Strength Exercises

4 06 2010

So I’ve been slowly trying to add new strength exercises to the routine that my physical therapist has me on.

So far today I worked in push-ups, two sets of 10, I attempted a plank (I lasted 30 seconds…but I have to say my form was PERFECT) and I found a website that shows different strength exercises to do with your balance ball (YAY!)

I did this one:

I did 3 sets of 10.

And I plan on doing this one after I’m done with this blog (the plan is 3 sets of 10)

I tried to do this:

and almost DIED!  This move is way beyond my current fitness level…I’ll have to try again later…

What are some of your favorite strength moves to do at home?



4 06 2010

Yesterday was kind of a boring day…I wish it hadn’t been, since my boyfriend was off, but he hung out in his “man cave” and played on the computer and watched tv until he went to the gym.  I asked to go with him to try out his gym, since he HAD gotten me a 7 day guest pass, but he adamantly said no.  I think he was kinda embarrassed to take me with, last night was his second appointment with his personal trainer and apparently during the first session he spent a lot of it dry heaving and almost puking.  But seriously, I didn’t want to go watch HIM workout, I wanted to check out the facilities and get MY workout on 🙂

Didn’t happen, bummer.

I did about 15 minutes worth of my physical therapy exercises (which include a lot of work with resistance bands and my balance ball) and then my mom called and asked if I wanted to go for a walk and a light dinner with her (after we swung by the mall real quick).  Well we never left the mall, its what usually happens, but I wore my pedometer anyways and according to it and my four hours of “walking at a slow pace” burned over 900 calories for someone my weight…hmmm…don’t know if that’s 100% right but it made me feel better.

Being on a limited calorie diet I’m used to eating 5-6 times per day, usually 3 meals and some snacks, however when I met up with my mom yesterday, thinking that it was just going to be a “quick mall run” I hadn’t eaten my afternoon snack and was only sitting around 400ish calories consumed since I’d had a light breakfast and lunch (I haven’t been hungry at all lately and its really bothering me…).  So needless to say, after several hours of wandering the mall with my mom and watching her try on clothes my blood sugar was running pretty low and I was starting to not feel so well (light headed, irritable…) so I kinda snapped (sorry mom) and said I needed to eat something now and that she could keep eating but I had to eat.

Well, she felt bad about it and for the sake of the diet we skipped the food court and headed to one of the restaurants attached to the mall called McCarthy’s.  I was a little worried about going an Irish Pub style place (bar food..eep?) but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of healthy options they had available.  I was set on getting a salad until I saw a burger that they’re apparently “famous” for, their Iri-Shroom burger (a burger with mushrooms sautéed in Guinness, havarti dill cheese and a herb garlic spread) so my mom and I decided to split the burger and the salad so we could try it and be healthy at the same time 🙂

It was perfect, and unlike a lot of restaurants, their portions weren’t HUGE so I was just the right amount of full without feeling bloated.  I stayed within my calorie count so that’s a plus 🙂

I also got my mom to sign up for!  It’s a great tool if you’re trying to lose weight, or just want a way to track your food and exercise.  Yesterday I used the message board on the site to join a June weight loss group where everyone has to set their weight loss goals for June.  Even though I’ve been having a rough couple of weeks I decided to be ambitious and set a goal of 8lbs for June.  This will put me well under 200lb (w00t) and is an average of 2lbs per week which is totally attainable.  Everyone who set a “mini” goal set up a corresponding reward, mine is a spa pedicure, I haven’t had one in so long!

Do you use goals to motivate yourself?


1 06 2010

Its June!  Which in my book means that Summer is OFFICIALLY here 🙂

I enjoyed some great weather this weekend with some nice walks and swimming, but I had to make sure to slather on my super strong SPF since I unfortunately never tan, I only burn.

Since today might be the last day before I return to work, I decided to make an omlette for breakfast-YUM!  I kept it simple and just did three egg whites and in the center I mashed up a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese and topped with a some ketchup.

I also paired it with a Pink Lady apple, sliced extra thin, using the Iowa Girl Eats method.


I love slicing apples that thin, its great for dipping and it makes it seem like you’re eating a lot more than you actually are.  I also LOVE pink lady apples by the way, those and honeycrips are my absolute FAVE!

So I’m not addicted to Oprah by any means, but I kinda like Dr. Oz.  I’m currently reading his book “YOU on a Diet” but I’m not really into it yet, its kinda a slow read.  I read an article today about Dr. Oz’s B.E.A.C.H diet for summer, apparently some housewives tested out this diet and over the course of 4 months each of them lost between 30-60lbs.  The full article is here but I can sum it up for you:

His plan uses some pretty basic concepts (if you’ve looked into healthy eating habits at all)

The B stands for breakfast, and he emphasizes how important it is that you have a nutritious one and not skip this meal (as so many people do).  Make sure that you choose a breakfast that is high in protein and fiber (like my breakfast 🙂 ).

The E stands for eliminate simple carbs (i.e. white rice, white potatoes, anything made with white flour and sugar, alcohol, etc…).

The E stands for exercise ALMOST everyday.  The women testing out this diet exercised six days per week doing a variety of activities from walking, dancing, kickboxing, etc…(apparently its BEEACH lol)

The A stands for add antioxidants to your plate.  Fruits and veggies are not only so low in calories that you can eat almost as much as you want to fill up, but most of them are full of antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation in the body which is directly linked to weight loss.

The C stands for indulge in dark chocolate.  Eat chocolate and lose weight? SCORE!!! However, you need to remember that moderation is key and look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacoa.  This will help keep your sugar cravings in check and is also full of antioxidants.

The H stands for hydrate yourself.  We all know how important water is not only for weight loss, but for over all health.  Stick to water especially if you’re trying to lose weight, the other stuff is just empty calories.

Pretty straight forward.  I was already doing everything on that list already (however, I’m not fully healed from my surgery yet so my workouts are pretty basic).

What are some of your favorite tips for weight loss?

Samurai Workout!

18 05 2010

This is just too cool!  I was doing some surfing and I came across an article on about a new fitness trend that is HUGE in Japan right now called Forza and its a workout with samurai swords!!!  Now to be clear, this is not a workout that will teach you the way of the samurai, but it is an effective workout that burns a good amount of calories and looks fun to do.

After reading the article I did a search on Amazon and and found some books and DVDs on the subject:

You can click the above image to go to the page 🙂

One thing that I like about this workout is that you can you stuff you have lying around the house, or you can get into the workout and buy a kendo sword or something and unleash your inner samurai warrior!

I found an example workout (with pictures) via Mens Health

Grab a dull, long, weighted object, such as a broomstick and walk into an open area with a tall ceiling (or no ceiling) and plenty of space. (You can buy a wooden sword at Perform the workout as a circuit, resting 30 seconds between exercises. (So you’ll perform all your reps for exercise A, rest, then exercise B, rest again, and so on.) Repeat the circuit as many times as it takes until you’ve been working out for 15 minutes—your goal is to eventually perform 15 minutes of continuous activity with no rest. Once you can do that, use a heavier object.

The Workout:

A Half-Cut
Grab your “sword” with both hands, palms facing each other, but separate your grip by four inches. Your right hand should be on top. Take an athletic stance and place your feet together. Keeping your arms bent, lift the “sword” over your head so the “blade” points directly behind you [1]. Take a short step forward with your left foot and simultaneously slice downward, so that the sword ends up in front of you with your bottom hand at waist level [2]. Return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 15 reps, and then switch your grip so that your left hand is above your right. Now you’ll step forward with the right foot. Complete another 15 reps.

B Full-Cut
Set up in the same position as you did for the half-cut [1]. Lunge with your left leg until it’s nearly parallel to the floor, and slice downward with your “sword” so that it ends up in front of you and your bottom hand is at waist level. [2]. Return to the start position. That’s one rep. Perform 15 reps with before switching grips so your left hand is over your right. Now you’ll lunge with your right leg. Do 15 more reps.

C Horizontal Cut
Take an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the “sword” so your hands are slightly in front of your right shoulder and your “sword” extends behind you [1]. Rotate your hips and shoulders from right to left as you slice with your “sword,” tracing a line parallel to the ground and at your eye level, stopping when your bottom hand reaches your left arm pit [2]. Return to the start position. That’s one rep. Perform 15 reps before switching grips, so your left hand is above your right. Now you’ll cut left to right, rotating your hips in shoulders in the opposite direction. Do 15 more reps.

D Thrust Lunge
Take an athletic stance with your feet together, and hold your “sword” with your arms bent and your hands near your left hip so the “sword” extends in front of you [1]. Lunge forward with your right leg until your front thigh becomes parallel to the ground and push the “sword” forward [2]. Reverse the motion and return to the start position. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps before switching grips so you left hand is on top of the right. Now you’ll lunge with your left leg, and start on your right hip. Do 15 more reps.

The article also recommended checking out for more information.

Please note that the above pictures are in NO WAY me, they were in the above mentioned article 🙂

Seems cool huh?  I may pick up the dvd and check it out.

Belated Weekly Weigh In and Updates!

13 05 2010

Sorry that I’ve been M.I.A. its been a crazy week, I think this is the first time I’ve been home for more than 5 minutes (other than sleep of course) in days!  My brother came home for a long weekend before heading back to school, he’s in a six year pharmacy program and he goes to school all year round.  I miss the kid.

Since he was home we went out for a celebratory sushi dinner, and as much as I love sushi I ordered Udon instead (cold rainy weather makes me CRAVE soup) since it was listed under their “healthier options” menu.  They did throw some tempura in there, so I don’t know how healthy that was.  But it was tasty.

Since we had everyone home we also went out for my dad’s birthday (my family seems to be big on dining out…much to the determent of my diet).  We went to a place just over the border in Wisconsin that specializes in BBQ and Friday Fish Frys (not the healthiest options…) so I got a roast chicken with vegetables (sorry I tried to take a picture, but it turned out too dark).

To continue my trend of dining out…Saturday I was out with my friends and everyone decided they wanted to go to an all you can eat sushi bar (yes I know that makes 3 times in one week that I was at a sushi establishment) and I kept it healthy by choosing veggie rolls, sashimi, seaweed salad and edamame.  The place was actually really good, and all you can eat was only $20 for dinner.

Sunday of course was Mother’s Day which meant more dining out….my mom was craving ribs so we went to Famous Dave’s for some BBQ.  This was probably my biggest splurge for the week I had some rib tips, cajun style catfish and green beans.  It was good though 🙂

Monday I got back into the swing of things, I had a banana with some almond butter for breakfast and for lunch I made a wrap with turkey, low fat swiss and avocado-YUM!!!! I love avocado so much.  Dinner was kind of a flop, I made stir fry with the faux beef strips I bought at Trader Joe’s.  My boyfriend is pretty much a carnivore so he thought the taste of the faux beef was a little bland, so I decided to whip up a sauce to give it a bit more of  a kick (and unfortunately I went a bit overboard).  So I don’t think that I’ll be buying those strips again 😦

Tuesday was great my breakfast was super filling:  oatmeal with chia seeds and banana

For lunch my boyfriend brought home a rotisserie chicken and made a light salad that he grew up with (cucumber, tomato, onion, salt, pepper and lemon juice) it was a nice light lunch but more filling than I would of thought.  By the time dinner rolled around I wasn’t very hungry so I cut up a sweet potato and had some yummy sweet potato fries to munch on during my favorite night of TV (Glee, Lost and V…yes I’m a total geek)

Yesterday was Weigh in Wednesday and AGAIN I was nervous due to all the dining out but my results were MUCH better than I anticipated.  I only lost half a pound, BUT I lost TWO INCHES off my waistline!!!  I actually wore jeans that I haven’t worn in almost a year 🙂  And THAT is better than pounds any day of the week.

I think all the core exercises I have been doing for physical therapy have been paying off, I’ve been doing a lot of work on a swiss ball, I even sit on it while I watch tv.  That and I’ve been walking 2-5 miles per day in my Sketchers Shape Ups, and despite my earlier hesitation I think they are paying off, my boyfriend thinks my butt looks firmer and I definitely feel a difference in my legs.

So again I feel bad for being M.I.A I promise to keep more on top of things 🙂 I even downloaded mobile WordPress for my Droid.

How has your week been going?

Day 12

3 05 2010

Its hard to believe that its already been almost two weeks since I’ve started this challenge, and its amazing how much better I feel in such a short amount of time!

As I mentioned earlier, I had kind of a rough weekend, so I wanted to make up for it today by eating well and being active.

Breakfast was kind of a staple…Fiber One Honey Clusters and unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze

After breakfast I went on a 45 minute walk around my neighborhood and rocked out to the soundtrack from the Madonna episode of Glee, I probably looked silly doing my walk/dance moves but who cares!

After my walk I was famished, and it was about lunch time, so I threw this together and it was A-MAZING!!! I decided to try the pizza I found at Trader Joe’s that had less than 8g of net carbs per serving!  This one has cheese, ham and caramelized onions on a paper thin crust.  I paired it with a side salad.

Serving size was one piece, so the rest is leftovers either for my boyfriend or me later this week 🙂

After lunch I had physical therapy which I talked about earlier (my abs are STILL sore).  But even though I was sore I decided to go on…ANOTHER 45 minute walk! (I am seriously trying to atone for this weekend)

Then I did some light housework to keep me moving, but after an hour or so my abs got the best of me and I decided to sprawl out on the couch and read a book on my Kindle before making dinner.

Dinner was the highly anticipated Curry Chicken Tenders from Trader Joe’s, served on a bed of quinoa with a side salad.  And all I have to say is yumyumyumyumyumyum YUM!  I don’t think there was even a smudge of curry left on the plate by the time we were done.  My boyfriend said it was hands down the best curry he’s ever had (but don’t tell his mom), and I might have to agree.

My nice small serving of curry chicken over quinoa

A shot from above, yum!

My boyfriend's larger serving

With flash

And from the side

The chicken was pre-made, I just had to grill it, and for the quinoa I cooked it with low fat and low sodium chicken broth.  I would definitely recommend picking up this chicken at your local Trader Joe’s, this has become a new house favorite!

What are some favorite dishes in your home?

Easy Ways to Burn 100 Calories

24 04 2010

Most people are busy, but there are still plenty of easy ways to burn calories.  Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away (yes even if there is “rock star” parking available) and even a quick make-out session with your significant other can burn calories.
In addition to that here are a few other things you can do to burn off 100 or so calories.
10 Minutes

Jog around the block
Jump rope quickly
Work out to a step aerobics video
15 Minutes

Climb up and down your stairs
Swim laps
Go roller-skating
Hit some tennis balls
20 Minutes

Power walk
Shoot hoops
Basic Yardwork
Turn up the music and dance around the room
25 Minutes

Rake the lawn
Bike leisurely
Go horseback riding
30 Minutes

Throw a Frisbee around
Lift light weights
Wallpaper or paint a room
Wash your car
Sweep the floors
35 Minutes

Dust the house
Practice the piano
Set the table and prepare a meal
Clear the table and wash the pots, pans, and dishes
40 Minutes

Iron your clothes
Unload the dryer and fold the laundry
Cruise the aisles of the supermarket

This list was inspired by a few of the lists I’ve seen, I hope these everyday activities prove that you can get a little burn in your busy life.