What You Focus On Will Flourish

We all have goals in our lives. Some people write them down with details on how to achieve them, while others keep them stored away in the back of their mind on a mental “wish list.”  However, what if I told you the answer to achieving anything you want is in the title of this blog. Perhaps you want to change careers, go for your dream promotion, run a marathon, or simply improve a relationship with a loved one; the key is applying focus to the situation.

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Do you feel like you deserve a promotion, or does a new career path seem out of reach? What will it take to get you closer to that goal? It may be as easy as signing up for continuing education to help you advance in your current position or, enrolling in courses that relate to your career of interest. When I was in my twenties, I wanted to go into nursing but felt overwhelmed at starting back to school with two young children. I decided to enroll in a chemistry course at my local college and that gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I went on to graduate with a BSN in nursing, became a certified personal trainer, and acquired fitness certifications to teach yoga, and group fitness. You may be surprised how quickly new opportunities arise once you prioritize the steps to help you reach your goals. The key is applying concentration, drive, and consistency. You have the choice to stay where you are and hope things magically fall into place, or go after your dreams with focus and a plan.

Maybe, you’ve dreamed of participating in a fitness competition, hiking the Appalachian trail, or running a marathon. Goals such as these may seem out of reach, but it simply requires focus, consistency, and a well thought out plan. In the past, one of the top items on my bucket list was to run a marathon. However, I was not a runner and I felt like a marathon was out of the question. I decided to research training programs and discovered all my preconceived ideas were nonsense. I didn’t have to be a runner, a certain age, or have an athletic lean body to run a marathon. All I needed was a beginner training plan and the drive and consistency to follow through. Once I signed up for the marathon, I focused on proper nutrition and consistently began to build endurance and mileage each week. I successfully completed my first marathon in 2012; It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I remember starting the race Running For The Bay, St. George Island at the break of dawn, seeing the amazing sunrise as I ran over the bridge in St. George Island- Apalachicola, FL. I knew this would forever be a high point in my life; the feeling was priceless!

All you need is the proper mindset, motivation, and consistency to make your dreams come true. I entered my first figure show at the age of 53. I never dreamed I could transform my body, build muscle, and reduce my body fat enough to consider entering a competition. I was slightly overweight in my teens and put on additional weight in my thirties after having children. However, once I became interested in a career in fitness, the goal of entering a figure competition didn’t seem so far fetched, even at the age of 53. My first marathon gave me the confidence to set new goals in life. As I became stronger and improved my fitness level, I began to dismiss age or body type as a barrier to my goals. I realized you can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you believe it, and put the work in to achieve it.

Here I am below at age 53 and I placed 3rd in my age group. I’ll admit, I could have done better, and I didn’t put enough work into posing and nutrition. But this still took hard work, and I was happy with my results. Proof that what you focus on will flourish.

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This concept also works with relationships. We all thrive on connections with family and friends. However, with our busy lives, it can be difficult to put the time and effort into building and nurturing relationships with loved ones. Perhaps you feel guilty about not connecting or spending enough time with your children, parents, siblings, or friends. All it takes is a little thought and focus on ways to increase communication. Consider weekly calls, planning weekend get-togethers, or reading nightly bedtime stories to your children.

Think about an area in your life that you want to improve and simply take the first step. Consider your health, career, and your relationships and start with a plan. Be consistent, focus on the work, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

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Basic Strength Training Workout

 

 

 

This is a well-balanced basic strength routine. Begin with light dumbbells and transition to heavier weights when the exercise is no longer challenging. Consider using heavier weights for larger muscle groups such as back, chest quads, and glutes.

Perform this workout 2x a week on non-consecutive days so that your muscles can recover and rebuild.

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW EXERCISE PROGRAM.

Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after the workout.

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Functional Warm up 7-10 minutes-

 

 

 

CIRCUIT ONE:

  1. DB Chest Press – 10-12 Reps

2. Glute Bridge (10-12 Reps)

 

3. Abdominal Cross hand Crunch (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT ONE 2-3 X

CIRCUIT TWO:

  1. DB Row (10-12 Reps)

 

 

2. DB Bicep Curl (10-12 Reps)

3. DB Deadlift (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT TWO 2-3 X

CIRCUIT THREE:

  1. Squat Bodyweight (10-12 Reps)

2. Tricep Pushups on Knees (10-12 Reps)

3. Elbow Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

REPEAT CIRCUIT Three 2-3 X

Post Workout Stretch

Weekend Six Pack Ab Challenge

It’s important to fuel your body if you want to get the most from your workouts. This morning, I started with a glass of lemon water, grapefruit, and a protein smoothie. This provides me with the proper nutrients for instructing a calorie torching circuit workout. I plan to finish my class with my weekend ab challenge – the 300. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Smoothie: 8 Oz of organic almond milk, a handful of organic spinach, 1/2 of organic banana, 1 tbsp of organic flaxseed oil, 1/2 cup of organic raspberries and blueberries, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt

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If You Know How To Be Satisfied You Are Rich

“If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Killer TRX Cardio Core Workout

I’ve been teaching a TRX six-week challenge class the past six weeks and incorporated a focus on mindful eating, food choices, and a change of routine. I love TRX, AKA suspension training. TRX is a great way to build core strength, burn fat, and increase strength and mobility.

Suspension training can be done with a convenient strap system that’s inexpensive and easy to transport to any workout space.

TRX was developed by a Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick to train during deployment. It is a portable workout system that combines your bodyweight with gravity. The intensity of all exercises can be made more difficult by adjusting the angle of the body.

This six-week challenge has really helped me to break through a plateau and increase lean muscle. Additionally, my challenge group has managed to successfully improve their nutrition, lose inches, and reduce body fat. This is one of the best workouts for the core and to help define the abs.

Try my killer TRX workout below for some of my favorite suspension training exercises incorporated into a circuit (repeat 3x) Let me know how you like! Don’t forget to add a warm-up and cool down.

  1. TRX Squat With High Row (10 Reps)

2. Jump back Push Ups (10 Reps)

3. Trx Pike Crunch (10 Reps)

4. Burpee Mountain Climber (10 Reps)

5. TRX Hamstring Runner (10 Reps)

6. Up-Down Plank (10 Reps)

No- It’s Not Too Expensive To Eat Organic

“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
― Maria Rodale

Although organic fruits and vegetables are typically pricey, I’ve discovered good produce options to buy each week that are very affordable. Here is a list of budget-friendly items I purchased at the grocery store this week: Organic Carrots ($1.99), Organic Celery ($2.69), Organic potatoes ($2.99), Organic Gala Apples ($3.99), Organic Cucumber ( 99 cents), Container of Organic Spinach ($2.99), Organic Cherry Tomatoes ($2.99), Organic Bananas (79 cents/lb)

 

The quality of the food we eat is vital to our health. Why are food items that contain no salt, less sugar, and fewer ingredients more expensive? It’s frustrating that the food items promoted on television and in our grocery stores are loaded with harmful toxins and chemicals. However, the answer is educating yourself and making smarter food choices. If you are unable to afford organic prices, avoid items on the “dirty dozen” list and consider shopping for more affordable organic items like those I purchased above

Here’s the full list of EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) “Dirty Dozen” for 2019: This is a list of fruits and vegetables that have a substantial amount of pesticides and should be avoided unless you purchase organic varieties.

StrawberriesSpinachKalenectarinesApplesGrapesPeachesCherriesPearsTomatoesCelerypotaotes

 

The “Clean 15” are fruits and vegetables that contain fewer pesticides and can be purchased non-organic if desired.

lean Fifteen™
EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

1. Avocados

2. Sweet Corn*

3. Pineapples

4. Sweet Peas Frozen

5. Onions

6. Papayas*

7. Eggplants

8. Asparagus

9. Kiwis

10. Cabbages

11. Cauliflower

12. Cantaloupes

13. Broccoli

14. Mushrooms

15. Honeydew Melons

Hiking, Trail Running, & Ticks

Spring is here and many of us go outdoors for our workouts. Most of us would prefer to find activities outside where we can enjoy the beautiful flowers, trees, and sunshine.

However, those that flock to wooded areas to run trails or hike are at increased risk for tick bites. Ticks can be difficult to see (with many being the size of a pinhead) and often people are unaware they have one attached or have been bitten.

According to WebMD Health News, the CDC will begin tracking the nation’s tick population and tick-borne illnesses. Over the last few decades tick, flea, and mosquito diseases have more than doubled with ticks being the most prevalent causative factor of the increase.

Richard S. Ostfeld, PhD, a disease ecologist with the Millbrook, NY-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies reports:

In 2017, the number of tick-borne disease cases reported to the CDC rose 22%, to 59,349. But the number of Americans with tick-related diseases was likely much higher — closer to 300,000 to 400,000 — because not all Lyme disease cases are reported to the CDC, says John Aucott, MD, chairman of a national tick-borne disease working group, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lyme disease is caused by a blacklegged tick  or (deer tick)  bite. Symptoms can include rash, fever, and headaches. Therefore, get tested if you develop these symptoms after being outside in tall grass or a wooded area.  Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose; it’s important to get treated with antibiotics early to avoid progression of the disease. Check out these important facts:

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Protect yourself from ticks:

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  •  Wear protective clothing. Even though the temperature is rising, it’s best to wear leggings or pants and wear knee socks over them. Also, wear a lightweight shirt with long sleeves and a hat.

 

  •  Stay away from tall grass and stay in the center of trails.
  • Check yourself for ticks before you go home: Check scalp, ears (inside and out), arms, stomach and inside navel, back of knees, and ankles.

If you find a tick on you:

 

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Clean Eating, Red Wine, & Chocolate

“There are those people who can eat one piece of chocolate, one piece of cake, drink one glass of wine. There are even people who smoke one or two cigarettes a week. And then there are people for whom one of anything is not even an option.”
― Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir

Here is a sample of my meals during the week. I try to eat clean most of the time but splurge occasionally on a glass of wine and dark chocolate.  Take advantage of your cheat meals, but remember it’s all about balance and moderation.

 

Breakfast: Pick One

  1. Avocado toast- smash 1 tbsp of avocado, add egg, 1 tsp of shredded mozzarella plus  a small organic apple
  2. Package of organic oats (make sure you check sugar grams on nutritional level (opt for less than 15) topped with 1/2 cup of organic blueberries and 1 tsp of walnuts
  3. Lara bar or Quest Bar and 10 raw almonds

Lunch: Pick One

  1. Two cups of organic spinach- one small grilled chicken breast (sliced) – top with 1/2 sliced avocado and 1 cup of fresh strawberries or mandarin orange slices. (Dressing – 1 tbsp of greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 tsp of avocado oil).
  2. One can of tuna- mixed with 1/3 sliced avocado (smashed) and 1 tbsp of greek yogurt. Add sliced boiled egg, sliced cucumbers, celery, and tomato. Side of organic apple slices topped with 1 tbsp of nut butter.
  3.  Veggie burger (Beyond Burger, Quorn, Etc) Cook according to directions: Make an open face burger using one slice of organic bread/ or (Ezekiel) add veggies, sliced avocado, onions, tomato, fresh spinach and a thin slice of real cheese. Side of baked sweet potato, and spinach salad.

Snacks: Pick Two

  1. Serving of Greek yogurt- top with berries (optional add-ins – one scoop of protein powder, top with nuts
  2.  Boiled eggs, 10 raw almonds
  3. Organic Baby Carrots and hummus
  4. Apple slices and nut butter
  5. Plain rice cake with sliced turkey or chicken plus a serving of grapes
  6. Rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana

Dinner: Select one serving of meat (palm of the hand), One complex carb, Two Green Veggies

Pick one: One serving of grilled chicken breast, grass-fed burger, or salmon

Pick one Complex Carb: One serving of rice, sweet potato, 1/2 baked potato, or side of pasta

Pick two: Asparagus, fresh spinach, broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, green beans, kale

Definition Of A Mother

 

We all have different relationships, memories, and feelings associated with our mothers. This is a wonderful definition of my mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

“When God Created Mothers”

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

Can it think?”

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

What’s it for?”

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

You are a genius, ” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
― Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers

The Importance Of Fueling Before And After Workout

Our bodies need to be properly hydrated and nourished to function at optimal levels.  Proper nutrition is vital to feed our cells, boost metabolism, and provide fuel for an active lifestyle. If you want to maximize your workout results, make sure to follow these tips:

Pre-Workout Fuel:

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Water– You should drink water before, during and after your workout. WWW.WebMD.Com reports:  Drink fluids throughout the day before you exercise. Then follow this formula :

  • One to two hours before your workout, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water
  • 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 8 and 10 ounces of water
  • During your workout, drink another 8 ounces every 15 minutes.

Complex Carbohydrates/Protein: Medical News Today reports:

Ideally, a person should eat a meal rich in complex carbohydrates and protein around 2–3 hours before exercising.

Avocado and eggs, on organic whole wheat toast

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Organic oats with berries, greek yogurt, and walnuts

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Post-Workout Fuel:  Fuel your body with a good source of protein, carbohydrates,  healthy fats and water to help muscle growth and repair. It’s ideal to get a snack or a light meal within 20 to 30 minutes after your workout.

Protein Smoothie –   Almond milk, scoop of whey protein, blueberries, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt, tbsp organic coconut oil, tbsp flax seed

 

Additional post workout fuel ideas via Very Well FIt:

  • Brown rice and boneless skinless chicken breast – Prepare with your favorite low-sodium spices or salsa for a nutritious recovery meal. This can be done in the crockpot, stovetop, or oven. Some athletes prefer white rice over brown to reduce possible stomach upset. 
  • Power smoothie – Blend your favorite fruit with plain yogurt, almond milk, soy or favorite tolerated dairy, some water, and ice. A great boost of healthy fats can be added with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter. 
  • Egg scramble – Easy one-skillet meals where one whole egg, egg whites, vegetables, and sweet potatoes can be tossed with favorite spices and sprinkled with fresh black pepper. 
  • Pass the peanut butter – The all-American favorite sandwich on whole-grain sprouted toast is a post-workout pleaser. Leave off the sugared jam and enjoy with a drizzle of local honey. This nutrient-dense meal contains quality plant protein, healthy fat, and high fiber. 
  • Check the leftovers – What you cooked the night before is calling your name and ready to refuel that body. Do you have cooked quinoa ready to go? Toss on salad greens and sprinkle with balsamic for a well-balanced meal.
  • Wrap it up – Whole grain high fiber wraps are a great start to a wonderful recovery meal. Add some fresh avocado, lean meat of your choice, greens, beans or whatever suits the theme of the wrap, roll up and enjoy.

Additional snacks to enjoy recommended by the American Council on Exercise:

  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit or banana. 
  • Banana with 1 tablespoon almond or nut butter.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • 4 ounces of albacore tuna on 1 slice whole grain toast.
  • Whole wheat English muffin or whole wheat pita topped with a slice of low sodium turkey meat and hummus.
  • Protein shake with 2 scoops whey protein and 1/2 banana blended with water.