb... start light to make sure you understand correct form, then bump it up a notch and keep pushing yourself.
I'll post more on weightlifting soon, but for now, just go to the gym and give it a try! There are so many benefits to women: higher metabolism, decreased risk of osteoporosis, lower body fat % (without cutting calories), not to mention the added independence of not needing help lifting heavy boxes or carrying heavy bags. There is no better feeling than finding your grocery bags are suddenly easy to get up the stairs or that hauling your luggage around an airport isn't so painful.
And who knows, you may actually start to ENJOY it!
If you're a woman who lifts, let us all know about your experience in the comments below.
Feet. They carry us everywhere we want to go, they support us and balance us as we push our bodies to new limits, and they have muscles just like the rest of us.
A lot of people neglect their feet as vital to their workout routine, but think about how different working out would be without them. This means they need some serious love, just like the rest of your body.
Ever had the sole of your foot cramp up? It is excruciatingly painful, your toes get stuck curled, and it's difficult to get rid of. When I was running every day, just pointing my toes in bed in the morning could make my feet cramp up. The cause of this pain? Pounding on my feet every day while neglecting to stretch them and wearing too many high heels and sandals.
Heels may make your legs look good, but they are killer on the feet! I'm not saying don't ever wear them, there are too many cute pairs of shoes out there for me to promote a high heel free world. But, use caution and wear them sparingly, especially when putting your feet through new tortures they aren't used to. And if you find yourself wearing heels a lot because of work or a lot of dress up occasions, try inserts or heels with support built in. Also, be cautious of the angle the shoes put your feet at. The more pressure on the ball of your foot, the worse. My favorite type of heel? Ones with hidden platforms in front. They give you height, but reduce the angle of impact.
Don't forget to stretch! I can be terrible at stretching any part of me, but my feet definitely get missed the most. My favorite foot stretch is going into child's pose and putting the balls of my feet into the floor. There are some great tactics involving wine bottles, tennis balls, or lacrosse balls; all of which just require you to roll your foot over them to help rub out any tension (think foam rolling for the soles of your feet).
There are some more great tips about how to take care of your feet and prevent injury from fitsugar.com. This article talks specifically about runner's feet, but if you do any sort of plyometrics or sports where you're moving on your feet a lot, this advice is helpful.
So remember to give your feet some tender loving care today, and every day!
lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and feeling confident.