Bucking the Exercise Barriers!

We all know that creating and sticking to an exercise regimen can be a challenge. I think we have all come up with excuses on days when we don’t feel like putting in the effort. Below are some common excuses and how to overcome them so when it comes to sticking with your plan…there are NO EXCUSES!

  •  “I don’t have time” – squeeze in three 10-minute walks during the day; wake up earlier to make time; park your car farther away from the front door at work; and schedule physical activities on weekends.
  •  “It’s boring” – choose activities you enjoy; vary your fitness routine; invite others to join you; or enroll in a yoga class.
  •  “I look funny exercising” – do activities by yourself at first until you feel more confident; remind yourself about the physical benefits of fitness; and praise yourself when you exercise. The truth is, people in the gym are focusing on themselves and their personal goals, not what you are doing or what you are wearing.
  •  “I’m too tired” – start your day with physical activity; walk during your lunch break; set realistic goals and stick with them; and block off time for fitness, just like you would an important appointment.

Treat you exercise routine as if it were part of your job or other daily routine activity. For instance, you wouldn't skip other daily routines like picking up your kids from school because you don't have time or because you are too tired. Make your routine a priority with NO EXCUSES!

How to Get Your Kids Involved in Being Active

A lot of times when we set out on our own fitness journey, people get left behind.  We concentrate so much on making sure that we are active that we forget that everyone, especially our kids, needs to be active.  About a year into my new fit life it suddenly hit me, my kids need to be active too. As a child I was always in the house reading or watching TV. I was never encouraged to get active. When I think about it, I was never an active adult because I was never an active child. Our children develop habits early, so it is important that getting active at an early age is emphasized.

Coming from someone who has been down that road, kids aren't always ready to “go exercise”. As a parent, it has been my duty to find ways to get my kids active that they will enjoy. Here is my list of fun activities that you can do with your kids to get them moving around and off the couch:

1. Take a walk
2. Go for a hike
3. Go bowling
4. Go on a family bike ride
5. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
6. Go to the pool
7. Go play mini golf
8. Go to an indoor trampoline or bounce house
9. Sign up for a family sports league
10. Play laser tag
11. Do a running plan together such as couch to 5K (my kids loved this)
12. Get a fitness video game
13. Go to the park
14. Do a downtown scavenger hunt, exploring your city
15. Walk to the grocery store
16. Go mall walking
17. Take a family karate class
18. Do a race together (many 5k's have kid fun runs)
19. Go to the zoo
20. Go to an amusement park
21. Go to a rock climbing facility that is kid friendly
22. Require mandatory active commercial breaks where you and your kids do exercises (jumping jacks, jog in place) during a commercial break while enjoying a show together
23. Create a backyard obstacle course for the family
24. Play tag
25. Have a water balloon or snowball fight

While this is just a short list to get you started, I am sure with enough creativity you and your family can come up with many more. The important thing is to get up and get the whole family moving and active. You won't regret it.

How to Hit it Hard With HIIT


When I first started working out I remember spending hour after hour doing cardio. I eventually made it to the point where I could go a whole hour on the elliptical and not even break a sweat. While I was proud of this accomplishment, I got bored and wasn't really seeing the results I wanted to see. I began to research and realized that there are actually methods to doing cardio. Really? That seemed so silly to me. After all 60 minutes of cardio is 60 minutes of cardio, right? WRONG!!! All along I had been doing steady state cardio. From my research and cardio experimentation I realized that I can actually be more efficient with my cardio workouts by implementing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT for short)

So the big question is What is HIIT?

In simple terms it is alternating intervals of high intensity and low intensity in your workout which results in your heart rate going up and then coming back down.

There are a few things that you should remember when planning a HIIT session. You should always include a warm-up session before your workout and a cool down session afterward. When you are planning your intervals where you are alternating between working at your full capacity and giving it all you got (feel like you are dying but can keep going) and working at about half capacity (you are comfortable but still feel like you are working). You should have your high intensity intervals last about twice as long as the lower intensity intervals. For the most part a HIIT session should last no more than 30 minutes.

Here is what a typical HIIT session on the treadmill looks like for me. As a non runner, this workout absolutely exhausts me.

2 minute warm up walking at a comfortable pace

Repeat the following for 7 repetitions

1 minute running at 4.5 mph

2 minutes running at 6 mph

2 minute cool down walking at a comfortable pace

While I will be the first person to admit that HIIT really is a lot more physically demanding than steady state cardio, I personally have found that I can burn as many calories in 25 minutes doing HIIT as I can in 45 minutes doing steady state cardio. As a busy mom of 2, who works a full time job, that alone is a win for me.  

Forget the Resolutions; Here are some goals you can actually stick to

As the new year rolls around the buzz has already started about all of the resolutions that people are going to make.  I can already see the people flocking to the gym to sign up for what is going to be their year. I have been one of these people too. In the past, every year I would set a resolution to lose weight and, guess what, it never happened.  The sad part is, after the month of January, many of these resolutions are long gone and the people seem to lose sight of the result that they are working toward. I attribute this to the fact that many times, people (myself included) set resolutions, that are much too lofty for them to reach in a reasonable period of time. When they do not see immediate results, it becomes really hard for them to continue.  

What most people don't realize (and what I have had to learn) is that in order to turn your life around it is about making small changes over time. I say for this year, we throw out the resolutions, those never work anyways, and set goals for the new year. So this year, for all of those who wish to live a healthier lifestyle, I am proposing the following goals for the new year.  If you follow these it is almost certain that you will end the coming year a healthier person.

1. Eat more real food!! While this may sound silly, since we are all eating real food everyday, real food refers to food that is for the most part unprocessed.  I challenge you to throw out the microwaveable meals and boxed dinners and fill your diet with things such as fruits, vegetables, fresh dairy, and fresh meats.  In the end remember this simple rule: If your food can go bad, it is good for you, if it can't go bad, it's not good for you

2. Drink more water!! This is definitely one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. Many people have a negative misconception about water because they think that drinking too much water will make them hold water weight, when actually it is just the opposite.  When our bodies are not receiving a sufficient amount of water, they start to hold water, to help prevent dehydration.  So keeping your body fully hydrated will let your body get rid of the water that it is holding on to, and also help clean out toxins in the body. 

3. Exercise more!! Many people think that in order to start exercising you have to jump into an elaborate workout regimen.  You just need to come up with a work out schedule that you can and will stick to. For many people, something as simple as adding a walk to their daily routine would do them a world of good.  It is about analyzing your current workouts and thinking about how you can take it to the next level.  For me I am adding an extra HIIT cardio session each week.  For one of my friends, who does not usually work out, she is going to use her new exercise bike as much as she can.  The key is to challenge yourself at what ever level you are currently at.  If you are challenging yourself you WILL see results.  

4. Praise yourself more!! I really think that many people fail to meet their goals because they just give up. I have been there, and been to a point where I feel so negative about my current situation that I just don't see the point in continuing. Now that I have tried to move past that negativity, Each day I try to find something that I can compliment myself on. I don't make this up, each day I am always able to find something about myself that I am really proud of. While this may be hard sometimes, it is about looking past all of the negatives you may feel about yourself and realizing that you do have wonderful attributes.  I promise if you try hard enough, you will find that you actually love many things about yourself

On a final note, as you are setting your goals for the new year, remember that you will not reach your goals over night, you may fall off the horse, but you must be sure to jump right back on. You can meet your goals, you can be successful. So give yourself the chance to do so!!!

Know Your Own Strength and Beauty

Remember when I decided to get into shape and start crossfit? Well it’s been almost two months since my epiphany and let me tell you, crossfit is hard. And exhilarating. And tiring. And exciting. Did I mention hard?

Each time I leave class and am drinking my protein shake, I’m amazed at what my body can do. Last week I flipped a 225 lb. tire multiple times, did dozens and dozens of pull-ups and hundreds of squats (with weights!) and tons of other equally intense exercises. How is this even possible?! It’s crazy to me what our class will do in just an hour! And during each class, I get glimpses of the feats my future self will accomplish and I’m so motivated to push myself.