Monday, February 28, 2011

Funny Craigslist Postings

As some of you know, my precious kitty Jack has gone missing since last Monday. Since then I've been searching Craigslist and Shelters in the areas to see if anyone has found him (to no avail). These are some funny things on craigslist that I've come across while looking for my cat:

I Found A Joint
I was doing my round at work this morning and found this joint, it seems like its rolled very well and the weed smells really good.
If its yours and noticed you lost a joint, reply to this email and I will return it.
for now it will just sit on my counter...

Did someone neuter my cat?
My cat disappeared for a day and a half. When she came back she had the underside of her back end shaved. We think someone took her to get spayed but then found the scar from her actual spaying and let her go. We do have some batty people next door that think we're irresponsible for having 4 cats, they may have decided we were that irresponsible? Who knows, but I have heard from other people as well that this happens. Bunch of Batty Nutter Animal people out there!

Found a Shoe
Found a little kids shoe in the parking lot of Taco Bell today while having a late lunch. Its a carters brand brown and tan sandal type shoe. size 6! did ur kid lose a shoe? if so write me back and I will meet u somewhere. bring the mate and its urs lol

Cat Stolen By Ugly Neighbor
Snowshoe-pattern Siamese trapped on Erinbrook Way in Glenbrook on July 31, 2009 by someone named Mary Asbury. Mary is described as a tallish, older woman, kind of ugly and sort of stupid-looking. She works as a data input person and has an interest in singing doo-wop music. She may have given it to someone in her A.A. group or to someone at her church. If you know where this cat is, please call Alan at (916) 383-5341

Lost Daddies Girl
She ran off around 6-15 at night with my male. They are both boxers, we found him in jail. She is about 2 1/2 3 years old. She looks like a gremlin a little. She walks with her butt towards you. We need her back. 530-344-3478 she is black and white the pic is a little over a year old she is a little heavier and we dont spoil her. She sleeps with her dad. Well she is mostly boxer.

Might have flagged you!
thank you for your posting. It was helpful.
Bless you for taking the time to care.
I tried to reply to your posting...I might have accidently flagged it. Sorry if that's the case.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walking the Weight Away

I have to admit I've been skipping my P90X workouts the past couple of days. Instead I've been walking around the neighborhood. Why am I walking you might ask? Well, one of my cats Jack didn't come home on Monday night and I've been looking for him ever since. After the first day of me walking, my legs were a little bit sore and I thought, that's weird, because I've been doing the P90X workouts for several weeks now, walking should be no problem! That got me to thinking, why is walking such a good workout if I don't sweat and don't feel winded when I'm finished? Here are some reasons that everyone should get to walking:

Good for your heart
If you walk for 30 minutes at least 3 times per week, your blood pressure will be lower and it can be just as effective as intense cardio workouts that are done twice a week. Walking also reduces the risk of dying from heart disease. Walking can also lower your bad cholesterol while raising the amount of good cholesterol.

Good for your mind
Walking releases endorphins which are the happy chemicals in our brains. If you are feeling down and out, take a walk and you will start feeling happier. Getting the endorphins flowing will always help you feel less tired, less tense, less angry and less confused.

Good for your skin
Since you are increasing your blood flow by walking you are improving the circulation through your body which gets more blood flowing to your skin. Getting more blood to your skin brings more nutrients that your skin needs to stay healthy and clear.

Good for your immunity
By walking 45 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week, your chances of catching a cold are cut in half. This all goes back to the increased circulation. The improved circulation brings your immune cells quicker to the viruses and bacteria cells that are trying to get you sick. Walking can also reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, walking regularly can help keep it manageable.

Good for your bones and joints
Walking is considered a weight-bearing exercise. These exercises increase bone mass but unlike other high impact workouts, your joints don't take a beating.

Like every workout, a proper warmup and cooldown should be done. Get a heart rate monitor to make sure you are staying in a healthy zone. There are apps you can get for your cell phone to track how far you have walked as well.

The good thing about walking is that it is just as beneficial as doing a higher intensity workout but it comes with a lot less risk for injury. Start at a pace that you are most comfortable with and gradually increase how quickly you walk.

I'm off to go walk around the neighborhood looking for my lost kitty!

Tip of the Day - Don't let your cats outside :(

Monday, February 21, 2011

Obesity in America

6 months ago if you had looked in my freezer and refrigerator you would have seen tv dinners, leftover pizza, and take out boxes galore. If you had taken a peek into my roommates rooms, and my room, you would have seen fast food bags and cups strewn around the room and filling the garbage can. If you asked us how we all felt day to day we would have said "crappy". That's because all we were eating was high fat, high sodium, high calorie, and extremely unhealthy. Why did we eat that junk you ask? Because it's cheap and easy.

Having a full time job, going to school, living on a budget and attempting to have a social life can leave little time for cooking and for making wise choices at meal time.

Poor meal choices coupled with little to no activity is a recipe for becoming overweight and having major health problems. According to the CDC, in 2009 the only state to have an obesity rate of less than 20% was Colorado. Every other state had an obesity rate of 20% or higher, with 33 states being over 25%. This translates to about 97 million Americans who are overweight or obese.

What does being obese/overweight mean for your health?

There are many increased health risks associated with being obese or overweight. These risks include:
Coronary heart disease
Type 2 diabetes
Endometrial, breast, and colon cancer
High blood pressure or hypertension
High total cholesterol or high levels of triglyceride
Stroke
Liver and Gallbladder disease
Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

     How do you know if you are overweight?

    In my blog post  Body Composition - What is Healthy? I show you how to calculate your BMI. A healthy BMI range is 18-24.Between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese.

    As a direct result of the health complications of being overweight, medical costs increase dramatically. In 2008, medical costs related to being overweight or obese averaged to $147 billion. In 2006 obese individuals spent on average, $1,400 more in medical expenses than individuals who are of a healthy weight. (http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/AAG/obesity.htm)

    What can you do to fight obesity?

    If you are overweight or obese, there are several steps you can take to lose the weight and become healthy. The most important is to watch what you eat. If you are eating fast food that is high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, you should start cooking at home or pick places like Subway that have healthy options. This isn't going to be easy. Many people have an addiction to fast food and when trying to break an addiction, withdrawals will occur.  Here is a great article to read about the study with rats who were fed a diet of high fat and high calorie food Fast Food As Addictive As Heroin.

    I've mentioned before that completely depriving yourself of food is not a good idea because it can cause binges and what is called "yo-yo" dieting. Eating what you love is easily balanced with limiting the amount that you eat and coupling the bad food you love, in moderation, with more of the food that is good for you.

    Get active.

    Instead of coming home and plopping down on the couch or in front of the computer, take a 10 minute walk. If the weather is not ideal for outdoor activity, do some jumping jacks to get your heart rate up, then stretch for a couple of minutes. Once you start introducing physical activity into your daily routine, you can start increasing the length and intensity of the workout. Even better, find a friend and set goals to reach together. Having support from friends and having someone to compete with will keep you motivated and will be much more fun than doing it alone.

    Getting a gym membership is not going to make you go to the gym. Investing money into a gym, only to keep your same habit of saying "I'll go tomorrow" will be a huge waste of money. Only once you've gotten a routine down where you have a block of time every day, or 3-5 days a week, should you invest in a gym membership. If there is a school near you with a track, take a drive (or bicycle/run/walk) over there and take advantage of it! It's free!

    Tip of the day - Don't get discouraged if you relapse into eating junk. Stay positive and allow yourself small amounts of your favorite foods. Getting down on yourself will decrease your motivation and you will fall back into your old unhealthy lifestyle. Positive thinking is key!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    The Cooldown

    After a hard workout the first thing I want to do is take a shower. I'm all sweaty and tired and really just don't want to do anymore physical activity. But then I remember that I need to do a cooldown, and there are several reasons why a cooldown is as essential as a warmup. There are three basic elements involved in a cooldown:

    Lowering the heart rate and blood flow

    If you suddenly stop your workout, there could be a dramatic dip in blood pressure, which is very dangerous for everyone, but especially for older men and women. A dip in blood pressure can cause you to faint and potentially bump your head or another part of your body causing serious injury. One way to prevent a dip in blood pressure is to do a slow jog for a couple of minutes, then take it down to a brisk walk, then to a slow walk, and finally finish with some stretches.

    Stopping abruptly also causes the blood flowing to remain in the muscles. During your workout, your heart is constantly sending blood to your muscles, which is then sent back to the heart. If you stop a workout abruptly, the blood will continue to be sent to your muscles, but since your muscles aren't doing anything, they don't send the blood back to the heart. By cooling down at the end of a workout, you give your muscles the chance to send the blood back to the heart since they are continually moving. During a cooldown, your heart will slowly stop sending extra blood to the muscles as well.

    Stretching
    Stretching gives you another chance to stretch the muscles that were worked out the most. When your body starts to cooldown on it's own, the muscles shorten and eventually are shorter than before you started the workout. Doing a cooldown prevents this shortening and reduces soreness as well as long term or permanent shortening of the muscles. Otherwise you are prone to cramping. Make sure you hold each stretch for at least 8 seconds to give your muscles enough time to loosen up. If you feel sore in one area more than others, hold that stretch a little bit longer, but not too long. Over stretching can cause you to pull a muscle. Stretching will also reduce soreness in the days after your workout.

    Re-Fuel or recovery drink
    Once you are finished stretching, you will probably still feel drained. That is because your body and muscles need some extra fuel to repair and use for energy. It is important to re-fuel your system within 60 minutes of your workout. Drinking a carbohydrate-protein shake is ideal during this time. It will help replace the glycogen that your body used up during your workout which will promote muscle recuperation. Consuming between 50-100 grams of carbs and 30-50 grams of protein after a workout is ideal. If you wait too long after your workout, it's wasted and you aren't doing your body any good.

    I just finished up a one-month supply of P90X Results and Recovery Formula® 30-Day Supply (25 Servings) - Tub and am now going to try out Endurox R4 Fruit Punch 4.63 lbs. The P90X Recovery Drink was great! It tasted good and made me feel energized after a hard workout. I also didn't feel as sore after hard workouts when I drank the recovery drink. The only thing I disliked was that it is so expensive for a 30-day supply. My boyfriend has a GNC gold card and when I was there last, I saw the Endurox and decided to give that a try since it is significantly cheaper (hooray gold card discount!) and does basically the same thing. It was also recommended by the GNC employee (but I think that was because he makes commission off of it). I haven't tried it yet, tonight will be my first day of drinking the Endurox as my recovery drink. Hopefully it tastes like fruit punch and not like ass :)

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Frisbee

    When I say "Frisbee" I'm sure that most people think it's a game of catch, and why would that be a good cardio workout? There are many different ways to play frisbee such as Ultimate, Double Disc, Goaltimate, and Disc golf. This past weekend I was reintroduced to Double disc, and got a great cardio workout for the limited time we spent playing. Having weekly Ultimate games would be a great alternative to going to the gym! It's inexpensive and can be played just about anywhere. There are some injuries that can happen if you decide to play one of these disc games, but unless you are a hard-core ultimate player, the most severe are broken nails or jammed fingers. Just make sure you are playing in a location that doesn't have a lot of pot holes. Also make sure you bring water and snacks in case you get dehydrated or hungry!

    How to play

    Ultimate
    Get a group of friends together at a park or field so that you have a maximum of 7 players per team. Having fewer is ok, just do not have more than 7. The field size should be 40 yards by 127 yards with end zones at each end being about 25 yards each. The goal of Ultimate is to score points by catching the disc (frisbee) in the end zone of the opposing team. There are quite a few rules that make this goal difficult. The most important rule is that players cannot run with the disc. One foot is allowed to move as a pivot point only. The player with the disc in hand only gets 10 seconds to pass the disc. After 10 seconds if the disc has not been passed, the opposite team gains control, similar to a turnover in football. Other "turnovers" include dropping the disc, a blocked pass, interception, missing a pass, or if the disc is thrown out of bounds. The game continues until one team reaches 15 points and has a two-point margin over the opposing team, or until either team reaches 17 points. Half-time occurs when one team reaches 8 points and generally lasts for 10 minutes. Each team is allowed two 70 second time outs per half. Time outs can only be called by the player who currently has possession of the disc, or by any player during the time after a point has been scored. When both teams have reached 14 points, only one time out is allowed to be called per team.

    Double Disc
    This is played with 4 players total, two on each side. The court is made up of rope or some other material to represent the boundaries. There are two sides, each being a square with dimensions of 30ft. x 30ft. These sides are separated by 30ft. of space that is considered out of bounds. Each team starts with one disc. The goal is to get both discs in the hands of the opposing team or having the opposing team throw a disc out of bounds, miss a catch, or drop the disc. Doing any of those successful awards you a point. This can be played up to as many points as the group decides.

    Goaltimate
    Goaltimate is a half-court game similar to hot box. The goal is to score points by throwing the disc to a teammate in the end zone through a large semicircular hoop. There are two teams of four players each. The disc may only be tossed through the hoop in the scoring direction, if it passes through the opposite way, it results in a turnover and the opposing team gains control of the disc. Like Ultimate, there is a time limit that the possessor has before the disc must be passed, which is 5 seconds. The same turnover rules apply here as they do in Ultimate for drops, intercepts, out of bounds, and going over the possession time limit. Usually games are played until one team scores 5 points. 5 games make up a match.

    Disc Golf
    Golf is played by however many players want to play. The goal is to throw a disc into a basket, or hit a target in a little throws as possible, similar to golf played with golf clubs :) There are rules for disc golf, but many people play just for fun and do not adhere to the regulation rules. Players generally start at the "tee pad" or starting area. This is where all players must make their first toss from at the start of each "hole". You may not exit the starting area until the disc has been released from your hand. Running starts are permitted as long as the player is still in the starting area when the disc is released. There aren't hazards in disc golf but if a disc is tossed into water, on a road or concrete, it is considered out of bounds and a one-shot penalty is taken. If you throw your disc out of bounds, you can either play from where the disc was last at rest, or you can play from where the disc crossed the out of bounds line. There are also things called "mandatories" on some disc golf courses. These mandatories are objects or obstacles that the disc must pass a certain way. For example, a flag may be placed on the course that says "left mandatory". This indicates that the disc must pass to the left of the flag. There are sets of discs you can get that have putters and drivers in them that are ideal for long distance tosses (drivers), or short distance (putters). Here is an example of a set of discs: Discraft Beginner Box Disc Golf Set

    Tip of the Day - Find activities you can do with friends. Skip the gym for a day and play some disc golf or ultimate, or even just go on a hike! Changing up your routine will prevent boredom and keep you excited about being fit!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Strength Training

    I always thought that if I were to add strength training to my workout, that I would get bulky and too muscular for being female. Not only was I wrong in that sense, but strength training improves althletic performance, fat loss, muscle growth (not as dramatic for women as it is for men) and improves overall body mobility.

    If you are a woman, and are hesitant to start strength training, don't be. Women's bodies are different than men and we do not have the hormones that men do that enable them to become so muscular. Without a supplement, such as creatine, women will not be able to build the muscles that men can. There are some great benefits to strength training for both women and men, such as:
    • Improving overall fitness, athletic performance, body composition, and metabolism
    • Reducing injuries
    • Control blood sugar and reducing the risk for diabetes
    • Reducing blood pressure and heart rate which improves the efficiency of completing everyday activies
    • Increasing muscle mass, and reducing fat mass
    Strength training also improves join stability which reduces stress put on the joints during high intensity workouts. It also strengthens tendons and ligaments, which greatly reduces your chance for injury.

    There are many different ways you can participate in strength training exercises. Some are more advanced than others, and you should determine which method is right for you.

    Weight Machines
    These are a great option for people who do not have much stability or core strength, such as elderly folks, or people with certain disabilities. Using a machine is convenient and provides enough support that a spotter is not needed. Machines are expensive, however, and unless you have one already or have a gym membership, they may not be practical for some individuals. Another downside to weight machines is that you can only do exercises in one plane of motion, which does not improve stability or core strength.

    Free Weights
    Dumbbells and barbells are examples of free weights. Unlike weight machines, these greatly improve stability and core strength, in addition to muscle size and power, but may require a spotter for certain exercises. These are not generally recommended for beginners who are just starting a strength training program. Correct technique is imperative to avoid injury. Free weights are much more inexpensive than a weight machine, but without proper technique individuals are prone to injury.

    Cable Machines
    Cable machines are basically a mix between weight machines and free weights. This type of machine can be used in multiple planes of motion, increasing stability and core strength, but do not require a spotter. Proper technique is also important with this machine, so that muscles are not stressed and injured. Cable machines are also fairly expensive.

    Elastic Resistance
    Resistance bands are a great option for beginners and for rehabilitative clients. While these will not improve strength as much as weights, they are ideal for improving muscular endurance and joint stabilization. There are different elasticity levels available, for a very inexpensive cost, for different exercises. They are versatile and can be easily transported for those individuals who travel frequently. These are also ideal for people who have high blood pressure or who are pregnant, as most of the exercises can be done in a standing position.

    Body Weight
    Body weight is the most inexpensive option, as it only requires your body! Pushups, lunges and crunches are some examples of body weight exercises. The downside is that you will hit a plateau fairly quickly, as you cannot (or should not) increase your body weight to account for the improvements to your muscle strength. Body weight exercises are great for people who do not have machines, or free weights to use, or who are on a tight budget.

    Preventing Injury
    The most important things to remember when doing strength training are to breathe and to use proper posture. Without proper posture, the muscles you are working out will put excessive stress on your joints, and your muscles will not be worked out in the correct way. Make sure your feet are straight, your knees are not "knocking" into each other, your back is not arched, your shoulders are not rounded, and your head is not forward. If you find yourself doing any of these, make sure you fix them quickly, and if necessary, reduce the amount of weight you are lifting or reduce the amount of reps.

    Breathing is just as important as having good posture. People with high blood pressure should especially take note. Make sure you are exhaling during the most strenuous part of the exercise. For example, when doing a push up, inhale on your way down, exhale on your way up. Make sure you do not hold your breath at any time!

    Another important tip is to start out slow, and with lighter weights. If you find that certain weights are a bit too light, increase them slightly, but don't go too heavy. Work your way up slowly to avoid stressing joints and muscles.

    Tip of the day - Don't be afraid to change your weight if you find that you are using one that is too light or too heavy. If you are in the middle of an exercise and are struggling with your current weight, take a break and pick up a lighter weight. And have fun!

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Plyometrics!

    The first time I ever did Plyometrics, I nearly passed out. Even now, after just over 3 weeks of working out, I still have to do some of the modified moves and take longer breaks than the P90X video. I must say, that even though this is one of the most intense workouts, it's also one of my favorites. I always feel the burn in my quads and calves, and sweat so much! After a plyometrics workout, I get sore for a couple of days, even with the recovery drink (which tastes great by the way). Even with the soreness that comes, I feel great after this workout. It has improved my performance in all aspects of my workout plan, and without it I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today physically.

    Plyometrics isn't for everyone, however. It is very high impact so if you have any kind of injury to your joints, knees or shins you should probably skip out on this and do a different type of cardio workout. Personally, by the end of the plyometrics workout, my shins are a little bit sore and I need to do the modified moves to avoid injury. Over time I've gotten to the point where I can do less of the modified moves and the shin soreness doesn't set in until much later in the workout.

    What exactly is Plyometrics?

    Plyometric exercises are high intensity, explosive muscular contractions that are meant to increase power to let you run faster, jump higher, throw farther and hit harder. It is also known as jump training. Some of the common plyometric exercises are hops, jumps and bounding movements. Some examples are squat jumps, single leg hops, hops over cones, scissor jumps, and many others. Most of these exercises require you to jump and leave the ground completely. The higher you jump, or lower you squat, the better you will get. Since these are high impact, the most important thing is to make sure you land with your knees slightly bent. Another important tip is to land as softly as possible, which is difficult for beginners.




    How to be safe while doing Plyometrics

    Since this is a high intensity cardio workout, it's very easy to injure yourself.

    • A proper warm-up is important for any workout, but especially for plyometrics. Try starting with toe jogging.
    • Plyometrics is recommended for people who already are at a certain level of physical fitness. Anyone doing plyometrics should be able to complete a one repetition squat with a weight of approximately 1.5 times their body weight. In addition, an individual should also be able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds, and stand on one leg in a semi-squat position for another 30 seconds.
    • Start slowly, with lower jumps and work up to higher jumps and lower squats.
    • Get enough rest between plyometric workouts. Take extra time if needed.
    • Do not continue if you feel any pain in your shins, knees, or joints.
    • Use proper footwear with enough cushoining.
    • Make sure you are on a comfortable surface.Recommended surfaces include grass, suspended floor, and exercise mats.
    • Most importantly, know your limits. It's ok to stop if you feel like you can't go any further.
    Tip of the day - Always do a proper warm-up before beginning any exercise. Your body will thank you for it :)

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Body Composition - What is Healthy?

    Since the 1980's the amount of obese people worldwide has doubled. 10% of men and 14% of women are considered to be obese, which translates to 205 million men and 297 million women. 1.5 billion people are considered to be overweight. With all of the advances in technology, and the convenience of fast food, it's no wonder that more people are spending less time exercising, and more time sitting at a computer.

    How do I know if I'm at a healthy level?

    There are several common body-composition tests that can determine the ratio of an individual's weight and fat percentages.

    The most commonly used test is the BMI. A healthy range to be at is 18-24. Anything over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese. Under 18 is considered underweight, which is also unhealthy.

    The easiest way to calculate your BMI is to take your weight in pounds, multiply that by 703. Take that number and divide it by your height in inches squared. For example, I weigh 122 lbs and am 5'4" which equals 64.8 inches. Take my weight and multiply by 703 (122*703=85766), then square my height (64.8*64.8= 4199.04). Then divide (85766/4199.04=20.4 BMI). 20.4 BMI is in the healthy range. This is a very easy way to calculate your BMI but the downside is that it does not determine how much is lean-body mass and how much is fat mass.

    Another method for determining body composition is the underwater (hydrostatic) weighing. This is the most accurate of all assessments, but is not practical. This method was based on Archimedes' principle that states "when a body is submerged in water, there is a buoyant counter force equal to the weight of the water which is displaced." Basically, body fat will float so the lighter a person is under water, the larger percentage of body fat they have. This is the most accurate of the assessments with a 2.5% error rate. If this is something you want to do, I must warn you that it can be very expensive. There are not many places that offer this test, but some that do are universities and research institutions.

    The third assessment is the skin-fold measurement. This is frequently used in a gym or a health club to determine body composition. There are 4 skin fold sites that are used to determine body composition. All should be done on the same side of the body for consistency. A vertical fold on the front of the upper arm (bicep), a vertical fold on the back of the upper arm (tricep), a 45-degree angle fold below the inferior angle of the scapula (subscapular) and a 45-degree angle above the iliac crest. The assessor will take the measurements using a skin-fold caliper that pinches the folds and determines the amount of subcutaneous fat. This is a very accurate method, with a 3.5% error.

    The last assessment is the bioelectrical impedance. For this test, sensors are applied to the skin throughout the body and a weak electrical current is run through the body to estimate body fat and lean body mass. This method is used because fat is a less efficient conductor of electricity than lean body mass. The faster the conduction, the leaner the individual is. This is the least accurate of all of the assessments and can be off by nearly 10% depending on the quality of the equipment used.

    I did the test, now what?

    If it is determined that you are at an unhealthy body composition level, the first thing to do is look at your daily routine. If you sit at a desk all day for work, and come home and sit at a computer or watch tv until bed, there are things you can do to break up all of that sitting. Studies have shown that people who sit for 6 hours or more, are more overweight and are at a higher risk for heart and other health problems. If you are sitting for most of the day, one thing you can do is get up and take a lap or two around the office or around the block by your home. Doing this a couple of times a day will not only help you lose inches, but will keep you awake and help you focus more on what you are working on. During lunch breaks, walk rather than drive, and get a subway sandwich rather than a burger.

    There is also "desk yoga" that is very beneficial. Here is an article that specifies certain poses and stretches you can do, and how to do them: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/21/earlyshow/health/main6123419.shtml

    Doing the desk yoga will also help alleviate lower back pain that is associated with sitting for long periods of time.
    If you prefer to save any exercise for when you get home, I would suggest starting with a core workout or yoga. Beginning Pilates is a great way to build up your core and stabilization which will also help with back pain. Here are some great videos you can get to help you out:  Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners, Pilates For Beginners (3 DVD Set),  Yoga For Beginners, Yoga For Beginners (3 DVD Box Set)

    I started with Pilates For Beginners (3 DVD Set) nearly a year ago (before I became a couch potato). It's a fun way to get off the couch and away from the computer and start becoming healthy.

    Tip of the day - Get off your butt! Periodic activity throughout the day will reduce your risk of heart and health problems. Take 5-10 minute breaks several times a day and stretch or walk to get your blood flowing and skip the coffee :)

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Journey through P90X and Personal Training Part 1

    Back in November I purchased P90X in an attempt to get into shape. It was great for a week or so, then I started getting discouraged and skipping workouts, and gave up altogether by Thanksgiving. After New Year's Eve I decided that I needed to get back into it, and also made the decision to become a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. It's been about 3 weeks that I've been working out daily, and studying for the first course of the personal training program and I have never felt better than I do today.

    I'm going to attempt to keep updates going on my P90X progress and my NASM Certification status through this blog, and hopefully I can help others who are attempting either or both of these as well!

    P90X
    The first week of the P90X program was brutal, I'll be honest. The program is meant for people who already work out and have reached a plateau and need something extra to get them to their peak physical condition. P90X is a very intense workout program and if you do not devote yourself to it, you will not see the results you want. Don't get discouraged if you are having difficulty keeping up with Tony and his workout team. They have already been through the program and once you and I are finished, we will be able to keep up with them easy!

    The first week of the program, I did not have resistance bands, which was a big mistake on my part. I would highly recommend getting a minimum of 3 levels of bands, unless you feel confident that you can do pull-ups for 60 minutes. I currently use http://www.amazon.com/Resistance-Bands-Workout-Kit--3-bands/dp/B0030DBFB2/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1297197169&sr=8-12 which you can find for fairly inexpensive on Amazon..

    Once I got the resistance bands, my workouts improved tenfold. I weighed in at 130lbs 3 weeks ago, with a 30 inch waist and 36 inch chest. Now I am down to 122lbs, 28 inch waist, and 35.5 inch chest. I am a 5'4", 24 year old female, just for reference. I do not plan on "bulking" up. I simply want to tone up and feel great.

    Working out alone did not get me these quick results. I have cut out all fast food (except for the occasional hamburger), cut out soda and coffee, and I cut my portions by 1/4. I did not, and would not recommend, cutting out everything "bad" for you and eating only salads. By depriving yourself of the foods you love, you set yourself up for a binge, and for guilt. The trick is to limit your intake of the foods you love. For example, I absolutely love sweets. Any kind of chocolate or candy can derail my diet if I never allow myself to have it. To get my fix of candy, without getting too much, I will buy a bag of Hershey Kisses and let myself have 5 a day. 2 after lunch, and 3 after dinner. That is just enough to curb my cravings for sweets, but isn't so much that I feel sick or guilty for eating them.

    Another trick I do is chew gum. Whenever I get a craving for something I know I shouldn't have, I'll pop a stick of gum in my mouth and after a few days I no longer crave the bad stuff. I also have 1 cheat day a week where I can eat 1 greasy, fatty, delicious meal and not feel bad about it.

    In addition to those tricks, I drink a lot of water. Sometimes I'll add some crystal light to my water for some flavor or I'll get a flavored vitamin water. I also have the P90X recovery drink, which tastes great and really does make me regain the energy I used during the workout. There are times that I will think I am hungry but I'll drink a glass of water and realize I was just dehydrated. I now try to drink a glass of water whenever I feel slightly hungry, and if after 15 minutes I still feel hungry I will eat a snack or a full meal if it is that time. 

    After limiting my intake of fast food, soda, and sweets, I've found that if I do over-indulge and eat more than I should, I end up feeling very tired and sick.

    Just yesterday I convinced my roommate, who has lost a good deal of weight the past couple of months, to start working out with me. He lost weight by eating better and cutting his portions, he didn't do much physical activity and is just hovering around the same weight. Doing the first workout with him yesterday was really a lot of fun (for me at least). I felt competitive and pushed myself harder than previous workouts, and today I am feeling it. In a good way! I'll keep updates on him, if he allows me to :-)

    I'm glad I convinced him to workout with me because I can start using the skills I am learning for personal training and learn what works, and what doesn't work. 

    Tip of the day - Believe in yourself. If you believe you can do it, you really can do it and you will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.