How I’m Learning to Be Still

I’m probably the last person that would typically write a post like this. While I’m good at reacting during a crisis, I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes day-to-day stressors just get to me, especially when it seems like so many of them keep piling, one on top of the other. Probably one of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn spiritually is to just be still. Probably the toughest thing I’ve had to learn to do while pregnant is to wait on God.

Let’s face it, waiting on anything is not my strong suit…I think growing up in America has taught me to be very self-reliant and impatient. After all, this is the land of drive-thru’s and self-checkout lines. This is an area that I have to submit to the Lord – oh, and didn’t I mention, I’m not so great at submission either. I’ve always worked a job…since before I’ve had a work permit…in college I worked 3 jobs to make ends meet, and try to pay school bills. Can anyone relate?

Be Still

It happened this week, as I was reading some Scriptures – have you ever been unable to get a really convicting verse out of your head until you read that passage? Well, I couldn’t turn my brain off until I began to read Psalm 46. Verse 10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The words “be still” struck me in a new way. I thought, “But I don’t know how to be still.”

Continue reading “How I’m Learning to Be Still”

Strength 101: Frog Crunches

Hi There! So let’s talk abs again! With summer on the way, we’d all probably like to make sure that we’re making the most of our ab workouts right? So many times we hit the fibers of our upper abs, but neglect the fibers in our lower abs. This is where these frog crunches come in. This move came straight out of 21 Day Fix, and it’s simple, but whoa, is it ever effective! You’ll want to start out by lying on your back/supine, with your legs extended, toes turned out. Your lower back should not be arching off the floor. Maintain toes turned out, bring your knees toward your chest, and simultaneously crunch up off the floor, bringing head towards knees. Exhale, drawing belly button in as you crunch. Try doing anywhere from 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Your abs play an important role in protecting your back, ladies, especially after having children. I haven’t had children yet, but I’ve seen many women who don’t exercise between pregnancies, and develop major back problems because their core muscles haven’t been strengthened. So my point is core training is vital, not just for aesthetics, but for making everyday tasks easier.
How to: Lie on your back. Beginners bring legs straight up to a 90 degree angles, the more advanced may lower their legs closer to the floor. Turn toes out as far as possible, pressing heels together. Place hands behind head and look at your belly button. For those with gentle necks, place a towel behind your head, and hold onto each end. Crunch up, bringing your knees towards you and exhaling. your knees will separate, but your toes must remain turned out. Inhale, extending your legs and lowering your head. Repeat.

This is a great move that will have your abs burning on rep 2…trust me. What’s your favorite ab move? Tell me in the comments! Have a great day and come back on Friday as I dish on food! (Pun intended.) 🙂

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. 🙂
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


Workout Wednesday: New Year’s Fat Blaster

Happy New Year all! SOOO I’ve been looking forward to the New Year with great anticipation! This marks a new chapter in married life for Micah and I as he has completed his biotechnology degree and I plan to start working on a degree in nutrition. 🙂 Call me a nut, but I actually enjoyed college for the most part. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a fitness model…lol, and today I’m the model for all of the pics in this workout. (Just a little 411 for those of you who’ve never met me in person.) A little tangent before I go into the tutorial for the workout: I’m so thankful that I’ve had people to spend Christmas and New Year’s with. There are many people who spent both these holidays alone, and I realize how blessed I am to have wonderful friends and family to spend both of these days with!
Today’s workout consists of the tabata method, and will knock out those problems areas, and count as a little cardio. So set your timers, and push through this one. It’s tough, but it’s over with in only 12 minutes if you push through it.

 Knee-ups:

Jump Rope: hop as quickly as possible. Focus on small skips. If you don’t have a rope, pretend you do.

Reverse Crunches: Use your muscles, not momentum. Your lift at the top won’t be a large movement at first.

 Side Traveling Squats: Beginners, don’t squat as low, and use a chair. Squat halfway, then reach right leg to the side. Stay low and bring left foot in same direction. Squat down lower, then stand halfway. Continue in the same direction, but during the next round, travel the opposite way. Use your best judgement on squat depth.

Glute Bridges: Heels must be pressed into the floor with feet about hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes and pause at the top.

Dolphin – Shoulder Plank: Squeeze your shoulder blades through the movement. If you have weak shoulders, swap this for another shoulder exercise.

 Oh and last but not least, here’s the cute little graphic. If you like this workout, feel free to pin it!

 Some advice: During squats, you know your limits and what is safe for your knees, so you know how low you can go. Use your glutes, it takes stress off your knees. You should be squeezing your glutes during bridges also. During jump rope, keep your knees slightly bent, and really pull your lower abs in during reverse crunches, and dolphin planks.

Enjoy this one, it’s tough!

Disclaimer: Although I’m a fitness professional, not all workouts are suitable for everyone. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise/fitness regimen.

Fit Foods That Make Awesome Appetizers

During Christmas, I’m always looking for delicious ways to fix healthy foods….If you’re new to a healthier lifestyle, this may be a particularly challenging time if you’re hosting parties, or even taking food to parties. Well, this week, I wanted to give you some simple and delicious options for appetizers, and dips.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts: If you had asked me if I would eat this veggie years ago, I would have said, “No Way!” But this veggie is amazing. I like to roast them in the oven, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper and topped with parmesan cheese…Amazing. Oh and I love to dip these wonderful greens in hummus. Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Iron

Roasted Cauliflower: I use a bag of frozen cauliflower and roast at 375 Fahrenheit. I use the olive oil, salt, pepper, and mozzerella cheese for this one…my personal favorite. Vitamin C

Roasted Chickpeas: These are great with chili powder, and a salt-free seasoning. They’re crunchy and will satiate your guests until the main course is ready to serve. Protein, Fiber

Almonds and Dark Chocolate Chips: Every gathering needs something sweet. This treat is sweet, but not too sweet. I love to place these in a pretty bowl. They look so elegant. Protein, Fiber,

Greek Yogurt Peanut Butter Dip: Just mix equal parts of greek yogurt and peanut butter together in a bowl. This is amazing with sliced apples and bananas. Protein, Calcium

Hummus: You can buy store bought or make your own. I love this spread on pretty much everything. Vitamin E, Protein

These are just a few of my favorite foods, to serve at any party! The prep work is easy and they’re low budget foods that won’t break the bank. Our family loves trying new foods, and I discovered  these foods last year, and I’m sure that even your pickiest guest will enjoy at least one of the appetizers on this list!

Allergies, Pollen, and Hayfever, OH MY!

Tis the season…to sneeze.
News stations have been reporting that we have had the highest pollen count in 20 years…and my ears, nose, and throat said, “Amen”! This has been a rough allergy season for me, but the past few days, they seem much better, and my migraines have ceased for the moment. I don’t even have to take medicine but once every 3 or 4 days, as opposed to every 3-4 hours. “What has brought about this turnaround?”, you might ask. Well, allow me to share with you what has worked for me, so that you may try it yourself. Of course, with a doctor’s supervision.

No wheat, or dairy, except for yogurt, and pepper jack cheese(because of the capsaicin, which clears sinuses). Although recently stated by prominent members of the medical community to be an old wive’s tail, this always reduces my symptoms. If I’m having too much drainage. I know immediately to not cheat on my gluten-free diet, and eliminate dairy as well. After a few days, my sneezing reduces.

Black Cumin Seed Oil. A natural inflammation fighter, this supplement tastes like aftershave going down, but after a week’s time, cut my use of claritin in half. My headaches are almost non-existent now.

Leave your shoes at the door. Not tracking pollen all over my house has kept my symptoms to a minimum. We leave our seasonal shoes in a basket by the door.

Vacuum, often.

Wash your hair and face, daily. Pollen gets blown into our hair around our face, and for those of us with longer hair, causes the little pests to be in close contact with our eyes and face.

Breathe. Practicing pilates has taught me to breathe more deeply in order to calm my body’s response to allergens, not allowing my system to get too hyped up. The unrelieved stress will often trigger a headache or allergy attack for me. Be patient. Take a moment to pray.

I hope this will help ease your seasonal issues. I still have some days that are better than others, but my symptoms have been greatly reduced.

Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials. James 1:2

All or Nothing

So, this week has been a strange one…and when I say strange, I mean…STRANGE… phone not working, email not working. You name it. Miscommunications right and left, people showing up early, late, or not at all…*sigh*. One of THOSE weeks. It’s one of those weeks where my prayer life has been dramatically increased by 200%. Those of you who are reading are probably laughing hysterically by now, at least some of you are…unless this week has been that way for you. Between planning a major fundraiser for work, balancing home life, and trying to carve out just a little time for myself, between wasted hours waiting for people…who don’t care…my “grace-o-meter” is just “plumb tuckered out”. Friday, I went into the gym, determined to work hard and fast…I only made it through 2 sets of three exercises before I had to clock in for work, but man have my glutes and lower body been sore today…mission accomplished. The point is when you put your mind and heart into your training, you can make it work, no matter how little time you have, but if you just mindlessly work your way through exercises, it doesn’t matter how many you do…you won’t feel that “reward” the next day, and by reward, I mean delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by the University of South Carolina Upstate states that when told what muscle to squeeze during an exercise, participants experienced 25%  more muscle gain from their workouts. Amazing! 25%! That’s a huge number! The bottom line is it’s all or nothing. You can’t go through life giving 80%, if that’s your philosophy, then you will fail at careers, marriage, parenting, relationships (with God and others), but if you truly commit with your mind, not just going through the motions (no pun intended), then the rewards are endless.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Phil. 4:13

Try this exercise for easing low back pain and strengthening the muscles surrounding (glutes and hamstrings).
Hip lift/Bridge
Lie on your back, palms down and  heels pressing into the floor, close to seat, with feet hip-width apart.
scoop your abs in,and squeezing glutes, lift hips into the air.
Hold for 2 counts then lower, barely touching the floor.
(This exercise also stretches the hip flexors/psoas.)

This blog is no substitute for supervised exercise. Always consult a physician before beginning any physical activity regimen.