fitness story

How to determine what workout will WORK for you…

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This is probably one of my all time favorite topics.  I love trying to help people determine what will help them get into the BEST shape of their life.  Whether you have no weight to lose and want to tone up, or lose 100lbs, you should follow a few basics in order to determine what works best for you.  Bottom line is this…if you have been doing the same program for a while now with the same results, you may need a change.

#1.  Do you put muscle on easily?  I do NOT fit into the “puts muscle on easy” club.  I have always been one of those people that even when I lift, I still look a little “softer.”  This is good and bad.  It’s good because I really didn’t “bulk up” in college when I was lifting my heaviest.  It’s bad because I have to work harder to gain muscle when I want it.  If you fall into either category you may need to alter the amount of weight you are lifting to get the results that you want.

#2.  What look am I going for? I am not in competition.  I don’t want to look like a body builder.  But, I do want to look lean and toned.  I want to look feminine, but strong.  A nice balance would be ideal.  If you know what your goals are then you will have a better idea to what you need to do to get there.  If I decided in question #1 that I put muscle on easier and I want to bulk up then lifting heavy is what I need to do.  Or if I want the more feminine and “cut” muscles then I need to lift lighter weights for higher repetition.  Now, what’s funny about that is that I am not a muscle girl.  So I can lift heavier in order to get the right amount of toned.

#3.  Cardio vs. Resistance Training?  If you have been following this blog for a while you know my stance on this.  Though I love to go out for a nice run every now and then, running, or plain cardio is NOT the best route if you are trying to cut fat and tone  your body.  It just isn’t.  Your body needs muscle to burn fat.  That is just the science of it.  Any way you slice it, to get the best out of your workouts to burn fat you MUST put on muscle.  If it weren’t the case every episode of Biggest Loser would look the same.  They would diet and get on the elliptical machine and treadmill.  You see them on the ground, moving their bodies around, and lifting things the majority of the time am I right?? Cardio isn’t the key.  Get out of your comfort zone and try something with resistance training or weights.

Let me show you a few pictures that really caught people’s eye recently.  On the left I was only running. I ran like 4 times a week for about 30 to 40 minutes.  On the right is my “after” picture where I have done mostly resistance training.  Weight lifting, yoga, and circuits have gotten me to the body on the right.  I really only do “cardio” one day a week.

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#4.  It HAS to be fun.  You don’t always have to be miserable during your workouts.  One of the biggest misconception about working out is that it’s torture.  You are in control over what workouts you do.  I get a lot of clients that tell me how much they love Zumba.  That is a great and fun workout!!!  I’ve tested out Zumba classes, however for me it just wasn’t enough.  I struggled with some of the moves and it was hard for me to get my heart rate up.  Luckily, there are other options out there if “dance” is your thing.

***The best way to cut fat is always to improve your diet, but when you are done dieting you want their to be something fabulous for everyone to see.  And that is NOT the look of loose skin.  Putting muscle on as you diet is the absolute key.

Now, here are a few programs that I recommend.  These are workouts  I have PERSONALLY tested out and loved.  These are great workouts for STRENGTH and TONING!!!!!  They will help you cut the fat!

Les Mills PUMP

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***This is basically an at-home version of “Body Pump” barbell class that is common at the gym.  If you’ve never tried a body pump class you need to get to a gym and try this out immediately.  You will be hooked.  It is an amazing way to SCULPT your body and feel strong again.  I really love that you can determine how much weight to use too.  This makes it a workout for anyone.  If you are in either group, the one that puts muscle on easy or the one that struggles, you can alter your workout accordingly.  Those muscle builders can put a light amount of weight on the bar.  Those that need to go heavier can do that too.  The main attraction to Les Mills PUMP is the “rep effect.”  You get a ton of reps in during the workout.  This is the workout that has changed my body.

Chalean Extreme

chalean-banner***I like this workout as a start up to those new to lifting weights.  The way that Chalene Johnson breaks it down into three phases is amazing.   Burn, Push & Lean are the three phases that help you get the sculpted look you are after.

 Turbofire

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***If dancing is your thing this workout combines Dance moves with kickboxing in an intense, but forget that you are working out type of atmosphere.  Another Chalene Johnson program and one of my all time favorites.

Jackie Warner DVDs

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***Two of my favorite workouts.  They are quick and effective.  The downside is that it’s not a “program” so  you are doing the same thing OVER and OVER again.  But, still a great piece to put into your collection.

If you ever have questions about what workouts will work the best for your body type just ask.  Not everyone is the same.  Not everyone LIKES the same things.  Do your research and see what is available.  Know your goals and you will be more successful!

 

Haley Signature

 

The Busy Mom’s Go-To Healthy Grocery List

 

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It’s no secret I’m busy.  I barely have time to shower.
But I have a system and I make it work.  I have my priorities.
And some days it’s not showering.  Sad, but true.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
It’s what you do with those 24 hours that are important to being successful in anything in life.
Whether it’s your health and fitness, happiness, parenting or your career.

I see it daily in my everyday life and within my fitness business world: people unwilling to invest the time, energy and money into their health.
How can they afford healthy food? How can they make time to make pancakes rather than buying frozen preservative-filled ones from the grocery store?

Now, when you think of whether or not you are “healthy” I bet you usually think of your physical health.
Am I right?
This is an important part of our well-being, but WHY do you want to be healthy?

Do you wish to be healthy in order to enjoy your life and so you can live life to it’s fullest? I sure hope so!
Because true wellness is an integration of physical, mental AND spiritual health which allows us to accept and love ourselves for who we are.
Not how we look in the mirror.  This is exactly what I work on with my clients every month in my challenge groups.

I help my clients realize the key to vitality is balancing body, mind and spirit and the fact that investing time and money NOW into a healthy lifestyle, and healthy REAL foods, will enable us to invest in our future so our quality of life will not degrade as we age.

Today, I’d like to give our readers a little glimpse into my weekly grocery list.
To show you all how we invest now in our health and our quality of life in the future.
I will share just a few of our staples and what we tend to buy weekly and almost always have in stock around Haus of Girls.
I keep a copy of this list on my husband’s phone, as well as mine, so we can pull it up and get shopping.

Family Photo 2013 Thanksgiving

And in case you were wondering…..
We are not fancy.
We don’t teach our children that food needs to be glamorous and pretty with tons of sprinkles, sauces, colors and foo-foo extras.
Food is food.  Food is not for show and excitement.  It’s not about a mascot.
It is about eating….. to nourish and heal our bodies.

And to give you a little background on where we are coming from regarding our food journey….
Almost one year ago, back in January of 2013, Steve and I sat down and had a conversation about food.
We both agreed that we were done buying pre-packaged, processed, chemical laced foods.

I had read a book titled “Why Can’t My Child Behave,” by Jane Hersey regarding the negative effects of preservatives and food additives and dyes on children and their behavior a few years prior to Steve and I’s conversation, and the information on those pages always stuck with me.
It taught me a lot about the negative effects that chemicals, dyes and preservatives in foods have on humans and how so many of our bodies simply can’t process these things.  They are linked to behavioral issues, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD and so much more.

The food colorings found in some foods, like fruit snacks for example, are red 40, yellow 5 and blue 1.
Red 40 and blue 1 were originally manufactured from coal tar, but are now mostly made from petroleum.
Those two colors have been banned previously in many European countries including Denmark, Belgium and France, though are now widely used in countries belonging to the European Union.
Despite their attention in Europe, they’ve been used in the U.S. without too much resistance.
This, my friends, is sad to me.

Yellow 5, however, is a different story. This food coloring, also know as tartrazine, has been known to cause serious allergic reactions (particularly for people who are allergic to aspirin). In 2008, the Food Standards Agency issued a warning about yellow 5 causing hyperactivity in some children. And according to board certified family physician Dr. Joel Fuhrman, yellow 5 poses risks of cancer.

Facts like these are another reason why preservatives are something we try to stay away from.
By no means are we perfect.  We are a real family with a lot going on.
And we may or may not like to indulge in Cheetos on occasion…..one of our gluten free treats.
And Steve has been knows to go hog-wild with slushies in the summer filled with Red Dye #40.

Boy do we see the effects on our girls.
They turn into these small, but powerful, hyperactive, alien-like beings with an increased amount of strength and vocal ability.
Not in a good singing kind of way, but in an intense shrieking manner that makes me want to lock them outside for a few hours.
For real. I have done this.  Locked the door and all.

Along with food dyes, preservatives in foods also cause behavioral changes, especially in young children.
According to the Archives of Disease in Children, “in a 2003 double-blind study of 1,873 children the consumption of food additives and preservatives led to significant increase in hyperactive behavior. Removing the preservatives or using a placebo didn’t lead to these behaviors, which were measured by both parental and objective reporting. The researchers coordinating the study noted that whether the children had been previously identified as hyperactive didn’t matter in terms of the effects of the preservatives and additives on their behavior.”

Interesting, huh?

So in January of 2012, we decided that instead of buying preservative filled cookies, we would make our own.
Same for waffles, granola bars and more!

Fruit snacks? Never again. We would eat REAL fruit.  What a concept for the year 2013.
I mean just because society tell you it’s ok to eat sorbitol, corn starch, mineral oil, carnauba wax, vitamins A, C, and E, and food colorings, does this mean you need to do so?

Soon after my chat with Steve we sat the girls down and had a talk with them explaining that we, as a family, would from this day forward choose a healthy lifestyle filled with “food from the Earth.”  Not from packages.

 

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It went much smoother than we thought and we have never looked back since.
We have even overheard them saying things like, “is this from the Earth?” about certain foods to each other.
The best.

Now, a lot has happened at Haus of Girls since January with the diagnosis of Celiac disease and gluten is now a thing of the past as well.
But I will get into that story another day……

Today I just want to share some of my staples and it’s my hope that this will help you when deciding how to shop for your family.
It may not seem easy at first, but I assure you the concept is simple.
Buy real food.  The less food in packages, the better.

Here we go!

Haus of Girls Typical Grocery List:

Veggies: avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, kale, spinach, salsa (all natural FRESH), baby carrots, shaved brussels sprouts, celery

Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges/cuties, blueberries, lemons, limes, grapes, pineapple (watermelon and strawberries in summer) dates, pears, frozen blueberries for smoothies,

Nuts: raw whole almonds, raw sunflower seeds unsalted, unsweetened coconut, raw almond butter, all natural peanut butter, sunflower seed butter

Starches: gluten free brown rice, gluten free rolled oats, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, all natural popcorn, rice cakes, chia seeds,

Proteins: pasture raised eggs, no nitrate all natural bacon, antibiotic and hormone free fresh chicken breast, ground beef and turkey

Others: no sugar added almond milk (contains twice the amount of calcium than cow’s milk!) Kerry Gold butter, full-fat coconut milk, coconut milk coffee creamer, coconut milk yogurt, almond milk yogurt, stevia extract liquid, vanilla extract, Kombucha tea drinks, olive oil, coconut oil, Apple Cider Vinegar,

Bonus items: gluten free pretzels and gluten free Chex cereal to add in trail mixes I make on occasion and chocolate chips.  I also love dark chocolate with sea salt and red wine. And Steve is known for his Cheetos buying skills……

These are just a few of our weekly faves.
Yes we add in new things and don’t always buy these items. No we are not perfect.
We are just two parents trying to do the right thing for our girls.
We don’t want to have any regrets about what we could have done better when it comes to their health.

I hope this list helps you in some way!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment as I’m always here and happy to help.

Try stocking your home with whole foods and minimize the food dyes and preservatives so your family can be as healthy and happy as possible.
Currently at Haus of Girls, we are limiting dairy products, as you can tell by our list, as I am in the process of determining if dairy is what keeps triggering my bloating and some other symptoms, as well as our youngest Gracie’s itchy skin.

We as a family removed gluten this past May and I can’t tell you the changes I’ve had personally.
I will be sharing our journey regarding Celiac and gluten with you all very soon!
If I can help just one person and prevent them from going through what I went through, then I will be so happy.

Signature Marta

 

Motivation Monday 30 Day Challenges

Happy Veteran’s Day fit friends.  So glad you stopped by to visit today and check out what is motivating us at the Four Fit Sisters site.  As many of you know, the four of us sisters enjoy the opportunity to share what we have learned in our 25+  years in regards to health and fitness, motherhood, teaching, and life in general.  We do not pretend to be experts in anything other than our educated fields of interest, and enjoy the opportunity to share what life has taught us through the hands we have been dealt and the experiences we have had.  Whether we are talking about organizing a home, Celiac Disease, our new favorite workouts, or sharing personal life stories, we are thankful for your interest and appreciate the feedback and kind words that are left through comments and emails.

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Outside of sharing what life has taught us, we also enjoy taking the time to help others find their way through the often lonely battle with getting fit and healthy.  For some, getting healthier means losing weight, and for others, getting stronger or more active, and some just needing education about what foods are most beneficial to their body; everyone has their own set of specific goals.  We are excited to find ways to help anyone with whatever goals they have set for themselves – and we have found success in the 30 Day Challenge setting.  I wanted to take time today to explain exactly what we do during our challenges, and what we think has made our challengers so successful.

First, challengers are invited into a private Facebook support group.  I think this is a key component in the success of challengers.  They are not alone in the journey.  They are working with 5 – 12 other people who are working towards like goals and are fighting through the same path.  Some people can find success without a challenge setting.  Especially if they have a spouse or close friend or family member that is accompanying or supporting them on their journey.  We are able to reproduce this advantage through a private setting, and find members to create a safe and supportive system for success.

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I can’t say enough about accountability.  This is the next big success driver.  During our challenges, we create opportunities for daily check-ins and interactions to keep our members engaged and accountable.  Small, yet simple tasks that keep the members sharing, active and on task for 30 days straight.  They say it takes 21 days to create a habit – it isn’t easy to keep people engaged for 30 days straight, but we work hard to keep the members motivated and inspired during our time together, so that they leave us with the knowledge and confidence to know that they can continue their new healthier habits long after our 30 days are over.

Accountability

Next, I have found requiring challengers to take before and after pictures and their measurements some of the most influential aspects of the challenge.  You would be surprised at the shock and awe when our challengers are able to see a side-by-side shot of themselves and truly appreciate the changes that their bodies have started to make in just 30 days.  Many of my challengers are horrified at the though of taking a picture of themselves in their “before” state – which is sad, but true.  I think this step is an honest piece that has to happen in order to find success.  If you begin your journey without a real evaluation of where you are starting, it is hard to move forward with 100% honesty.  It is humbling and a reality check for most challengers, and for ME, the number one motivator for success.  Knowing that there was a before shot of me lying around was so inspiring.  I knew I was going to put 110% effort into making real changes so that when I stood to take my afters that I would have something to be very proud of.

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Lastly, a combination of nutrition and movement is critical for success in our challenges.  We work hard to help our challengers truly understand what it takes to create a deficit in their calorie intake and find a way to manage their food and exercise together to make changes in a healthy way – no starving yourself or working out for 2 hours a day.  I truly believe that if weightloss is the goal, your success is 70% due to the foods you are eating and 30% due to the exercise habits you are introducing.  Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t outrun your fork”.  So true.  You can workout really hard, and see little results if the food isn’t right.  We work hard on healthy meal planning, and guide our challengers to find ways to eat healthy and whole foods that keep them full and satisfied throughout their days with us, and hopefully inspire lifelong changes moving forward once the challenge setting is done.

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We are so excited each month to hold challenges for people that are interested and ready to make changes in their life.  The challengers are inspiration to us and are a huge reason that we are able to keep motivated and keeping up with our own healthy choices.  Everyone knows how the beginning of a new year allows for people to start fresh and set new goals for themselves.  We would love for you to keep us in mind for your New Years Resolution if health and fitness is a place where you struggle.  We would love to support you with a system that has proven to be successful for others just like you.  If you have the desire within you, we can help you meet your goals in a healthy and fun way through our 30 day challenge setting. 

Email us at fourfitsisters@gmail.com for info on any of our 30 day challenges – not limited just to New Years!  Or visit our individual Facebook pages to see when new challenge opportunities become available. 

This eCard made me laugh so hard:

New Years

Thanks for visiting today. We hope your week is off to a great start.  Enjoy your Monday!

Signature Adie