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Category Archives: exercise

Your Handiest Helpers

Hand weights! What’s not to love: they are cheap, easy to transport and versatile. They can be used to tone your arms, upper back, abs, thighs, butt – you name it. I love to use them on my arms while I’m watching TV or reading a book, because it’s a sneaky way of toning up without feeling like you’re doing a hardcore workout. Keep them close to you at all times, and you’ll find that you’re burning a lot more calories every day. And watch that flab go away!

Where I got mine from: Walmart for $5 each. They had a bunch of colors and I decided to be girly and choose purple. You can also buy hand weights from a variety of sporting stores; they’re very popular!

What weight I use: I use 5 pounders, so when I use both together it’s an easy 10 pounds.

Here are some exercise you can do with your hand weights at home: 

SHOULDERS 

 





 

BICEPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRICEPS 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIGHS 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it, a bunch of little helpful animated men. Here are some useful tips to remember: 

*You don’t need to have a bench at home, simply use the side of your bed or a chair, or lay on the ground.

*Always use resistance when using weights – do not simply swing your body part with the weight, because this will not have much effect. Tense and do the rep.

*Start out light and work your way up to heavier weights.

Happy lifting!

Planet Fitness: Many Mixed Messages

I am a gym addict, and I currently have a membership at Planet Fitness. It’s a 5 minute walk from my house, it has an upbeat and clean environment, and it’s only $10 a month (it’s most attractive feature, of course). But while it may have it’s benefits, Planet Fitness has quite a few discrepancies in its policies and attitudes.

I dislike lunks, but a gym doesn't have the right to discriminate!

My first issue is the whole ‘Judgement Free Zone’ concept. They say that there are no ‘lunks’ allowed (lunk: noun, anyone who grunts, drops weights or judges). But isn’t that in itself judging? Planet Fitness may be a gym for those who aren’t hardcore athletes, but they are also blatantly discriminating against those who are legitimately fit. Believe me, I am NO fan of the meatbag men who wear shirts smaller than the ones I own and stand around for 90% of their workout flexing their muscles in front of the mirror, but I don’t think it’s fair that Planet Fitness, a so-called judgement free zone, judge them either.

My second issue, and probably the one I am most passionate about, is the fact that they serve extremely unhealthy food. Pizza Monday (the first Mon. of every month) and Bagel Tuesday (the second Tues. of every month) offer free food to gym members. This is a nice gesture … but pizza and bagels?! I thought this was supposed to be a place of fitness and healthy living, and I’m pretty sure that these two foods, offered in unlimited quantities, are not the best options. Why not fruit kabobs or sugar free cupcakes, celery sticks with peanut butter or granola bars? And let’s not forget the bowl of Tootsie Rolls on every Planet Fitness front desk – once again, not the smartest option for a gym.

I like my gym and it’s where I spend a good amount of my time. But I think Planet Fitness really needs to get its act together.

Is this really ‘no judgement’?

Check out what others have to say via the comments on GoHardFitness.com‘s take.

Twist Your Trunk!

I recently came across a post about Lady Gaga’s Workout and Diet on FitnessMagazine.com, and the slide that really caught my eye was the Trunk Twist. Since bikini season is looming close, I thought I’d share it with all of you. Just spreadin’ the tummy love!

p.s. I trust this move if Gaga does it, because have you SEEN her body recently?!

  • Sit on the floor with legs extended in front of you, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold a dumbbell with both hands and arms extended.
  • Lean back slightly and twist torso to the left, bringing dumbbell toward the floor near your hip on the left. Immediately twist to the right, keeping spine neutral and abs tight.
  • Continue, alternating 10 times per side.
Photo and steps courtesy of FitnessMagazine.com

Surviving Theme Park Temptations

Anyone who has been to a theme park will know that it is one of the hardest experience in the life of living healthy. I went to Six Flags Great Adventure yesterday, and let me tell you: scarier than the rides and roller coasters were the smells that were EVERYWHERE. Each corner you turn gives you the scent of something new, be it pizza, burgers, fried goods or funnel cakes. And don’t forget about the little stalls and vending machines. Even in the areas where you wait in line for the coasters, there are machines chock full of M&Ms, sodas and other snacks. And when your wait can be up to 90 minutes … these little troves of sugar can become pretty irresistible.

Sadly to say, Americans have given in to these theme park temptations. I saw 4 times when an obese person had to be asked to get off the ride because the employees could not lock the harness. And there are many people who let their kids roam around while they sit in place and eat plates of fried potato chips – what has the world come to? 😦

So here are some tips to help you out:

Celery w/ peanut butter and pretzels can go a long way!

Theme Park Tip #1: PACK YOUR OWN FOOD. This is the most important tip of all. Having a lunchbox full of healthy munchies is the trick to resisting temptation. Most of the time, you are not actually hungry and just want to eat because you are tempted by the sights and smells: having your own nuts, veggies or fruits can stave the craving. Pack sandwiches so you don’t have to buy a high calorie lunch.

Theme Park Tip #2: STAY HYDRATED. Carry a water bottle and take a few sips every 15 minutes. When you’re dehydrated you often mistake it for hunger, causing you to mindlessly munch on things that will derail your diet. Stay fueled on water and you might even feel too full even nibble on the things you brought yourself – it’s amazing what a little H2O can do. And since you are in the sun for long periods of time, drinking lots of water is essential.

Theme Park Tip #3: POSITIVE THOUGHTS. A lot of the time, my own silly nut bars

My new boyfriend Flash!

were not enough to keep me from wanting a huge plate of churros with chocolate sauce. But then I looked at the people eating them, and thought twice. I thought of the obesity in America that was fueled by places just like this. I kept thinking “You are stronger than a plate of junk, you have come this far and you’re having fun anyway, so why waste all that for a few minutes of indulgence?” Keep your eye on the prize!

Theme Park Tip #4: DON’T CARRY MONEY. Just bring enough with you to buy your entrance ticket and maybe play a few games. If you have lots of extra cash on hand, you’ll be far more likely to splurge on the goodies in sight. If you have no money, you can’t afford them anyway!

My brother & I on the carousel. I chose to ride the awesome chicken!

Theme Park Tip #5: STAY ACTIVE. This is a given when you’re in a theme park, but there are lots of little ways you can burn more calories. Walk across the park instead of taking the cable car and move your legs while you’re waiting in line. Try to avoid sitting around as much as possible, and you’ll realize that you had a healthy day full of exercise.

Staying away from theme park food will make you feel proud of yourself, and will actually keep you up and running longer – a big serving of saturated fats will leave you bloated and lazy. Walking around for hours and enjoying the rides is a lot more exciting anyway. Have a fun time!

Running on those Rainy Days

We all know how it is: you get up in the morning and say “I will workout today,” and then take a look out the window. It’s cloudy, gray, possibly cold and most likely miserable. What a great excuse for you to stay in bed and cuddle up with your comforter/ significant other/ cat, munching on feel-good treats and watching TV.

STOP. Thinking this way is going to get you nowhere. You have two choices: make EXCUSES or make PROGRESS. And instead of spending an hour watching an episode of your favorite show (which goes by quickly, right?) you can be on a treadmill. The thought of getting out of the house may seem daunting, but once you are at the gym or outside in your exercise gear, you will feel much better. And by the time you’re done with your workout, you’ll be thanking yourself! I often tell myself “I wish I could extract the after-workout feeling and inject it when I’m feeling lazy to remember how it feels” – I’m kind of weird, but it’s the thought that counts!

This short motivational rant was inspired by Runstreet’s Getting out the Door to Run  and the horrible weather outside my window right now 😦