healthy living

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

 

Holiday Hangover

Do you have a “holiday hangover” like us?  It is the BEST and WORST type of hangover.  It is the feeling of enjoying the holidays a little too much.  I’m not sad about it.  I was probably better than 90% of the average population.  But, it is now time to get back at it in the fitness world.  Here is a quick recap as to what the FourFitSisters have been up to!

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Christmas card shenanigans.  Don’t worry…our Christmas cards didn’t come in time.  So I guess we really were taking “New Year’s” photos here.  My hubby came home with these outfits for us.  At first I was not sure…but after seeing them on I was pretty pleased.  He is totally a Vineyard Vines kind of guy.  I am way more of a Nike kind of gal.  Getting dressed up is not always my thing.  But, these worked out well.

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It was MY turn to host Christmas.  To say I was excited was a total understatement.  As the only sister not in STL we are usually the ones traveling the most to see family.  And it was so nice to be able to stay home and host this year!  We had the house all decorated.  Which usually always come close to ending in divorce.  It actually went pretty smooth this year.

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“Christmas” morning looked like this…

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The kiddos couldn’t wait to dig into their presents.  They had them nicely set in piles before breakfast had even been served!!!!!

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A little cousin love on the stairs.

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And some happy gluten free pancake muffin eaters.  I just bought gluten free pancake mix, and mixed according to the directions.  Instead of sitting in front of the stove all morning I made them the day before.  They cooked in mini muffin tins for 20 minutes.  The next morning we just popped them in the microwave.  They were great for dipping.  I even tossed in some chocolate chips for the kiddos.  The adults enjoyed some breakfast casserole. YUM

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Even the elves got in on all the fun.  They aren’t normally all in the same house together.  They were having a blast in their snowball fight.  I think Clyde lost.

After hosting “early Christmas” at our house we all headed our directions for the Holidays.  We enjoyed torturing our son on Christmas morning.  That face could NOT be faked…he was just as annoyed as Ralphy when asked to try on his pink bunny suit.

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We got a good laugh…and even had our matching pajamas.  Yep, we were that family this year.

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Of course…my main request for gifts were fitness related.  I got a new piece of fitness equipment from Marta, and some new tennies from the hubby.  If you remember these from our favorite things post.  These are the shoes that I put on that list.  He was a good husband and must have read the blog that day.

 

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Things have been crazy over at Four Fit Sisters.  All of the sisters are getting ready to start up their first challenge of the new year.  I hope that you got in.  Also, Maggie is doing an amazing giveaway.  She is giving away a $120 month supply of Shakeology.  Enter as many times as you want.  The details can be found on her facebook page here.

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Good Luck.  Can’t wait to get back into the swing of blogging and back into our normal routine.  We have missed you.

 

 

What the Paleo?!?

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Tis the season for resolutions. Adie wrote about some resolutions HERE. But I wanted to talk about one in particular that I’ve tried (along with my husband) that absolutely changed my life: changing my eating habits to paleo.
Adopting a paleo lifestyle was very hard work in the beginning. When you are used to eating every “food group” under the sun,it seems a first that you are being deprived…
until I looked up paleo recipes on Pinterest!!! You can make ANYTHING into a paleo dish. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Yes, it takes more prep, and yes it can be more expensive, but aren’t you and your loved ones worth it? Would I rather spend tons of money a year on medical bills and drugs, or take preventative steps by spending a little more money on food and supplements that will keep disease away and heal your gut? I know which one I would pick (and HAVE picked). Food is medicine.

For those of you who may not know what a paleo diet is all about, here is the gist: plants, nuts, and meats. Yep, that’s it! No processed foods like sugar, grains, or dairy, and no legumes. Some of you are already saying “No way,” or “I’m out! I can’t survive without my cheese.” And to tell you the truth, I was the same way! But do your research and hear me out. There are so many resources you can use to make it feel like you are not being deprived ONE BIT! In fact, the alternatives you use to replace the processed foods are so great for you that there is REALLY zero guilt when “treating” yourself to a paleo chocolate cupcake or almond butter and chocolate truffle. :)

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When I first began the lifestyle change, I did as much research as possible. I read books and looked up websites. Educating yourself on WHY this is a good decision is just as important as the decision itself. My favorite website is by Julie Bauer over a paleOMG.com. Please visit ASAP! As soon as you scroll through and see the yummy foods she prepares, you will see how possible this is for you!

 

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Now here is how it changed my life: I was sick for years and didn’t even know it. In fact, most of our society is sick in some way. Processed sugar, grains, and dairy feed the bad bacteria in our gut and cause overgrowth. This overgrowth damages our gut and allows toxins to get into our bodies through the blood stream (leaky gut).  This overgrowth and imbalance in the body leads to an endless list of issues.  Many issues we think are just part of who we are:  joint pain, acne, digestive issues, head aches…

But the truth is, we can change those symptoms forever.  That’s what they are:  SYMPTOMS.  Symptoms flaring up in your body because of imbalance, bad bacteria, and toxins taking over.  Our body doesn’t know how to process processed-foods and gets chronically inflamed when putting them into our body day after day, meal after meal.

If you are not willing to put in the time and effort to prepare for this change, then this is not for you.  It does take work and getting used to, but it does get easier.  If my rural in-laws from a town of 500 people, no health food stores, no book stores, no NOTHING, can do it, so can you!  (My father in law lost 30 pounds in 4 months by JUST changing the way he eats.)

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This won’t work if you are a family who asks “What’s for dinner” every night at 5 o’clock.  You must PREP with meal plans and grocery lists to be successful and stay on track.  Not to mention most of the food is NOT your average household items that are already in your pantry and fridge.  It’s WHOLE FOODS that are fresh, new, different, interesting, and WILL go badif you don’t eat them soon after buying it. That’s a good thing!

I’m not saying that I am a “strict” paleo.  Especially during pregnancy I’ve eaten my fair share of GF pretzels and bland, starchy foods.  But what always brings me back to the paleo way of life is how WELL I feel, how FIT I feel, and the changes I’ve seen in my mood, body, and health while following this lifestyle.

I encourage you to open up your mind and try this paleo lifestyle. You are worth the extra time and money and you will feel 100% better about yourself.  I promise!

If you want more information or want to join my “Heal Your Gut” challenge starting Jan 6, to help kickstart your paleo adventure and heal that LEAKY gut of yours, please email me at mviefhaus@gmail.com.

If you’ve ever tried the paleo lifestyle, I would LOVE to hear what you think!  Leave a comment below.

Signature Maggie