Self Care, Putting yourself first….

The struggle for me is real on this one.  It feels like there’s never enough time for the things I want to do.  Now before I continue, let me just say that I know that being a mom is a full time, all the time job.  My family means the world to me.  BUT sometimes this mom and wife needs a break.  I have been a stay at home mom now for two years and I’ve spent most of these two years trying to figure out “what am I going to do?”  I’ve realized that what I need to do is find something for me!  I had been taking metaphysical classes (that’s what we’ll call them…) from October 2014 thru June 2016, these were weekly classes and they were something very special to me.  I created great connections with these people and they continue today.  However now these classes have gone to a once a month meeting, which just isn’t the same.  I need to find something to replace this.  Maybe it’s teaching the classes myself, maybe it’s honing some of the skills I’ve learned over the past two years, maybe it’s something all new or it’s a little bit of all of that!
I’ve also put my health on the back burner again.  I was working so hard on implementing a workout regime and eating healthier.  It was too much all at once.  I set myself up to fail and fail I did.  As I wrote in my last blog post, the kids are at school and I essentially have Monday thru Friday from 10-2 to do things-whether it’s office work for my husbands business or house management or just me time.  I’m a schedule maker, a list maker – it’s how I thrive.  So I’m working on finding a balance with all of these things instead of trying to do things at once.  I have been meal planning and doing my grocery shopping for just what’s on the meal plan (every Monday!).  I need to refine my shopping skills (no junk!) and really need to add back in some exercise.  Baby steps…it’ll happen.
So as one of the first things I’ve decided to do for myself in the “New Year” that began on Tuesday, is posting every Friday on my blog.  Honestly you can probably expect most posts to be just like this one.  A rambling mess of what’s happening right now in my crowded head.  If that’s good with you then I look forward to seeing you next week!
Until next Friday….remember…

Does Muscle Soreness Mean You Had a Good Workout?

The question: I went to the gym yesterday and now I have sore muscles. That means I had a great workout, right?

The expert: Josh Feldman, a certified personal trainer and fitness manager at Crunch Fitness in New York City

The answer: Not really. While working your muscles until they’re achy means you technically did tax your muscles, which helps them get stronger, it’s actually not beneficial work in the long run.

The reason? Pushing it to the max one day means you’re going to be too sore to hit the gym the next day, or the day after that. And that’s a serious issue, because consistency is the ultimate goal here. “It’s way more important to be able to exercise every day or every other day than to just kill it one day and not be able to move for four or five days after that,” explains Feldman.

In other words, it all comes down to the basic fact that moving more often is better for you than going all gung-ho for a bit, and then proceeding to kick it on the couch while muttering all sorts of FML, dear-muscles-I-hate-you lines. “You can’t just say, ‘I went hard a few days ago so I’ve done my time for the week,’ because your muscles don’t operate like that. They respond better when they’re being constantly worked—that prevents them from becoming weak and inactive,” Feldman continues.

So how can you tell when you’re about to overdo it? Well, if you start shaking or twitching during your reps, that’s a sure sign that you’re going to feel it big time tomorrow—so do yourself a favor and step awaaay from the weights. But even something as simple as feeling more tired halfway through your second set than you did at the end of the first means it’s time to stop, too.

Your sore-muscle Rx, then, is this: As soon as you start feeling noticeably exhausted, end the session. “That way, you’ll be able to come back the next day or the day after and therefore keep the muscles moving more consistently overall,” concludes Feldman.


Women’s Health Magazine

3 Ways to Train Harder on a Treadmill


It might be best known as a warm-up, a cool down, or a last resort when all of the ellipticals are taken, but thetreadmill is making a comeback: In fact, the machines account for nearly 60 percent of annual home fitness equipment sales, according to the most recent data from the National Sporting Goods Association. And a few trendy gyms are getting in on the action with group treadmill classes like Tread and Shred at Equinox and Tread Bootcamp at Crunch Gyms.

Here’s why you might want to give this throwback another go: Treadmills allow you to customize your workout, speed, and terrain in a way that just isn’t possible on a trail, says Jessica Matthews, M.S. an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). With a few buttons you can switch it up and challenge your body in new ways—which makes it an essential tool for staying fit. What’s more, treadmills tend to calculate the number of calories you burn with more precision than other machines like the elliptical, says Matthews. To see those numbers soar, check out Matthews’s tricks for dominating your next treadmill workout:

Shake Up Your Warm-Up
A standard treadmill warm-up lasts five minutes. The thing is, walking briskly can get boring fast. To challenge yourself from the get-go, open up your hips, and (bonus!) target your inner thigh muscles, alternate between walking forward, backward, and sideways.
Try it: For a five-minute warm-up, begin walking at a very low speed (1.5 to 2 miles per hour) and alternate between walking forward, walking backward, and walking sideways, switching your lead leg each time. Do each variation for 30 seconds to one minute. Then repeat the sequence three to four times.

Opt for Intervals
If you just jog at a steady pace without an incline, you’re not going to see huge results—even if you stick with it for an hour. A better bet: Interval training. “It provides a time-efficient, highly-effective workout experience, enabling people to burn more calories in less time,” says Matthews. You can do this by either changing the speed or the incline during different segments of your workout. (Note: Beginners should adjust only one variable at a time.)
Try it: For a 15-minute workout, first warm up at a brisk pace (about 4 mph) for five minutes. Then, increase your speed to about 6 mph (or faster, if you’re comfortable) for 20 seconds. Next, reduce the speed to 4.5 mph for 40 seconds, and continue to alternate between fast and slow intervals for a total of five minutes before you cool down for five minutes.

Head for the Hills
You can fake a hilly hiking trip with a simple treadmill trick: Just tweak the incline. The best part: You’ll strengthen and sculpt your lower body while boosting your calorie burn, says Matthews.
Try it: Complete a five-minute warm-up at 4 mph a two-percent incline. Then, increase the speed until you’re jogging at about 5 mph at an incline of four percent for a full minute. Next, add a two-percent incline every minute until you’re at the max—usually 10 percent. Then, reduce the incline by two percent every minute until you’re back to a two-percent incline. Reduce your speed to 3.5 mph and cool down for three minutes. 

The On-the-Go Cardio Workout

A workout that builds muscle and counts as cardio? That’s serious multitasking. One that blasts calories and increases strength using just your body weight? That’s seriously genius. Rev your heart rate and your hot-body results with this 24-minute no-equipment workout created by Brynn Jinnett, founder of Refine Method. Perform the following four exercises in order as prescribed. Complete four total rounds.


Squat Jump
Squat Jump
Kagan McLeod

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then bend your knees to lower your body into a squat (a). Pressing through your heels, straighten your legs as you jump off the floor (b). Land softly and immediately lower into another rep, and continue for 30 seconds. Rest 15 seconds, then continue to the next move.

Quick Tip: Make it easier by skipping the jump every other rep (and just performing a regular squat)

MOVE 2Bear Crawl
Bear Crawl
Kagan McLeod

Start on all fours, back flat and core tight, then slightly lift your hips to raise your knees off the floor. Walk your right hand and left foot forward, then your left hand and right foot; continue crawling forward quickly for 30 seconds, then rest 15 seconds. Repeat the pattern, crawling backward, then move on to the next exercise.

MOVE 3Clock Lunge
Clock Lunge

Kagan McLeod

Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge (a). Return to start, then step to the right and lower into a side lunge, keeping your left leg straight (b). Return to start, then step your right foot back and lower into a reverse lunge (c). Return to start. That’s one rep. Repeat for 40 seconds; switch sides and repeat, then rest 15 seconds before continuing to the next exercise.

MOVE 4Inchworm with Pushup
Inchworm with Pushup
Kagan McLeod

Place your hands on the floor in front of you, legs straight (a); walk out so your body forms a straight line (b), then complete a pushup (c); slowly step your feet toward your hands, legs straight. Stand; that’s one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds; rest for 15 seconds, then return to the first exercise.

Quick Tip: Make it harder by adding an X-jump (dip into a half-squat, then jump into the air and make an X with your arms and legs) before every rep.


Women’s Health Magazine

Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up

Studies show that some yoga poses reduce fatigue and adjust the hormone cortisol—too little of which can zap your energy. “This sequence engages your core and energizes your system from the inside out,” says Women’s Health yoga expert Tara Stiles. The poses also require balance, which sharpens your focus, as well as lots of deep breaths, which increase your oxygen intake to help you feel more alert.

Do each of these moves in order, holding the poses for 10 deep breaths. Repeat the sequence on the other side, and continue alternating until you’ve done the routine three times on each side.

Modified Down-Dog Split
Start in a pushup position, lift your hips, and move into downwardfacing dog. Take five breaths. Raise your right heel toward the ceiling as high as you can, then slowly lower your left forearm to the floor. Keep both palms flat on the floor. 

Warrior 3
Straighten your left arm and put your right foot between your hands. Shift your weight onto your right foot as you raise your left leg. At the same time, raise your torso until it is parallel to the floor and reach your arms forward. 

Modified Half-Moon Arch
Place hands on the floor beneath your shoulders. Rotate your hips to the left and raise your left arm toward the ceiling. Bend your left knee back, and reach your left hand behind you to hold your foot. 

From half-moon arch, turn your hips and shoulders back toward the floor, then use your core muscles to roll your body up to standing. Place the sole of your left foot on your right inner thigh. Lift your arms straight up above your shoulders.

Women’s Health Magazine