“Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation.”
― T.F. Hodge
It was pouring rain this morning when I woke up and I didn’t particularly want to get out of bed. I didn’t sleep well and I had a headache that felt similar to a really bad hangover without the fun. I’m sure it was most likely due to the thick pollen all over our deck and front porch. On days like this I try to make a decision to make the best of my day by focusing on the good things in my life. I dig down deep and REACH FOR MY FAVORITE THINGS to help “elevate my situation.”
“Regardless of Sunshine or Rain, Be Thankful for another GREAT day…and treat Life as the ULTIMATE Gift…. Because IT IS :)”
Favorite Way To Start My Morning -COFFEE
I had to teach an early class, so I jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen for coffee. Ahhh coffee makes everything better! I decided to go for “bullet proof coffee” so that hopefully the caffeine would kick in and help me forget about my headache.
I drank a large class of lemon water and by the time I finished the bullet proof coffee, my headache was almost gone.
“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare,City of Ashes
2. One Of My Favorite Workouts
Workouts always make me feel better. I prepared a workout for a small group training class. I decided to start off the workout with a treadmill run and added an incline challenge. The run was a great way to get the endorphins to kick in quickly and helped the class to get pumped for the weight circuit to follow. The circuit was total body compound exercises that was completed three rounds.
3. Put On My favorite shoes (BOOTS) They always put me in a good mood! I love cowboy boots and wear them all year no matter how hot it gets.
“She wore trousers, because skirts were stupid, and boots, ‘cuz stuff needed to be kicked.”
―Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self
4. Love to cook! My Favorite Meal-is almost always- Healthy and Home Cooked!
This was such a delicious and easy meal to make. I placed a couple of organic chicken thighs on a roasting pan and seasoned them with a store-bought Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce and sprinkled the thighs with chili powder. Roasted carrots are a healthy, quick, and easy side that requires very little preparation. I scrubbed the organic carrots and basted them with olive oil.
Roast the chicken and carrots in the oven on 375 for approximately 60 minutes. I paired the baked chicken and roasted carrots with a spinach salad, sliced avocado, and mandarin orange slices.
“Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.”
―Truman Capote, Summer Crossing
Have you thought about the time you put into your workouts each week? Are your exercises efficient, effective, and geared towards your goals? Many people perform the same workouts mindlessly week after week because it’s comfortable and familiar. If you want to stay healthy and strong, you may want to re-evaluate your fitness program.
Do not start your workouts without a goal or workout plan? A fitness plan can ensure that you have a well-rounded program that includes stretching, weight training, and cardiovascular work. If you do random workouts each week, you run the risk of overtraining some body parts and neglecting other areas, putting you at risk for muscle imbalance and injury. Consider creating a fitness plan to help you schedule your workouts, add accountability, and help you incorporate variety into your fitness routine.
Plan your workouts at the beginning of the week and make sure to include cardiovascular work 2-3 times per week, weight training 2-3 times on non-consecutive days, and flexibility training 3-5 times per week.
Are your workouts structured to help you attain your goals or are you blindly going through the motions each week without results?
It’s important to evaluate your current fitness routine and determine if it’s working for you or against you. Crosstraining is vital for health and longevity. Our bodies thrive on new activities that challenge us to change our normal routines. When you constantly perform one activity and neglect other muscle groups, you are setting yourself up for plateaus and overuse injuries. If you’re still doing the same routine you were doing last year, it’s time to tweak your program to include cardio, strength, and flexibility components.
When evaluating and setting up your program, ask yourself these five questions:
1. Does my program include resistance/weight training, cardiovascular work, flexibility, and balance (stabilizer) work?
Many people perform their favorite weight training workouts, go to the same group fitness classes, or do the same elliptical or treadmill routines week after week. Body builders, dancers, yogis, runners, professional athletes, or anyone who performs the same activities each week are more prone to muscle imbalance and overuse injuries.
Consider hiring a personal trainer to design your program if you need professional advice. If you don’t have sufficient knowledge of what exercises to do or an understanding of proper form and technique, your workouts will be ineffective and increase your risk of injury.
A certified fitness trainer can create a well-balanced fitness program by considering your goals, current fitness level, and assessing any areas of weakness. For example, if you are a runner, you may have tight hamstrings and weak quadriceps, which can lead to poor performance and injuries. A trainer can suggest you incorporate other activities, such as yoga and weight training to improve hamstring flexibility and increase strength in the quadriceps.
Therefore, it’s vital to include resistance training, cardiovascular work, and stretching into your current routine. Also, don’t forget to incorporate balance exercises to help strengthen your stabilizer muscles and joints.
Many people, when starting their fitness journey, are drawn to the machines at the gym that are only isolating a single muscle at a time. This is really common and, the truth is, we don’t really know any better. We think we are “supposed to go to the gym” and we see all the machines when we get there – it makes sense, right? Wrong! The truth is, the foundation of your fitness routine should be stability and balance training in order to activate and strengthen the core and the many stabilizing muscles, improve coordination, decrease the risk of injury and work to eliminate overcompensations that probably have developed over time.
2. Do your workouts contain an appropriate warm-up and cool down?
A proper warm-up is essential to help prepare your muscles and joints for a more intense workout. Neglecting the warm-up can lead to a pulled muscle, strain, or other injuries. Your warm-up should include movements you will be doing during your workout. Therefore, begin your warm-up at a slow pace and gradually build up the intensity over a period of 8 to 10 minutes. For example, start with a slow-paced walk, transition to a faster pace walk, and then a jog.
The cooldown and stretch are just as important as the warm-up. A proper cool down allows your heart rate time to return to normal. Stretching will help elongate the muscles, improve flexibility, and help promote better muscle recovery.
Always allow for at least a 20 to 30 second stretch for each muscle group at the end of your workout.
3. Do you evaluate your progress and change your program periodically?
Make sure to monitor the progress of your fitness program. Consider starting a fitness journal to set goals and track your progress. A journal is a great way to monitor improvements such as increased strength from lifting heavier weights, improved endurance when running, or participating in an intense Crossfit workout.
Change your workouts approximately every six weeks to create muscle confusion. If you constantly do the same activity week after week, your body becomes adapted to your routine. You will develop strength that is specific to the exercise you are doing. However, repeated use of these same muscles and joints can lead to overdeveloped muscles in some parts of the body and weak underdeveloped muscles in other areas. Muscle confusion is simply changing your workouts on a consistent basis to prevent plateaus and adaptation.
A good time frame for changing your workout routine is every 4 to 6 weeks. For instance, if your current weight training workout is heavy weights, you could switch to increased reps and lighter weights the following month. If you are a runner, you could do long runs for 4 weeks and then switch to a month of shorter and faster interval runs. This creates muscle confusion and is great for increasing overall fitness and performance.
Being able to visualize your goals and progress on paper is a great motivational tool to help you get progressively stronger and increase your fitness level.
4. Does your weight training program address all the major muscle groups: Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps (all three heads), shoulders ( ex. medial, lateral, and anterior deltoids), quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, core, and lower back (erector spinae). I hear many clients tell me they want a six-pack and they only want to work abdominals or men who only care about a big chest and biceps, but neglect their lower body. However, it’s important to work all major muscle groups to stay strong and injury free. Check out the following link for setting up a well-balanced fitness program:
Unfortunately the current fitness climate is hot for something I call enter-trainment. Much of what we see in the gym is fueled by social media. You only need to look through any fitness feed to see a multitude of handstands, olympic lifts, human flags, couples squatting each other, 1000 rep challenges etc etc.
Better to be safe than sorry and stick with the basics to avoid injury. There are countless safe and effective exercises that will help you reach your goals.
“Every single thing has a balance and the moment we overdo that balance something has to give and we are punished by fate in one way or another”
I first heard about rhabdomyolysis in an article about the dangers of CrossFit workouts. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis— “sometimes called exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis — is one of many types of rhabdomyolysis that can occur, and because of this, the exact prevalence and incidence are unclear.”
The Mayo Clinic reports other types of rhabdomyolysis occur from trauma to the muscles due to automobile accidents, snake bites, drugs, alcohol, and performance-enhancing supplements.
During extreme exercise exertion, a breakdown of muscle can result in the myoglobin(contents of the muscle cells) leaking into the bloodstream; this can lead to kidney failure and possibly death. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis is often associated with dehydration, overheating of the body such as exercising in high temperatures, and heatstroke.
Although rhabdomyolysis is considered a rare occurrence, I’ve known two people who have been hospitalized with it related to their participation in CrossFit workouts. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis can occur with any kind of extreme conditioning program such as CrossFit, boot camp classes, military or football training. Other program examples could include, high reps of one single muscle group in a short period of time AMRAP (as many reps as possible), or high reps that focus on the “eccentric” part of the exercise, and also prolonged exercise without recovery.
“Generally, this syndrome is brought on by the performance of unaccustomed, excessive, repetitive exercises such as push-ups and squat-jumps. Rhabdomyolysis can also occur after strenuous recreational activities such as marathon running, hiking, or performance of excessive strenuous exercise during the first days of a new training program. Mild cases of rhabdomyolysis do not require hospitalization, and individuals recover within one week. However, in certain individuals, rhabdomyolysis can be severe. The combination of heat stress and rhabdomyolysis can produce acute renal failure, which, in rare instances, can result in death. The few individuals who have developed severe rhabdomyolysis generally have never shown any prior symptoms. These individuals may have a latent, sub-clinical muscle disorder that predisposes them to the most negative consequences of rhabdomyolysis. For strenuous exercise in the heat, precautions such as adequate fluid intake and acclimatization are critical. All exercise training programs should start with mild to moderately intense exercise and should progress gradually. These safeguards will not only prevent subsequent muscle pain and optimize performance, but they may also save lives.”
Therefore, remember to exercise caution when participating in advanced training methods. Evaluate the instructor’s qualifications and the appropriateness of the workout for your particular fitness level. Make sure the instructor is certified and understands program design; one that includes the entire body rather than one specific muscle group. Additionally, always make sure to consistently hydrate before, during and after exercise.
And above all- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY; always use common sense when performing intense exercise programs and allow for appropriate recovery.
“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”
I had avocado toast with eggs this evening for dinner and it was delicious. I’m always looking for ways to increase the nutrient value of my food and used mainly organic ingredients. I found a great organic bread with flax seeds for the avocado toast. This was a quick and easy meal that I paired with apple and cucumber salad and organic hash browns. (I used olive oil to pan fry the potatoes instead of butter)
It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I just finished my Interval Barbell class. So nice to be back to my normal routine of teaching after a six-week hiatus. Although it’s nice to take a break to help prevent burnout, I miss the positive energy, the music, and most of all the class members. Here’s today’s class: Warm-up 7 to 10 minutes run
Pushups- 20 Reps/ 3 Sets
Chest Press – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets
Mountain Climbers – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets followed by Plank (One Minute)
Here is my new pizza toast creation. I came up with this yesterday after coming home from the gym.
I was starving and had not eaten lunch. I opened the fridge and scanned the contents and noticed the organic sharp cheddar I had just bought at the grocery store. I was anxious to try it so decided I would make a slice of cheese toast. Although that sounded like a good choice, I thought about how I could increase the nutritional value and make it more filling. Luckily the spinach and cherry tomatoes were right by the cheese in the fridge so that inspired me to try a pizza recipe. The picture below is the toast before they were placed in the oven. This pizza toast turned out so delicious, I’ve already had it three times this week. So here’s my quick, easy, and delicious healthy veggie pizza toast.
Healthy Veggie Pizza Toast
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Organic Fresh spinach
Organic Cherry tomatoes
Organic garlic and oregano seasoning (optional)
Turn oven on broil. Take two slices of bread and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Lightly sprinkle the bread with garlic and oregano. Layer fresh spinach leaves (I removed stems). Add sliced cherry tomatoes and thin slices of organic sharp cheddar. Place in oven and broil until golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Enjoy
BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are three of the nine essential amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine. The essential amino acids can’t be made by the body and therefore must be acquired through the diet. Research studies report that BCAA’s help to promote muscle growth, aids in recovery and reduces muscle soreness.
BCAAs are found in a number of healthy protein-rich foods, including organic grass-fed beef, wild Alaskan salmon, pastured egg yolks, raw grass-fed cheese, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and nuts. One of the best sources, however, is whey protein concentrate, which has one of the highest concentrations of leucine.
The typical requirement for leucine is 1 to 3 grams daily. However, to optimize its anabolic pathway for muscle growth and repair, you need as much as 8 to 16 grams of leucine daily. One 3-ounce serving of whey protein has 8 grams of leucine (compared to just 1.6 grams in salmon or 1.4 grams in egg yolk).
This likely explains why whey protein concentrate has been found to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and has been called the ideal fitness food when consumed just before or after a workout.
Try to get your BCAAs from your daily diet by incorporating salmon, grass-fed cheese, pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs and nuts if possible.
However, consider using a whey protein concentrate if you are short on time or on the go. This can be a convenient way to add BCAAs to shakes, oatmeal, and yogurt for post workout snacks and meals.
Make sure when selecting your whey protein to look for a pure, high, quality product. Many protein powders can contain high levels of lead, arsenic and toxic ingredients. Check the product on the Clean Label Project website: