Monday, March 31, 2008

Tip of the Day--AWKWARD

Sometimes you might feel awkward while exercising. Sometimes this deters you from doing certain exercises. Sometimes you just need to get over it.

It's like that Friends episode when Phoebe was running in the park flailing her arms and kicking up her feet. Rachel thought this was embarrassing and just jogged like a normal person while pretending she didn't know her. What she realized in the end was that it was a whole lot more fun to jog in the park like Phoebe. Plus it is a better calorie burn.

Now you don't have to make a complete ass of yourself. But if you don't feel ridiculous sometimes then you are not getting the most out of your workout. Examples? Hip thrusts (gym sex is what I call them), walking lunges, dead lifts (big booty, little booty is what Belle calls them), and push ups (struggling in front of the South Jordan Fire Department could make you feel awkward).

Get out there and forget what people think and run like Phoebe!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tip of the Day--LIFE

It is proven that for every hour of vigorous exercise you get, you can add two hours to your life expectancy. 100 years old here I come!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Following in my Footsteps

I am working out Friday morning in our gym and Belle is down there playing. I grab some dumbbells, put them on my shoulders and start doing walking lunges. She follows suit with her 3 pound dumbbells. Then it's on to squats on the smith machine. She likes to use this bar to practice her gymnastics. When I am done, it's on to the elliptical for one minute. In the meantime Belle drops one weight and decides to jump to the bar with one hand, hold on and do bicep curls. The bar is positioned about a foot over her head. How and why she does this I don't know...all I know is that I had to gloat a little and take some pictures and (sideways, sorry)video.

Amazing Transformation

BEFORE 174 pounds

AFTER 128 pounds!

Well, it is not so amazing since there was some serious hard work involved. My sister Steph has lost 46 pounds, 21 inches all over (with 8 of those from her hips!!) and changed her life. Here is what she has to say about motivation, exercise, nutrition, trials, and successes of her weight loss journey:
"When I started running/exercising it was laughable to even think about jogging for 5 minutes straight. I was doing about 2 minutes tops. I now run 40-50 minutes 6 days a week and have increased my speed from 4.5 miles/hour to 5.2 - 5.5 mph. I have also started getting up at 5am to go to the gym on days that I have to work. It's not easy to get up that early (anyone who knows me knows I am a night owl by nature) but it is easier than going after work, or trying to make it in the afternoon sometime. I actually say that out loud when the alarm goes off..."it'll be easier to get up now than to try to go later." If you had told me a year ago I'd be getting up at the butt crack of dawn to exercise I would have had you committed to the loony bin! Even now I can't believe I actually do it. Could it be I am as obsessed as my cute little sister? Who wouldda thunk?

It was really hard to stay motivated when the weight wasn't coming off "fast enough." Also staying on track with kids who are used to eating lots of sugar. This new eating style has been an adjustment for everyone, but it was especially hard on the kids. I think they have finally adjusted, and they don't seem to crave it nearly as much anymore. But the hardest part of all was at "that time of the month." That's when I wanted to eat everything in the house and then some. I had to ban myself from the kitchen. I made a mental list of activities I could do to keep me out of the kitchen and that really seemed to help. I read a lot of books!!

Doing Weight Watchers was the best idea for me. I had tried counting calories before, but I could never wrap my brain around the big numbers. With WW points system it finally made sense to me and it made it easy to keep track how much I was eating. Tracking what I ate came really easy for me. Of course, like my sister and mother I am an obsessive list maker so making a list of what I ate was no big thing. I know no one wants to hear this, but overall losing weight was fairly easy for me. It was like my body was so ready to let go of all the weight I had been carrying around for the last 10 years. It took time, and a little patience, but in the end it all paid off.

My biggest motivations are my mom and sister. Both have maintained a healthy weight and eating habits for years. Because of them I could see that it really is possible to eat this way as a lifestyle and that its not just a diet. I think that really helped with the patience part of things. Realizing that this is the way I will be eating for the rest of my life makes it easier to be patient with the weight loss part of the journey. Anytime I get frustrated or want to give up I think of them and know that I can do this too.

Another big motivator is all the compliments I get. Looking younger has been an added benefit of losing weight. Funny story: a few weeks ago I had 3 different people think I was younger than I am- and not just a little younger. I started a new job and when I told my new coworkers I had a 14 year old they all asked if I was 8 years old when I gave birth. Then I had this young (and did I mention cute) guy come into my work and flirt wildly with me (talk about motivation!). Then the very next day I went to a parent teacher conference with the above mentioned 14 year old and the counselor said if she didn't know any better she would have thought I was the sister. Whenever I want to completely pig out I remember that cute young guys do not flirt with fat girls that look like they have a 14 year old."

Way to go Steph!! You are now my inspiration and motivation (I can't let you weigh less than me...even though you do). I am so proud of you. I am so excited for you and I feel like we have SO much in common now that this makes us even closer than we were. I love running with you on family vacations (even though you kick my butt) and I like sharing exercise tips, healthy recipes, and nutrition advice. You are amazing!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tip of the Day--Lunges

The best exercise for your legs? Lunges. I know, I know, you hate lunges, but there is a reason why you hate them. Because they are so effective for toning (aka burning) your legs.

Beginner: Stationary lunge- start in a wide split stance with one leg in front of the other. While keeping your front knee over your heel bend your back knee straight down toward the ground. Press up through your front heel and repeat all reps then switch sides.

Intermediate: Reverse lunge- start with feet together and weights in hands. Step back with one foot and lunge. Return to start and lunge back with other leg. Repeat for 12-15 reps on each side.

Advanced: Lunge jumps- start in split stance, lunge down and jump right into the other side lunge. Keep this up with no stops until you have done 8-12 on each side.

Incorporate all levels of lunges into your workout routine to keep your legs 'on your toes'...pun intended!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tip of the Day--CANDY

Short and sweet...if you still have Easter candy in the house, throw it away! Throw it away right now! It is not worth the calories and Easter is over so there is no reason to have it staring you in the face anymore.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tip of the Day--WEIGHTS

The tip of the day is about lifting weights. If you don't already do it then start, if lifting is already in your workout routine try lifting heavier weights. Yup, heavy! You won't get big, you won't bulk up, and you won't become Chyna. But you will get toned, tight, and smaller over time.

Here's the real deal. You may get bigger at first and your clothes might fit a little tighter. But this is normal and okay. What happens is that you can build muscle (as long as you are lifting heavy enough) faster than you can lose fat. So, you gain muscle before the fat comes off. Which is why you get bigger at first.

The trick is to wait it out without getting discouraged. Give it 4-6 weeks of intense weight training along with cardio on most days of the week and soon you will be getting smaller. The same amount of muscle as fat is tighter, smaller, and looks a lot better. Not to mention stronger.

You should be lifting 10-15 reps (times) for 2-3 sets. By the time you get to the last rep you should almost not be able to finish it. If you can do an exercise 15 times it's time to increase the weight you lift. Unless you want to be at the gym for hours doing 20, 30, or 40 reps of an exercise at a lighter weight. It's really up to you!

If you don't push yourself who will? If you lax on your workout you are only cheating yourself. If you want results you will have to work hard for it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tip of the Day--SLEEP

Getting enough sleep is important for a number of reasons. Get less than recommended and you can nearly double your risk for type 2 diabetes. Got a big appetite? Are you sleeping 6-8 hours a night...every night? Getting just five or fewer hours of sleep per night for only one week can alter levels of appetite controlling hormones which can lead to overeating, weight gain, and diabetes. Go to bed early!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tip of the Day--EASTER

Okay, Easter is tomorrow. Are you prepared? Are you thinking about what treat you are going to splurge on and what you can pass on? Here are some popular Easter treats that are considered the 8 worst. By the way, this was copied from an article I read on

1. Peeps. A few of these fluffy, sugar-filled treats can add up quickly. Go through a row of four bunnies and you're at 130 calories. Peeps are fat-free but do weigh in heavy on the carb count--each little rabbit has 8 grams of sugar alone, adding up to 32 grams in a serving of four.

2. Jelly Beans. These can be your worst foe or your best friend in the Easter basket, depending on how many you eat. Each individual bean is pretty low in calorie count, with usually around 5 or 6 calories, but munching through a handful or worse, an entire bagful, of Jelly Bellys adds up quickly. The recommended 35-bean serving comes in at 140 calories from 37 grams of sugar. To avoid jelly-bean overdose, it's probably best to grab a handful and then keep the Easter basket out of reach.

3. Cadbury Chocolate Eggs. These eggs may look tiny, but their calorie count is anything but. A handful of 12 eggs comes with 190 calories and 8 grams of fat. You might want to skip over these high-cal eggs if you come across them on the hunt.

4. Cadbury Creme Egg. It's possibly the quintessential Easter treat, but most people won't be surprised to find out that the creamy egg packs in the calories. The 1.2-ounce egg comes with 150 calories, 5 grams of fat and 25 grams of carbs. If you're looking for an excuse to indulge, there is a slight silver lining: the tasty milk chocolate comes with 40mg of calcium, which is about 5 percent of the recommended daily value.

5. Reese's Peanut Butter Egg. This egg slightly edges out its creme-filled rival in the unhealthy Easter-egg competition. All three varieties of the Reese's egg--milk chocolate, fudge and white chocolate--have a calorie count of 180. The fat content weighs in around 10 grams, double that of the Cadbury Creme Egg, with the white-chocolate egg the worst, at 11 grams. Stick to the traditional Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, which, though it lacks the festive Easter element, has nearly half the calories of its egg-shaped relatives.

6. Lindt Chocolate Carrots. In a sea of eggs and bunnies, chocolate carrots are one of the more unusual Easter candy options--Lindt only started offering them seven years ago. Sadly, they have little nutritional value in common with their vegetable counterparts: a box of four carrot-shaped chocolates has 210 calories.

7. Hershey's Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg. This might come as the biggest surprise: one hollow Hershey's egg (4.65 ounces) has more than three times as many calories as the Cadbury Creme Egg. The shell alone has 570 calories. Start munching on the four Hershey's kisses included inside and you're up to a whooping 660 calories and 41 grams of fat. This may be one of the few Easter offerings that makes a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg look like health food.

8. Large Chocolate Bunny. Not surprisingly, the bunny reigns as king when it comes to Easter calories. But the calorie count may still raise a few eyebrows: the average seven-ounce rabbit clocks an impressive 1,050 calories. Smaller bunnies are better--rabbits of the one-ounce variety only rack up 140 calories.

Have a Happy Easter!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tip of the Day--INTERVALS

Out with the old, in with the new. It used to be that steady state cardio (any cardio activity done at a steady pace) done for 30-60 minutes was the ideal way to do your aerobic workout. Not anymore. Now intervals are all the rage. Try this workout: on any cardio machine or outside do a moderate pace for 2 minutes, take it up to a fast or hard pace for 1 minute, go back to the moderate pace for 2 minutes, then to a moderate fast pace for 2 minutes, repeat for 30-45 minutes. For example:

Start with a 3 minute warm-up

Walk at 4.0 mph 2 min.

Run at 7.0 mph 1 min.

Walk at 4.0 mph 2 min.

Run at 6.0 mph 2 min.

Repeat this 30-45 minutes then take a 3-5 minute cool-down

Don't get me wrong, steady state cardio is still important. Going slower but longer burns calories. But if you want to blast even more calories in less time then try intervals. Make sure to keep one steady state workout per week and do no more than 2 interval sessions in a week. For the other days of cardio try a new class, video, or cardio machine to switch things up.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tip of the Day--FIT

Sorry there was no tip of the day yesterday. But here is one for you today. Be active all day long. Staying fit isn't just about getting a good hour workout in 6 days a week. Staying fit is about being active all day. When you clean your house, when you go shopping, while playing with kids, even while updating your blog. You can turn these daily activities into some major calorie burners. Every time you do something, think fast. Clean fast, walk fast, play hard, stand and move around when working at the computer. Just keep your body moving....all day, every day. And don't forget the workout.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Blog

Well, I finally created a new family only blog. Now the Tough Girl blog is all about fitness, training, nutrition, successes, tips, setbacks, ideas, and other health related items. But if you still want to read about my crazy family you can at Tink and Taz.

Tip of the Day--POTATOES

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato sacks. (I'm at this level). Then try50-lb. potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

After you feel confident at that level, start putting some potatoes in the sacks.

Have a great day!

Thanks Meghan for this "tip of the day"!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tip of the Day--CALORIES

Exercise is only half the battle against the bulge. Actually it is less than half....about 20%. The other 80% is nutrition (or the lack thereof). So not only should you be exercising daily (yes! daily) you need to get the nutrition part under control.

Now you know that I am no expert on nutrition, but I have read enough about it to know the basics. First and foremost you need to calculate the amount of calories your body needs to maintain your weight. And then, if you are trying to lose weight you can deduct 500 calories per day from that amount. Oh, and you should also be eating the right things to fill your suggested daily caloric intake.

If it were that easy everyone would be fit and trim. But it's not so simple. If you are lucky enough to figure out that magic number (daily calories needed) you still need to count your calories and keep a journal, running total, or whatever works for you. There are plenty of sites online to help you figure out calories in almost ALL foods. My favorites are and At Calorie King you can figure out calories in a lot of fresh and packaged foods. Also some restaurant information is found on this site. Diet Facts has a huge array of restaurant nutrition facts. Even more than looking up individual restaurant websites.

So you are probably asking yourself, how do I figure out the magic number? This is the best site I have found for daily caloric needs: Just enter your information and try the suggested daily calorie number. It is not always cut and are going to have to play with those numbers a bit and find out what works. Easy? Nope. Worth it? Yep!

Good luck!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tip of the Day--SORE

If you haven't noticed, the "tip of the day" is my new thing. I will try to add a small fitness or nutrition related tip to the blog everyday. So here is today's tip....Make sure you are always sore after a weight training workout. This quote comes straight from Cammie, a fellow blogger and a new client, after just one workout...

"[Also], I mentioned that I was sore. But I forgot to say HOW sore. Holy crap. There are parts of my lower body that I didn't even know could hurt."

This picture is of Cammie and her sister Bethany who just started training last week. Hopefully they can be sore every time...sorry, I don't have any sympathy! I am excited for you.

This is how you should feel every time the day after a weight workout. If you are not a little (or a lot) sore you are not pushing yourself hard enough.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tip of the Day--CRUNCHES

If you do crunches/ab work on an exercise ball take note. Studies show that the placement of the ball makes a big difference in effectiveness. Do you work your abs on the ball with it closer to your shoulders or lower down on your back? The study showed the lower position was twice as effective than with it up near your shoulders. The study also proved (with electromyographic activity) that doing a stability ball crunch with the ball positioned near your shoulders was even less effective than doing a standard crunch on the floor.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Healthy Eating...

I am doin' better! Just thought I would let you all know. I've got my binging under control now...yay!! So, I decided to do what I do with my clients. I took my measurements, changed my exercise routine, and am focusing on good nutrition...with room for little errors. Because one bad day is NOT the end of the world. If I focus on the good things happening in my life it is easier to treat myself the way that I deserve. I that includes not binging or closet eating. I figured out how many calories I want to eat then zig zagged them. That just means that if I want to eat about 1750 calories daily then instead of eating the same amount day in and day out I change up the numbers while still getting the equivalent of that number for the week. It's hard to explain but this is how it goes:

Monday-1750 calories







This way my body doesn't get used to the calories consumed and start burning less. Same thing happens with exercise. You do the same exercise every day and eventually your body gets more efficient and starts burning less calories during that exercise. So with the zig zagged calorie count, 6 different workouts per week, and a new goal in site I am on the road to controlling my little problem.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Crazy Daughter

I am not sure you can see it very well in this picture but there is a huge goose egg on her forehead with scratches on it. Her face is scrunched up and ornery because she didn't want me to take a picture of it. How does this happen to a very coordinated little girl? That is what I wanted to know when she came in from playing outside (with no tears in site) this weekend. This is how the conversations goes.

"Belle, what happened to your head?"
"Oh, I just fell off the tramp"
"How did that happen?"
"I was trying a double front flip and went flying off and landed on my face on the ice blocks" (this is the hardened, jagged left over snow that surrounds part of the tramp)
"Oh! Why were you trying a double front flip on the tramp?"
"I dunno, I thought I could do it"
"Does it hurt?"
"A little bit, only when you touch it"
"Lets only try single front flips for now on, okay?"
"Oh, okay...can I go back outside to play?"

Aahh yes, this is my TOUGH GIRL. This is what I have to look forward to all of her childhood, teenage years, and probably adulthood. If she didn't remind me so much of myself I might be a little upset. But I have to admit that I am a little proud. What 5 year old thinks she can do these crazy daughter!!