Tabata Turkey Blaster

Happy Thanksgiving!
With a full tummy and thankful heart, I write to tell you I successfully got in a workout on Black Friday, and you can too! I was at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, and they don’t have a lot of room, but I brought my resistance bands, and I tell you, I was breaking a sweat!!! And I was breathing like I had just finished a round of sprints! I felt accomplished! But, the magic was I accomplished all this in 8 minutes! I used the Tabata format, and will probably use it for years to come! It works for me, and I can get on with my day. Here’s the Turkey blaster I did on Friday!
Exercise Tips
Bent Row: hinge at the hips without rounding the back. Keep your abs in tight as you pull the band toward your abdomen and exhale. Squeeze those shoulder blades.
Runner’s Toe Taps: Get into Runner’s Lunge Pose, hands on the floor. Keeping weight in the front foot, quickly tap back foot forward and back, bottom down.

Push-Ups: Whether modified or full, keep your abs in tight, work on  a controlled motion, quality over quantity.
Jumping Jacks: NO pidgeon toes, and keep your knees slightly bent at all times. You’ll need to tie the band tight enough to keep tension on it throughout the entire exercise.

Enjoy this workout, and tell me of your progress!

Wonderfully Made

I had just turned 21. I was a successful senior in college at the time, and one of the top voice students in a nationally renowned private university. I had suffered on and off through the years with body image. From anorexia, to being picked on for having more of a strong look than a skinny one, when the skinny look was at its peak. I’m small-framed, but when I train and eat right….the muscle shows…I will never have a thigh gap, and I most certainly do not want one now. When it came to my creativity, and my reasoning skills, well, I was pretty secure in those, but well, I had a problem…that problem was stress. I was flat broke, and had found out that two of my closest friends were spreading rumors about me in addition to their picking on me in class.
I saw one of these “friends” 2 and 1/2 years ago, and she still can’t look me in the eye. I would love for her to know that I love her and forgive her, and maybe she’ll read this one day, and know that.
 I wasn’t perfect; I’ll admit…I over committed myself because at this point, I just wanted to belong. My church rejected me. I went to a church where no one, wanted me around because I had been homeless at one point during the previous summer. Students that went to that “certain” school were successful, had good jobs, even while in school, and always kept up appearances, but oh, if they only knew how many of us went hungry at night.
By my spring semester of that year, I was malnourished, and gaining stress weight. When my parents came to pick up my stuff from school, my mom gave me a hug, and when she did, a clump of hair broke off in her hands. I looked gray. I had gained 35 pounds…Well, by the time I started to knock it off, my chorus mates and friends had noticed, and I was at my lowest point, when I came out of the back of a tour bus to hear a classmate say, “I hate girls with bigger legs.  For goodness’ sake, they have lipo for problems like that!” I remember being utterly crushed because this guy prided himself on being an intellectual and not focused on appearance. That was when I started to crack…..I would have panic attacks before choir, while everyone else thought it was just allergies, my bodies response to stress was killing me, literally. I had so much socially anxiety, I would lock myself in my basement apartment and cry myself to sleep at night. I had the flu 4 times in one semester…I’ve NEVER been sick that much in a span of 6 months. My church didn’t want me, so I stopped going. I reached out to people, but everyone smiled and walked by. Although on the outside I still appeared to be friends with everyone, I felt that my true circle of trust was growing smaller and smaller.
Well, God told me to go back home, and I did, and I didn’t tell anyone else, because I didn’t feel that I mattered, yes, that’s how low my self-image was…I knew the Lord, but I had forgotten that He had made me in His Image, and how beautiful I was in His eyes. When I realized that, amazingly, I dropped the weight quickly, and got certified to teach group fitness. I am so grateful to my friend Ms. Tina, who pushed me and encouraged me along the way.
I remember hearing from a “friend” that my professors were so upset with me because I told no one I wasn’t coming back until I had another offer from another school. They may never understand why I did this, but here is why: I needed to finalize this decision between myself and God, I needed to stop pleasing people, for once in my life. Because that semester, I lived for PEOPLE, not God, but people, and I was lonely and let down. I love those professors dearly, and maybe someday they’ll read this too. I hope that somehow they’ll read this and understand that even I didn’t know the big picture then.
The happy ending, my relationship with God is awesome, and I’ve kept my weight off for 4 years! I also have true friends who love me for who I am now and a husband who encourages me to stay healthy, but who loves me for my heart, and I go to an awesome church too! I’ve learned to get away from bad influences, to forgive myself for my mistakes, and hold on to what God’s Word says, and LIVE it out. I have value.

Maybe you have bad body image, are dealing with bullies, maybe someone close to you crushed you with their words, and still has no clue. Know that you are unique, you are one of a kind. You can be healthy and rock it like no one else can. God wants you to look like only you can. Stop being afraid and let his perfect love cast out fear. The people that put you down are afraid of the amazing person that you are, and are only seeking that affirmation because they themselves do not feel adequate.

And hey, if you’re reading this blog, and you know it’s about you, just know that I love you, ok?

Only when I was able to realize who I was made to be on the inside could I successfully change the outside.

Wassail. A perfect treat on a cold day.

I’m a little late with this post….I said it would be Tuesday, oh well. Last week, I had a rough bout with sinuses and coughing, and I wanted something hot to drink. Well, this time of year is perfect for wassail. My husband bought some cran-pomegranate juice to mask the nasty propolis I took to get rid of my cough.(Propolis requires a separate post.)

Anyway, this is a super easy crockpot recipe, and…it’s amazing! I actually can’t believe I came up with this! Do be aware that even though there is no sugar added, the ingredients naturally contain sugar, so there is, well, sugar in this recipe. But it’s ok to have as a treat and is definitely not as high-calorie as many of the wassail recipes out there!

Whistlin’ Wassail
4 c. no sugar added apple juice
4 c. no sugar added cran-pom juice
1 can mandarin oranges with no syrup.
6 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. ground cloves

Place all ingredients together in a crockpot on high for 2 hours. Enjoy! Oh, and by the way this made my house smell wonderful!!! 🙂

Let me know what you think!

Workout Wednesday:Tempo Training and how it works.

There are times when we work for every rep in strength training, and then there are times, when we mindlessly go through the motions. It’s easy to do this with body weight, and resistance bands, and I’ll admit…sometimes, I need a little help being mindful of my muscles working. That’s were tempo training comes in. Tempo training forces you to use your muscles instead of momentum to do the work, so that you’re focusing on the work of your muscles to do the job. Here’s an example: Squat – instead of down, up, down, up think of this motion in phases and use a different amount of time for each segment. For example, 3 sec. to lower into parallel. 2 seconds to standing and 2 seconds at the top of the movement, contracting the glutes. Try it. You’ll definitely feel the muscles working. It usually only takes about 3 or for exercises for a muscle group to get completely burnt out when done this way, but sometimes, it’s good to shock your muscles, and this is one of the best ways to do it.Think quality over quantity.

Squats: keep knees and toes in the same directions, no pidgeon toes! Place hands in front of you  lower 3 seconds, stand 2 seconds, squeeze 2 seconds.

Push-ups: Even those of you who can do full push-ups may want to do the modified push-ups this time. Lower 2 seconds, push up 2 seconds, pause 3 seconds. This will help enable you to do more full push-ups, and get great abs.

Reverse Crunches: Zip up those abs and keep ’em zipped! Lower 3 seconds, Lift 2 seconds, Pause 3 seconds

Single-Leg Dead Lift: Find a focus point. This move was never meant to be rushed any way. If you’re unsure, add resistance and try a stiff-legged dead lift. But most importantly , your back must stay straight, abs in!
Throughout the movement. If your back rounds, you’ve lowered too far. Lower 3 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 2 seconds. (Add that squeeze.)

Bicep Curls: Use tubing or weights for this one. Lower 3 seconds, lift 2 seconds, pause at the top 3 seconds…this is a killer with resistance bands.

Side Plank with Hip Dip: Zip it up! Lower 2 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 3 seconds.

I would love your questions/comments on anything posted on this page! Thank you for reading! And if you like what you see, share the love!
Exercise tutorials are available on http://www.acefitness.org/

Motivational Monday: what challenge do you face?

So, it was a tough week last week. Learned a lot, laughed a lot, and cried a lot, but definitely am better for it.If you haven’t figured out by now, it’s been a pretty rough six months for me. There, I thought I would just spell it out for you. It’s been difficult to get workouts in when you carry a lot of responsibility, but a word to my procrastinating friends, it is worth every second. Between all the fixer-upper projects around the house and Micah finishing school, some days, I feel like my brain and heart want to explode. One thing God has taught me through all this is perseverance, and to keep pressing on, no matter what anyone else says, what He says matters more. Here we are, 20 days from the finish line, and I look at how many prayers have been answered, how many tears have been shed, and how much this time of growth has been a blessing. My challenge to you this week is look your obstacle straight in the eye. Stop pretending it’s not there, stop trying to get around it; work through it. It could be not wanting to confront an eating habit that is wrecking your health. It could be not making any time to exercise. Whatever it may be, you can either decide to give up, or you can become stronger through it. My next advice is practical. Write down steps to your goals. I’m not exactly perfect at executing these plans myself yet, but there are tools out there that can help you. Stop saying you can’t keep a planner or even write down long term goals. Just stop it. The book, Home School, High School, and Beyond by Beverly Adams-Gordon has great resources, not just for high schoolers, but for anyone who needs a little direction, I’m an artsy type, so I need a lot of it. She helps you break down your long-term goals into short-term goals of 5 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, and quarterly goals, and even weekly goals. My point is, it is worth the time, effort, and resources, to look at ways to overcome obstacles. There are tons of organizational forms on Pinterest. There is something out there that will suit your unique personality, but the first step is just do something, even if it involves notebook paper and a pencil, start writing down what you want to accomplish. It’s worth it. Hiding does not make the obstacle your facing go away, but creating a battle plan helps you to overcome it. There, that’s my motivational soapbox for the week. Anything worth having is worth working hard for.

Smoothie Heaven: Red Velvet smoothie

Hi there!
So if your week has been anything like mine, there have definitely been some ups and downs… Fortunately, I can sip a comforting Red Velvet smoothie! You might think, ” But isn’t Red Velvet a cake?” Well, yes it is but this smoothie recreates the taste of red velvet without all the sugar. It’s one of my all time favorite smoothie recipes and my clients love this recipe! And with Christmas and the holidays around the corner, we could all use a little desert that will help us keep a healthy waistline…right? Well without further ado, here it is, my raging Red Velvet smoothie!

 Red Velvet Smoothie    (Serves 2)
1 c. mixed berries or raspberries.
1 tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder
1/4 c. greek yogurt
1. cup almond milk
1/2 c. water
2 tbsp. stevia

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Raspberries have vitamin k.and lots of other antioxidants. try this fruit in oatmeal with almonds and greek yogurt too!

Good morning!

First of all, Happy Veterans Day! I’m so thankful that there are brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us all here in the US!

Today being Monday, I’m back in my workout and food routine full steam. Today is lower body day on my personal calendar, but it’s also a day on which I have to teach a really challenging group fitness class! Not that I mind the challenge, but it can be tough discerning how much I need to push myself when I have a challenging class to teach later. So I said to myself, “Self, you should just put 3 exercises together and do the whole circuit 3-5x…” So there you have it. I took two of the most effective lower body exercises, the squat, and the bridge, and paired them with an easy-to-do ploymetric (explosive) move, the jumping jack and got a great workout! This workout is a quickie toner for your thighs, glutes, and calves! The key here is adding the pulses, squeezes, and presses at the end of each set. pulses really involve the gluteus maximus, while squeezes target the inner thighs, and presses target the outer thighs. I hope you enjoy the workout. Warm-up by marching in place and perfoming 15 kick backs for each leg.Here’s the tutorial:

Squats:
Put your arms out in front to help keep your balance, put your weight in your heels as you sit back. Newbies, put a chair behind you. Pro’s, add some weights or a resistance band. Oh, and keep your gaze up. Squeeze your glutes to stand up.

Split Squats:
Keep your weight in your front heel, then lower straight down as low as possible. Squeeze muscles and stand. Repeat.

Glute Bridge:
Put your weight in your heels.Squeeze your bum before lifting, this makes sure the glutes are doing the work.

Jumping Jacks:
Keep your knees and toes the same way…and absolutely no pidgeon toes. This will hurt your knees.

Here’s the workout:


 ENJOY and keep perservering! You will reach your goals!

Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

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Hi, Friends! Here’s a bonus recipe for the week. With all this rainy weather, I’ve been looking for new soup recipes. One of my favorite ingredients is in season as well – butternut squash. I love adding it to quinoa, but have never made a pureed soup from it before. My husband raved over this recipe! (He doesn’t eat just anything.) It’s my new favorite soup now. 🙂

Butternut Squash Soup
1/2 butternut squash (cut in half and roast on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion sliced
3 c. water
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
clean flesh out of squash and boil ingredients together in a pot on medium for 10 minutes. Pour all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Top with parmesan chees if desired and salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is rich in vitamin A and protein. 🙂
Enjoy!