4 Reasons You Should do Pull Ups

Great curves can be achieved with pull-ups
Great curves can be achieved with pull-ups

Pull-ups. You may dread them, but they’re great at helping your arms, back, and core look fantastic. Find out exactly how to do a pull-up and how you can get better at doing them.

What exactly is a pull-up?
A pull-up is a “compound” exercise that involves a large number of big and small muscles, most notably your latissimus dorsi (lats) and biceps. In addition to working multiple muscles at the same time, the pull-up is also a multi-joint movement, an exercise that causes more than one joint to move. During a pull-up, your wrists, elbows, and shoulder angles all change.

How do I do a pull-up?
You should use a pronated (overhand) grip. (An underhand grip = supinated = chin-up). The first part of the movement calls for scapular retraction. This is a fancy term for what it means to draw your shoulder blades together and down.

To do this, imagine someone’s hand in the middle of your back. Try to pinch that hand with your shoulder blades. You can practice this while standing freely or by hanging from your pull-up bar and bringing those shoulder blades in. This movement engages your lats, the large set of muscles in your back, that are critical supporting muscles.

After you retract your scapulas, you want to pull your body upward toward the bar. This requires flexion of the elbow joint, or the bending of your arms. In order to flex the elbow joint, the biceps and supporting arm and back muscles are called into action.

Finally, you need to lower yourself back to where you began. For this, your triceps and shoulders kick into gear. And let’s not forget the grip strength needed just to hold onto the bar.

What if I can’t do a pull-up?
There are modifications that you can use to pull yourself up to that bar. A great way to modify the pull-up is by using an aid like the Beachbody Chin-Up Max, which allows you to offset your body weight during the pull-up. The Chin-Up Max has adjustable resistance levels, so the stronger you get, the less assistance you’ll need.

You can also use a chair to assist you. Simply place the chair underneath the pull-up bar and place your foot (or both feet to make it easier) on the chair. By applying weight to the chair, you’re relieving some resistance to complete the pull-up.

4 Reasons You Should Do Pull-Ups

1. Functional Strength: As humans, we perform a wide range of movements on a daily basis, including standing, walking, pushing, pulling, twisting, turning, etc. By improving your functional strength through dynamic compound exercises like pull-ups, you strengthen the relationship between your nervous and muscular systems.

2. Posture Improvement: As you strengthen your back and core muscles, you can achieve better posture. When your posture improves, you appear longer and leaner.

3. Back Pain Alleviation: A lot of people sit on the drive to work, sit in front of a computer all day, and then sit driving home. You might even sit on the couch once you’re home. All of this cumulative sitting increases the physiological load on your back. By strengthening your back and core muscles with the pull-up, you reduce your chances of future pain and injury.

4. Better Looking Physique: Want to look great in that tank top? Pull-ups help define your back and biceps and work your core. All of this makes your waist look smaller. For guys, it can also help create the “V” shape.

Source:  Team Beachbody Blog

For questions or to consider joining a challenge group for support, motivation, tips and accountability, contact me HERE!

Don’t tell yourself the BS Story

The BS our mind tells us
The BS our mind tells us

It is time to think about the constant excuses we make and the lies that we tell ourself!

The support, motivation, simple nutrition and planning instructions, complete full body conditioning program in only 30 minutes per day, and daily coaching provided by one of my challenge groups really leaves NO excuses why you cannot reach your health and fitness goals! 👍

More often than not, it is that little voice inside that tells us we cannot do it …’I might fail…’, ‘…I am not worth it…’ , ‘there is no way to do it since I am an emotional eater’,  ‘… I have no time…’ … and the list goes on!

The excuses also go on and on!!. like…. ‘I’ll wait until the summer’… Or ‘maybe next year would be a better time to start’, or ‘maybe when my kids get older’, or ‘maybe when hockey is over’, or… ‘maybe when I am less busy’ …I have heard them all… And in fact I’ve used all of these excuses myself!  Some people might say these are not excuses, but in fact they are! If our priorities shift and we truly put our health in the centre of importance, we can always find a way to do what needs to be done! 😊

It wasn’t until I put my health and fitness FIRST on the priority list, that I was able to make time to develop the health and fitness I wanted.  Now, as a result of this… I am a much better mom, grandma, friend, partner, sister, aunt, co-worker etc…  It not only makes you stronger in body and more energy, but also makes you stronger emotionally, happier, more patient, more tolerant and a better person to be around!! 🙂

There is a new challenge group coming up that incorporates all of the coaching and support above. If you are at a place where you now realize you need to look after yourself first to be the best self you can be for your family, friends, co-workers, and for yourself…contact me or enter in a comment on this post.  Lets DO THIS!!!

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Clean Turkey Chili Recipe

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.08.31 PMThis chili is very delicious and filling!!

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can black beans or kidney beans or both! (be sure to rinse well to remove extra salt)
  • 1 can plain tomato sauce or puree your own whole tomatoes (2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried
  • 1 tsp sage (optional depending on taste)

Directions

  • heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add turkey, onion, peppers and garlic (or to avoid oil, you can cook with water)
  • cook, until turkey is no longer pink
  • add spices and cook for 1 minute
  • add beans and tomato sauce and bring to a boil
  • reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes

ENJOY!!  This chili will give you energy for hours and is great nutrition to build and maintain muscles! 🙂

 

Mondays are NOT awesome, are they?

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.35.19 PM

I am happy that it is Monday today 😊. What? Happy that it’s Monday?

Mondays to me signify new beginnings, fresh start, beginning of new plans and I tell myself ” ok, it’s time to hit the new week with some new energy!”

Mondays can seem overwhelming when thinking of the week head, but remember, you can also see it as a clean slate.  It is a good time to make new goals and learn from last week’s mistakes.  Take advantage of the extra energy you (hopefully) saved from the weekend and use it towards making your fresh start the best it can be.

Many people, including me, use the weekend to restock the house with fresh foods, get the laundry done and feel well-prepared for the upcoming week!  I use time on Sunday to prepare healthy food and figure out on paper how my week will play out.  I figure out what workouts I will do, cook the primary proteins for our meals…to be prepared.  This helps me to start the week excited and on a more positive note.

How do you feel about Mondays? Do you see them is a pain in the butt, or do you picture Mondays as potential for something new… an impetus for a new goal… maybe some fabulous new idea that you want to implement?

Yes, I know Mondays typically have a bad rap… In the sense that we hear the old complaints.  “..oh here we go again start of a long week”  …” oh my gosh I still have five more days to go before the end of the week…”  …”Its Monday…” (with a droopy face) is the common response to a “Good morning, how are you this morning?”    But… if you think about these complaints, it is truly a negative way to start your week.

Mondays really do have the potential to be the most awesome day of the week for many reasons.  What are some ideas that you have about how to start Mondays in a positive way?   How can you help others to feel more positive on Mondays?

I hope you do have a great day and a positive week… And I look forward to hearing your creative ideas about how to make yours and others’ Mondays awesome in the comments below!! 🙂

How to Stay Motivated for your 2016 Goals

 Don’t be one of the 92% of people who gives up on their goals and resolutions within 3-4 weeks of setting them!


 

The best way to stay motivated is to have the drive deep inside of you and keep it passionate and fired up!

How do you stay motivated and inspired? How can you keep your passion, your excitement, fired up? By reviewing these self-motivators on a regular basis:

1. Truly GET SERIOUS about what you want!

Make a decision to go all the way to your goal this time. Up to now, you’ve only thought about it. Up to now, it’s passed your mind. But now make up your mind to go all the way to the top, and your life will take off. It’s the most extraordinary thing and our minds are so powerful!

Get serious. Don’t fool around anymore.

2. Know what is limiting you!

What is it that is limiting you? What’s the one lack of skill that’s holding you back? What quality are you lacking in? What do you need to do to fix it?   …Ask other people. Find out what you need to become good at.  What is it that could be keeping you stuck?  What is limiting you from achieving your goals and sticking with it?  This may be hard to figure out, but if you take time to think about it, you may discover what it is!  …and then you can do something about it!   ….Take a course, implement contents from a good self-improvement book or podcast, work on your self-love a bit 🙂

3. Get around the right people.

Who are the right people?  Get around people who are positive and who have goals and plans, people who are going somewhere with their lives and have high aspirations. If you want to fly with the eagles, then you gotta get off the ground and stop scratching with the chickens!

And, for heaven’s sake, get away from negative people!!  Get away from toxic people that complain and whine and moan all the time. Who needs them? Life is too short.

4. Take good care of yourself.

Take excellent care of your health. That means good diet, good exercise. Everybody knows they should eat better foods, work out regularly and get lots of rest. If you’re going to work hard five days a week, go to bed early five days a week.

5. Imagine yourself in a positive way

Visualize yourself as the very best in whatever you do—continually. Remember, all improvement in your life begins with an improvement in your mental pictures.

6. Be GOOD to yourself

Control your inner self-talk and practice positive self-talk…  How? Say, “I truly am the best.” Say it. Say, “I love myself,” “I can totally do anything I set my mind to,” “I love what I do for a living.” If you say those things to yourself and you don’t believe them, isn’t that lying to yourself? No, that’s not lying to yourself—it’s telling the truth in advance. Because it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from—all that matters is where you’re going.

Talk to yourself the way you want to be, not the way you just happen to be at this moment. Remember, you may have gotten where you are today largely by accident. But where you’re going in the future is purely by design.

7. OK LETS MOVE!

Move fast. A sense of urgency is the one thing you can develop that will separate you from everyone else. Lean towards an attitude of ACTION! When you get a good idea, do it right away!

And the faster you move, the better you get. And the better you get, the more you like yourself. And the more you like yourself, the higher your self-esteem is. And the higher your self-esteem is, the greater your self-discipline is. And the more you persist, then you will become totally UNSTOPPABLE!

 

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12 Small Changes to see Big Results in your Health

These changes apply to everyone whether you are close to your goal weight and want to drop those last 5-10 pounds, or whether you are just getting started on a new health Journey…!

If you want to see big improvements in your health, try implementing small changes and keep them in place for the long term.  You may be surprised what you see as a result!

QUOTE

  1.  Replace all white and enriched products with whole grains, avoid sugary snacks and foods….  White and enriched products are processed, have had all nutrition stripped from them, and have a high glycemic index.  This means they make your blood sugar peak too fast causing fat to accumulate in the body.
  2. Change all soda (yes, even diet!)  or pre-bottled drinks for water or green tea and save a ton of calories each day.   Artificial ingredients, flavors, sugars all affect our body’s metabolism and hormone balance.  Avoid them!  Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water each day.  Example 150 pound person needs 75 oz water each day.
  3. As you achieve benchmarks and goals along the way in life, reward yourself with clothing or fitness clothes or equipment instead of FOOD!
  4. Increase your vegetable intake daily and fill your plate in a healthy way (more clean proteins and veggies).  When our bodies are well fed with nutritious food, our body will be healthier, more satisfied and be willing to let go of those fat stores!  It is recommended to have 5-6 small meals per day since our bodies break down small frequent meals more efficiently than the old way of having 3 larger meals per day.
  5. Aim for 10,000 steps per day.  (try using a pedometer or fitbit…its fun!)…Especially if you have a sedentary job, take frequent exercise breaks or go for a walk on your lunch break.
  6. Use healthier fats…for example, use olive oil instead of butter!  Also when making a sandwich, use avocado instead of butter or mayo.
  7. Sign up for an event or some kind of competition to keep yourself motivated to train or be in shape for.   Make your training a social event…get together with friends to exercise instead of eat!
  8. When it comes to condiments, have mustard, hot sauce or salsa instead of ketchup, mayo and sour cream!
  9. Eat SLOWLY…it takes your body 20 minutes to signal your brain that you are full!
  10. Be sure to get adequate sleep (see blog post www.athleticgrandma.com/  )
  11. Take the Stairs instead of the elevator and park further from the doorway of the mall, doctors office and workplace.
  12. If you are watching TV or a movie, do pushups, crunches, squats or stretches during commercials or breaks.  Walk on the treadmill while watching your favorite show.  Work at being generally more active in your life with less sitting time.

For questions or to participate in free health challenges, Contact Me

9 Tips for Goal Achievement

‘One person with a commitment is worth a hundred who only have an interest.’                                                                                                                    Zig Ziglar

When a person takes the time to plan carefully, you will be more likely to have success with your effort. While its true that we may not fully meet every expectation we have of ourselves, we can give ourselves a better chance by implementing the tips below. Its important to recognize the exceptional qualities within ourselves that we often forget or fail to see.

These tips hold true no matter what your goals are:
Taking some courses, advancing in the workplace, weight loss, financial freedom, saving money for something special, running 10 km, training for a triathlon and completing it, building muscles, spending more time with family and friends… You will have a higher chance of achieving that goal if you plan and prepare properly for it…and be happy doing it!

See the 9 tips below to get into the right frame of mind to plan and prepare for 2016 goals!

1. Made a decision and a commitment

Its critical to make up your mind and make clear decisions about what your goals will be.  Be sure they are something that is specific enough that it can be measured in some way otherwise if it is too wishy-washy, motivation will be lost as you will have no way of knowing when the goal is reached.

Wishing and dreaming do not work, but writing them down and consciously deciding on goals and committing to them is what we need to do first.

2. Have a good foundation for YOU

If you work at being a good person, being an honest, loving and loyal person. Having a good character and integrity is critical to set the foundation as a person prior to moving towards your goals.

3. Break bigger goals into small parts and visualize them

Take time to think about goals which will take a longer period of time to achieve.  Break these down into smaller bite size pieces that you can achieve over a shorter time.

Take time to visualize yourself achieving your goal.   Imagine how you will look and feel once that goal is achieved.  Imagine how you will feel getting the certificate of course completion, or paying off that debt.  Imagine how you will look in the mirror wearing your favourite outfit if you achieve your weight loss goal.   To achieve our goals, if we mentally reach for them and see them, they become possible in our mind.

4.  Be accountable to your decision

Be focused every day on what your goals are.  Keep track each day of what you are doing to work towards those goals.  Self-discipline is the key to reaching those goals.  Each evening, plan a few short activities for the following day that will move you towards your goals.

5.   Share your goals with others

Work towards common goals with other people if you can.  Camaraderie is a great motivational tool!!  Also, tell others about your goals so that you are more likely to be accountable and to have support from others.

6. Be willing to move outside your comfort zone.

To stay where we are at now and not move outside our current situation or comfort zone, then our 2016 achievements aren’t likely to look much different than 2015.  Once you have made your decision to change something, you need to be willing to commit to doing things different each day and choosing different paths than you are used to!

It takes more work to stay on your new path, than it would be to slide back to old habits…don’t let that happen!

7.  Put pen to paper

By documenting each day or keeping a journal with your key goals written inside, you can track once you have reached even the small steps of your goals (see small steps tip 3).  After you accomplish those steps, reward yourself to boost confidence, motivation and energy to keep moving forward.  There is no bigger reward than seeing your list of goals come to life and the slow steps towards achieving them also happening in black and white before your eyes!

8.  Enjoy your life!

This is a critical part of goal setting success.  We need to enjoy the journey towards our goals and not have the “I will be happy when…” mindset.  Be happy NOW and be grateful about what you have and celebrating the small goal achievements along the way can just be the icing on the cake!

9.  Help other people and be happier

There is something about giving of yourself and your time with NO expectations in return that creates positive feelings, improved confidence and self-worth and helps people in your surroundings at the same time. Even just small things that only take a few minutes like holding a door or helping others carry items to their car.  Bringing a co-worker a cup of coffee.  These small gestures are great to boost your happiness and that of those around you.

Remember, we cannot wait to be happy AFTER achieving our goals…we need to be happy on the journey as well!  Celebrate the positive achievements and the better person you are becoming as you work on those goals

If you would like to join me for more goal setting ideas and motivation, click the orange box below!

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7 Reasons to get more Sleep

How much difference would it make to have even one extra hour of sleep make for us?   Its actually a big difference, since having too little sleep can have an impact on our physical, mental and emotional health!

If you’ve ever stayed up way too late emailing, or texting with friends, catching up on TV shows, or scrolling aimlessly through Facebook or Twitter. Yep, plenty of us are guilty as charged — and as a result, we end up feeling exhausted in the morning.

That most of us are falling short on getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night is nothing new.  REMEMBER,  not all of us who fail to get enough sleep actually have any trouble sleeping!  Many of us are just staying up too late or putting off our bedtime in favor of other priority activities.

If you are consistently getting less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night, it may come at a heavy cost for our health and much more.  Here are 7 good reasons to get more sleep each night of the week:

1.  You can be more productive at your work or at home each day:  

We’ve all been there at one time or another…. You’re sitting at your desk after a late night, staring blankly at the project that is supposed to be due before the end of the day and its not coming out!  That is because lack of sleep messes up with your ability to think, making it very difficult for your brain to perform basic functions like concentration.

This is the obvious stuff, but there is an impact on our ability to think creatively as well with lack of sleep.   This can seriously affect your life especially if there are a lot of late nights during your week!    Sleep is also critical for our brain to be effective at problem solving.  At my type of work (family practise), I solve mysteries and problems all day, so a lack of sleep is potentially very detrimental to me…and to my patients!

Ultimately, for the success of your work/business, get your 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  This will give your brain an amazing boost that will have you feeling alert, focused and ready to perform effectively and to be more productive!

2.  You will maintain a healthier weight easier

Have you noticed that when you are sleep deprived, you tend to reach for more sugar and caffeine…as well as unhealthy foods?  If we are sleep deprived, we tend to have less energy for the willpower needed to stick with healthy food choices

There is some evidence that connects later nights with higher food/calorie intake each day.   After 8 pm, our body seems to crave fatty, salty or sugary foods which may explain why people who stay up late, tend to eat far more calories than people who have an earlier bedtime.

Ultimately, if you have a regular bedtime, get 7-8 hours of sleep, you will have less cravings, more willpower and consume less calories each day!  What does this mean for your health and body weight?  You got it!

3.  You will reduce your risk for chronic diseases:

To reduce your risk for developing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and stroke, be extra careful to get enough sleep (in addition to proper nutrition and exercise).

When you are sleeping, your body is in repair mode helping to repair daytime damage done on your various body tissues.  If you don’t get enough sleep for the necessary repairs, your body’s health will suffer in the long run, making you at risk for major problems.

4.  You will have better mental health and positivity

Having too little sleep, can create a situation where we have less patience, more irritability, more stress and less capable of handling emotions.  Having more sleep of course doesn’t solve all of our problems, but can be connected with higher levels of positivity, better problem solving capability, more patience, being more relaxed and more capable of handling those life “curve balls” that come your way.

Some studies have shown that people who lack sleep are more likely to be overwhelmed with negative thoughts!   With more sleep, we have a better chance of putting things in positive perspective and have less pessimistic thoughts!

Ultimately, get your required hours of sleep per night, and you will find that things seem better in the morning!

5.  You will be a safer driver!

An interesting fact for you….people who sleep only 5-6 hours are twice as likely to have an accident than people who sleep for 7-8 hours or more!  This is very scary fact, but its true that sleep deprivation can make you less alert and much more likely to get into a crash.

Many people drive even while drowsy and did you realize just how much our judgement is impaired without sleep?  For example, after 24 hours without sleep, the  driving skills are similar to that of a drunk driver!  Yike, that is scary!

6.  You will have a healthier appearance

It is true…without a good sleep, we tend not to look so great.  During sleep, our body works to replace old skin cells with fresh new ones, so that our complexion looks more fresh and bright than pale and worn out.  We all know that lack of sleep can contribute to puffy eyes, dark circles under eyes, red eyes and a look that truly shows people that you are running on very little sleep!

Some of the studies done comparing well-rested people with sleep deprived folks showed that the participants rated people with less sleep as  less attractive, less healthy, less approachable, and more sad in appearance.

Ultimately, with proper sleep, we look healthier, better in color and more fresh, alert and happy !

7.   You will have a better Immune System

Adequate rest, helps to ensure our immune system has more strength to fight off those bugs we come in contact with on a regular basis.  You are not only less likely to develop an infection when exposed, but if you do get sick, you are likely to recover  faster if you get adequate sleep on a regular basis.

Good handwashing is by far the BEST way to prevent illness, but getting adequate sleep is for sure the next most important thing to stay as healthy as possible.

SUMMARY:

Overall, you can see that having a regular sleep schedule has MANY benefits for our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. If you also get a good night sleep, you are much less likely to have issues getting up in the mornings as well.

I have found it MUCH easier to have happier and less stressful mornings when feeling refreshed and after having adequate rest.  Seriously, it makes such a huge difference!

To ensure a good sleep, be sure to avoid using brightly colored screens (computer, TV, Phone) for an hour or two prior to bedtime.  The bright stimulating lights interfere with our body’s natural rhythm and may affect our ability to fall asleep.  Avoid caffeine and stimulants and try using strategies like having warm baths, or perhaps meditation/yoga/relaxation prior to bedtime.  Part of having good sleep is to set up a regular routine or ritual that you can stick with to mentally and physically prepare you for sleep.

What is your biggest frustration with trying to get adequate sleep every night?

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Chronic Stress is Toxic to our Body

STRESS affects not only our health but also our weight loss efforts
 
The stress itself, at least in small doses, isn’t bad. It’s normal and needs to be dealt with. But, when it’s chronic as it often is, it can be detrimental to your efforts.
 
When that fight or flight response kicks in your body surges with hormones – at first adrenaline to keep you moving and later cortisol to store energy for future use and keep you ready to act. Constant stress means constant release of cortisol which, over time, can result in insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome (incl diabetes). In short, too much stress makes your body less efficient at processing sugars as they are absorbed into your body and you gain weight. (Cortisol is toxic as you will see below)
Cortisol is toxic
Even if you don’t pack on pounds, high levels of stress make it VERY hard to lose weight as your body clings to it.
 
So, stress is an issue we need to deal with.
 
Too much stress has a ton of other negative side effects too, all of which can in turn make it harder to lose weight. You sleep less, are hungry later at night, use food to release stress (due to the brain chemical link and dopamine release of eating rich and fatty foods) and more.
 
Excessive chronic stress can cause a person to gain weight or prevents weight loss… its the truth.
 
What ideas or tips do you have that would help others to manage stress? What techniques do you use that you find effective?

Start a Gratitude Journal

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 9.56.29 PMOne amazingly powerful way to become the kind of person who naturally attracts more happiness, better health, deeper relationships and more overall success into their lives, is to be the kind of person who is grateful for everything that is going on in your life RIGHT NOW.

Remember, life is about the JOURNEY not the DESTINATION.

Grateful people are happier, it’s so easy to always be looking for the next goal to achieve, or to say sweeping statements like “I’ll be happy when….”, but it takes a special kind of inspirational person to be grateful for where their life is right NOW… no matter what challenges are occurring.

One of the best ways to train your subconscious mind to exude gratefulness on an ongoing basis is to simply spend 3 minutes a day keeping a gratitude journal.

3 minutes a day to personal power and a lifetime of happiness. That’s it, it doesn’t take long, but you’ll be amazed after only 21 days or more just how great your life will become, how strongly you’ll vibrate success and happiness, how others will naturally see you as an inspirational kind of person…

…And how you’ll just naturally notice all the good things going on as your subconscious will be looking for them all the time throughout the day.

So… With that in mind… What are you grateful for? Please enter your thoughts below, I’d like to turn this into a BIG gratefulness list full of many Gratitude Journal Ideas for others to look at and read and be inspired.

I will start:  I’m grateful for being able to afford a healthy diet, without worry about where the next meal will come from. I’m grateful for my family and that we are all healthy.

What are you grateful for? Please comment below! Read others posts too and be inspired!