Friday 5 and a Yummy Dinner Idea

Hi Everyone! It’s my last post of the week before I head to South Carolina for the weekend! I’m very excited because it’s my dad’s birthday weekend! So Micah and I are packing up Orion and headed to SC. That said, I’ve had a busy week, and the 5 ways I’ve been active are

1. Working glutes and shoulders on Monday. (Ultimate Booty Workouts – Phase 1) and teaching Aqua Zumba ยฎ
2. Circuit workout from http://strongbrees.blogspot.com/2014/01/total-body-circuit.html
3. Taking pics for and doing the Total-Body Tone Up I posted on Wednesday. See below for pics.
4. A Cardio Killer Workout http://www.pbfingers.com/2014/01/29/cardio-killer-workout/
5. Packing and Cleaning house for our trip this weekend…oh and Doing Monday’s glute workout again, and teaching a tabata class!

Oh and by the way, I experimented with spaghetti squash. Here’s what I did: 
1 lg. spaghetti squash roasted at 400 for 30 min. 
1 jar of organic, low-sugar tomato sauce
1 c. of cooked lentils…I don’t soak them, but I do rinse them very thoroughly before I cook them.
After the sauce was warm and lentils were cooked, I combined the two. The result, a yummy meatless meal high in protein and filling fiber! It was a hit at our family gathering! 

Have a wonderful weekend, we’re supposed to have weather in the 60’s where I’m going, so YAY!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Workout Wednesday: Total Body Tune-up

Here we are again! Snow, Snow, Snow!!!! Frankly, I would love for the snow to make up it’s mind whether it’s going to stay or go, but that’s just me. Speaking of snow…I’m always cold, but this winter is ridiculous! Our house doesn’t have central heating, so, I’m forever walking around bundled up, even though we live in the south. 
I have found some wonderful ways to keep warm:
1. Curl up with a good book, a blanket, and a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate.
2. Snuggle with my handsome fella. ๐Ÿ™‚
3. Start baking things…our oven gets super hot, so it heats up the entire top floor of the house, which is really the only floor we use anyway.
4 Workout. Do some cardio. I’ll try out routines that I want to post, or pop in a cardio dvd. Either way, I feel better. 
5. Clean house…okay, so I’m desperate by the time I have to do this to keep warm, but it works great, so, there we go. I’m currently working on the 40 days – 40 bags of clutter challenge. Which was deperately needed at our house. I found out that I have 20 books that are great, but for whatever reason, their just taking up space…There’s even some fitness related ones too. (Check out juliesunshine22).

I love total body circuit training, and this one has some sure-fire arm and leg toners.
So, Stay warm, and get moving!

   
Squat down then while in a squat, reach left leg behind you diagonally. Return to squat then stand. Repeat, alternating sides.

Start out in Plank, hands wide. Bring right hand to meet left hand. Repeat, alternating sides.  
Butterfly Bridge: Perform a glute bridge. While hips are lifted, press knees apart, maintaining tension.Press knees together, then lower. Repeat.
Reverse Plank

Bicycle Crunch


Motivational Monday: Jessica’s Transformation

 Good morning! I’m so excited about my week, and have a huge announcement for Friday! Yes, this is a big step for me. Oh, and my hubby has a full-time job now! PTL! Now we’re on the same schedule, and I’m so excited about the changes going on at our house!

This week’s inspirational story come’s from the heart of my good friend, Jessica. The transformation of this lady is especially dear to my heart. You see, we were good friends in college, and are still friends. She’s one of the most caring people I know! I remember when we would go to the gym and Jessica would laugh…the entire time…now I laugh thinking about that. hahaha. Her story is proof that all things are possible to them that believe!

 What was your fitness defining moment?The moment I was no longer terrified to run outside. I used to run in my townhome because I had such a fear of what people would think seeing a woman so obviously obese running. Now, I run with confidence! 
 Who impacted your journey into fitness and why? The two people who come to mind immediately are Kodi Reed & Jessica Dinka. Both are my coaches to fitness and help push me beyond the limits I attempt to set for myself. They both believe in me even more than I believe in myself at times. what are some ways that you sneak fitness into your day? My lovely 25 pound toddler is a simple way. Picking her up, dancing around the house to music, squats, and her favorite is downward dog. I catch myself accidentally exercising without even thinking with her around.
How do you go about planning healthier meal choices for your day?Currently, I am following a personalized meal plan from Beachbody. Typically, I would look online to find good recipes with ingredients I already had but needed to branch out some. I track all of my calories using the free application, MyFitnessPal–add me jessicagross94 
What scripture best describes your health journey? 
“I will praise you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of the marvelous things you have done.” Psalm 9:1 This Scripture reminds me always to go back and thank the Lord. Every step of my journey to health He was with me giving me the strength to push through a hard workout, stamina to run a half marathon, wisdom to plan out of meals, and even the finances to support a healthier lifestyle. God is the author of all good things, so all the praise in my journey to health ultimately goes to Him.
Here’s Jessica’s before and after pics! 
 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overcoming-Obesity/178173405709290

Jessica’s results of clean eating, T25, and running!



I’m so proud of my friend, and her accomplishments! I can’t wait to see the next chapter of her story unfold! 
What was your health/fitness defining moment? Comment below! 

Get an extra 40% off all bargain books at Booksamillion.com. Hurry! Sale ends Wednesday.

Cardio Wars: Intensity vs. Duration

Cardio, Cardio, CARDIO…it’s something I love to hate…I’ll admit, I love the results…hate getting on the treadmill…and feel ridiculous staying on a machine for distance runs…so I don’t. While I greatly admire runners, (trust me, my hat’s off to you!), it’s not for me, for a variety of reasons.I usually do 5k’s for charity, or if I have a buddy. Changing up your intensity is vital to gaining results, especially if you want to add lean muscle. This is why I love HIIT (high intensity interval training. Higher intensity can mean a variety of things, for example, running/climbing stairs instead of running on flat grounds, moving at a faster pace, tweaking an exercise if you’re circuit training or adding weight to knee lifts, jumping jacks, etc. You get the idea. With that said, you may be wondering how you can gauge how hard you’re working if you don’t have a heart monitor or fancy techno device gadget. (If you’re dr. says you need a hr monitor though, go buy one!) Most people can gauge RPE – rate of perceived exertion as a means of whether or not YOU personally are getting a sufficient cardio workout. (Contrary to popular belief, sweat is not always example of whether or not a particular activity is providing you with a great cardio workout. i.e. swimming.) My favorite type of cardio is taking moves like jumping jacks and hitch kicks and doing them at an RPE of 8 for about 30 seconds, then resting at an RPE of 4 for 15 seconds.
Here are my 5 favorite activities that count as “fun” cardio:
1.Swimming
2.Basketball
3. Ice skating
4.Dancing
5. Soccer.

Oh and here’s an RPE chart to help you challenge yourself!
Have a happy, healthy Friday!

Wonderful Wednesday: Inspiring Stories, Ruthie

 Good morning! The snow is falling and I’m preparing for a snow day tomorrow. But my guest today, lives in beautiful Florida, near the Emerald Coast area…so jealous. Her name is Ruthie, and I cannot tell you what an amazing lady she is! She’s stared obstacles straight in the face and is very inspirational to me as a person and fitness professional. One of my first memories of her was attending our first PiYo training together at the Dowd YMCA in Charlotte! What a fun trip and a tough, but totally worth-it workout! Both of us were experiencing major transitions in our lives, and I’m proud to say, she’s a great example of how important of having a strong faith and great support system are for even us fitness professionals. Here’s her fitness strory:

My journey from a group dance fitness instructor and Personal Trainer to (a stay at home) (home based) Health and Fitness Business owner.


My personal health and fitness journey started in 1999, I was a working mom with 3 kids. At the time I was working as a dental assistant, a very unhappy dental assistant.
You see I’m one of those people that need to see a greater purpose, just working a job to make money just doesn’t motivate me. I want to feel a part of something bigger, something with purpose. I was looking for something that excited and challenged me, made me look forward to getting up each day to meet the challenge. I wanted to be involved with people at a deeper level.
One day a couple of my fellow employees invited me to join them at the gym, after work.
This is where I found my passion, you see it was the first time I had participated in a group aerobics class! It didn’t feel like I was even working out! I loved the music, the energy, and the fun.
From that day forward I knew that I wanted to be teaching some type of group fitness activity.  I loved dance, so I soon found a local Jazzercise class to attend.  It became my happy place! I so looked forward to attending the class several nights a week after work.


Soon after I became a licensed Jazzercise instructor.
And for a couple of years, I taught a couple classes a week at a local studio. But I wanted to do more, so I opened up my own Jazzercise studio which I ran  for 5 years.
Wanting to go deeper into fitness, I soon received my AFAA group instructor certification. I continued my fitness education and I became a N.A.S.M. certified personal trainer, Sports Nutrition Specialist and a Zumba instructor. During this time I was teaching some group classes at area gyms and holding fitness Boot camps.
Several years ago I decided to get certified to teach a  format called PIYO Strength, the certification instructor introduced me to the Team Beachbody Coaching opportunity. (Virtual Fitness Coaching)
At first I wasn’t sure how I could incorporate this type of training into my fitness business, especially since it didn’t involve hands on training with a client or group as I had been accustom to.  So I continued to teach some classes and run a few boot camp fitness classes, while I also worked on growing my Team Beachbody business from home.


Fast forward a couple of years and I am now dedicating most of my time to developing my Team Beachbody business. With virtual coaching, I work with clients nationally, on their schedules, providing support, encouragement and accountability with superior nutritional products and workout programs. All keys in attaining and maintaining health and fitness.
For more information about Beachbody products, programs and accountability groups visit http://ruthiegage.com/beachbody  
or connect with Ruthie on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ruthie.gage

Jeremiah 29:11

11: For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ declares the Lord, โ€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Please check out Ruthie’s website and pages. She is a breath of fresh air with her positive attitude, and her love of helping people! 

Fitness Friday: The Truth About Glutes Training.

For those of you who’ve read my post on Monday, there seems to be a recurring theme this week. Glutes training…yes, I said a dirty word…lol. We North Americans of the protestant variety have this outlandish ideas that training this group of muscles is taboo…When people ask me what I’m training on a particular day, and I reply “glutes”…there are often snickers, winks, and creepy looks. eewww…The thing is, for women this muscle is sooo important – to metabolism, overall body fat, back pain relief, and so much more. The thing is, this group of muscles is the largest group of muscles in the body. The larger the muscle, the more calories it burns…do the math. These muscles are responsible for hip extension and hip rotation. They are very important. Have you ever noticed people who carry all the weight on the front of their body. (i.e., gut). They tend to have a much greater tendency for low back pain, all because they have weak glutes. The muscles in the front of their bodies over compensate for this, and as a result, the whole backside of their posterior chain is weak and prone to injury. Training legs, and glutes 2x a week will help with this. It doesn’t have to take hours, it can take minutes of your time. Here’s a tough workout, but it will help you get your glutes in shape. Remember my article on supersets, well here’s the chance to apply that knowledge! Drink lots of water and eat your veggies and protein, and you’ll be on the right track!

Warm-up: Do 20 small plies with heels close together and hips tucked under. This is not a large movement. Bend your knees, maintaining abs and hips, then straighten legs, contracting glutes. 

Side Lunge to Curtsey: Standing with feet together. Step right leg out to one side. Lower, really pushing hips back, then push off right leg to return and curtsey lunge back with your left leg. This one works wonders, in my personal experience, and targets the entire leg area. 
 
Squats: Use a squat machine, or squat with a resistance band or dumbbells.  Keep your feet wider to engage the glutes. Lower to parallel, then return to standing, squeezing glutes.

Jump Squats: Lower into a 3/4 squats. Lift off explosively, contracting glutes. Land with knees bent. Make it Easier: If you’ve never performed plyometric movements, substitute this for body weight, full-range squats. 

Hamstring Curl on the Ball: Lie on your back, with feet on an exercise ball. Dig your heels into the ball and curl your legs towards you, contracting your hamstrings and glutes. Slowly curl the ball away from you, maintaining lifted hips. 

Hip Thrust: Yes, I just wrote that on paper… grow up. Sit on the floor with a weight across your hips and shoulders against a bench or chair. Squeeze glutes and lift hips to parallel with floor, pause, then lower, but don’t touch the floor. 

Book Review: Ultimate Booty Workouts

Hi There! 
So I started a new lower body program today, and I’m super excited!!!! (Glute days are my favorite days to train, as all my friends know.) So while many pics of extreme bubble butts are circulating pinterest and tumblr…there are many pics of flat butts that are glorified(i.e. runway models). So let me be the first to say, a particular friend of mine, Jessie, in college, used to always say “Bertha” when I turned around…but okay…enough jokes. 

If you’re looking for a lower body transformation workout… let me say it. Ultimate Booty Workouts is for you. While most people would tease you if you kept this book on your coffee table, let me just say, it is no joke. This gem of a book was written by Tamara Grand of http://fitknitchick.com/ . Tamara is so knowledgeable! This book was written by a woman who knows her field and understands the importance of adding variety to workout routines, while mastering the movements involved in pursuing this particular goal. There are no fad exercises here. The workouts were well thought out, with detailed explanations and cuing. The nutrition guidelines are simple, no complex meal plans, but a list of healthy foods to give you an idea where to begin. The program goes through 3 4-week phases, and there are also cardio guidelines and ideas. This is hands down the most comprehensive book I’ve ever read on the topic. (And believe me, I’ve read a few; which comes with being a fitness coach/personal trainer for 5 years.) My workout buddy and I have challenged ourselves to complete this 12-week program. I’ve even taken my own measurements today.  The other refreshing thing about this book is that there is not one solitary endorsement of plastic surgery, AND she explains the HEALTH benefits of glute training, such as increased metabolism and reduced lower back pain, which are way too often overlooked in articles on the topic. Thank you, Tamara for writing a book that I will continue to use as a resource for years to come! You can order this awesome book on Amazon.com

Go break a sweat!

Julie A


Quickie Cardio

Hi There! So it’s been a crazy week, with non-stop…well, everything! It’s my first week back at work since Christmas, and I’m having a rough time getting into the swing of things. Today’s workout is a way to break a sweat without leaving the house. I haven’t had much time to drive to the gym, so I need a way to stay warm…with the weather getting creepily close to 0 lately. I haven’t had time to take as many pics as I’ve needed to for this workout, so here goes. My philosophy is, being functionally fit and in shape should not take hours out of your day…who has time for that? I go to the gym to live, not live to go to the gym! This cardio workout uses just your body weight, but gets your heart rate going by using large muscle groups. 
Challenge: Each time you do the workout, add a round to each tabata set or 2 rounds for exercises that work one side at a time.. Example – 1st workout= 4x each set; 2nd workout = 6x total for rounds using one side at a time. Work up to 8x total. Enjoy this sweat fest!

Have fun with this. You’ll really push yourself but the effort is worth it! If you’ve been following my tabata workouts, this will be a great change of pace. In order to keep progressing, you must keep your body guessing!

Have fun! 


Julie A.

 

Monday Motivation: Stepping Out; Being Brave

The next 21 days are important for Micah and I. We’re taking some time to seriously pray about the next steps we’re supposed to take in certain areas of our lives. He’s just finished school, and needs a job, so we’re praying that the right doors are opened up for him, and about my return to school. I start filling out applications in the next few days, and I’m excited, yet nervous. Nutrition is no easy peasy degree, and after that, I want to go to grad school. I’ve also been praying about singing classically on a pro level again, which thrills and terrifies me at the same time! These are just a few of the decisions we are going to be making personally during this next year. This isn’t about a wish list. It’s about the desires God’s put in my heart, and the desire to be brave enough to step out in faith. Ooooh that’s a tough one for me. I like my comfort zone. But I know the more I push, the more He’s going to pull me out of that zone. Faith is an action, not a feeling! I pray with expectation, knowing that sometimes, God doesn’t need to change my surroundings, He needs to change me. What do you need to step out in faith on? It could be relationships, finances, health, or whatever. Start preparing yourself by developing an “attitude of gratitude”. Flexibility in situations is something that I need to work on. So, I’m taking steps to learn to control how stressed I become when these situations arise.This is a great quote by Jim Elliot.If you’ve never read Through the Gates of Splendor you should. There is an incredible story behind this man’s family and the lives they changed for God forever.

See you soon!

Scrumptious Saturday: Flavored Water recipe

So the New Year is here, and if you’re like me, you’ve realized that there’s some small things you’d like to tweak in your health regimen. One of those things that I’m greatly lacking in is drinking water. I definitely don’t drink enough water, but desperately need to. For Micah’s birthday, he got this great infusion pitcher, (his mom got it at Marshall’s)which allows us to put fresh berries and herbs in our water. I love this method. I feel refreshed drinking infusion water, especially with raspberries.
Here’s one of my favorite combinations:
1/3 cucumber
1 sm. can mandarin oranges rinsed
2 teabags green tea.
1 teabag mint tea

This is a great tummy soother after all of those holiday treats, and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and rehydrated. With all the colds and viruses going around, that’s important to staying well. Enjoy!