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?


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.

Day 4

25 04 2010

Well today was an interesting day, I wasn’t feeling well so I slept in (and therefore missed breakfast) but once I was up my sister called and asked me to go to the mall with her.  Rushing to get ready, I fell in the shower 😦 But I decided to tough it out and go anyways.

I wore my Shape-Ups (for four hours and I didn’t feel even the faintest hint of a burn…so either I’m in better shape than I thought or these aren’t as effective as I had hoped) since they’re currently my most comfortable shoes.

For lunch we went to a place called The Picnic Basket, which is a cute little salad and sandwich shop in downtown Libertyville.  I got a turkey wrap, on the spinach wrap with lettuce, tomato, green pepper and mustard with some fruit salad on the side.

We did about 4 hours of leisurely walking through the mall (if you go by yesterday’s post that 40 minutes of shopping equals 100 calories burned then I burned roughly 500 calories at the mall…yay).

I only ate half of the wrap and about half the salad at lunch (it was really filling) so when dinnertime rolled around I didn’t want anything heavy.  I decided to use the two La Tortilla Factory wraps that I had left to make flatbread pizzas for the boyfriend and I.  This pizza ended up being compiled out of almost everything in my fridge, we’ll call it Hodgepodge Pizza.

I preheated the oven to 400 and I covered a cookie sheet with tin foil and sprayed it with cooking spray.

I placed the tortillas on the cookie sheet and brushed them with a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil…sorry my inner Rachel Ray is coming out).

Next I spread some minced basil and garlic on them.

Then I started adding toppings (feel free to add whatever you want) we had sliced mushrooms, sliced grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, crumbled turkey bacon, capers, bell peppers and seasonings.

Then I put a very thin layer of shredded low fat mozzarella cheese.

Put them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned to your personal preference.


It wasn’t bad, the boyfriend even liked it, but I think that next time I’ll work with a slightly different flavor profile :-/ and he thinks it needs a sauce, but the only thing I can think of using is a pesto because of how thin and crispy the tortillas get (I don’t think it would support the weight of a tomato sauce).  If you guys have any suggestions on how to make this work better let me know 🙂

How was your Saturday?

I’m trying to avoid the scale until Monday to give my body a little time to adjust to the new routine….I know a lot of people weigh themselves everyday, and I might once I’m in the swing of things (plus its a certain time of the month and I am BLOATED…I know I know…TMI…)

Anyways, its past my bedtime, but the boyfriend wanted to watch Avatar on BluRay (it looked spectacular!).

Night guys!

Hit or Hype?: Sketches Shape Ups

22 04 2010

Shape Ups, Fit Flops, Easy Tones all of these are types of shoes that claim to strengthen and tone your legs, thighs and glutes while you go about your daily activities.  As an overweight woman I saw these as an opportunity to get in some exercise even with my hectic schedule so I asked for a pair for Christmas.  Now, mine have only gotten minimal use because I’ve been recovery from spinal surgery and didn’t think that shoes with an uneven sole would be the best thing for my back right now.  So I have to ask you, do you think these types of shoes are a hit, delivering the promised goods, or are they hype, showing no results at all?

My mom loved the ones she tried on while Christmas shopping for me (we wear the same size) so much that she bought herself three pairs, and my dad even got a pair.  She swears that after wearing them all day her legs and glutes are sore and that she can “feel them working,”  But is that the result of the shoe or just a good healthy walk?

I will say that the few times I have worn my Shape Ups they have been probably the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  I was able to wear them out holiday shopping for a good 10 hours and my feet didn’t hurt at all.

So I ask you, are they a hit, or just hype?  Either way they are a pair of comfortable kicks.

Music to Get You Moving!

22 04 2010

I don’t know about you, but I am a die-hard Gleek (if you’re unfamiliar with the term it means someone obsessed with the show Glee).  Last night’s episode “The Power of Madonna” had me up and dancing, and I quickly pulled up iTunes to download the album (only $6.99 yay!!!) and I’ve been dancing ever since.

Granted I’m recovering from spinal fusion surgery so my “dancing” is more of me walking around my apartment, bobbing my head and moving my arms, but hey- every little bit helps right?

If you’ve checked out my Current Playlist page you’ll see that Glee songs are scattered throughout my playlist, and rightly so, all their songs are fantastic and easy to move to (the show IS about a show choir after all 🙂 ).

If you haven’t checked out Glee yet, you should.  I even got my parents hooked on the show.

Here’s a clip from last night’s episode, just to give you the general idea of what I’m dancing around too