Watch your Form when Lifting (Don’t be Like Me Today!)

Be extra careful with this move to have your abs held tight and your back straight before starting the swing
Be extra careful with this move to have your abs held tight and your back straight before starting the swing

Ouch!! Yup, I made the critical mistake this morning during my weighted cardio workout! When it came time to do the second round of ‘kettle bell’ swings, I didn’t take the time to get my form right before starting the move. Well, as a result, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my right lower back and had to stop the move and lie on the floor. I am so mad at myself now as I definitely know better than to perform a lifting move without checking my form first! 😬.  No matter how strong, flexible or fit we are, watching our form is a very important part of lifting to prevent injury.

Now, as I write this, I am spending extra time on the foam roller trying to get the sharp knots out…ouch!! Dang it!! Too bad I had to get this reminder the hard way…

This was not exactly the topic I had planned to write about today, but decided to shift gears to serve as a reminder to you to be sure to check your form before lifting.  Don’t mess up like I did today…its going to take me a few days to get functionally back to normal now…Grrr

As important as muscle building is for our balance, strength, hormone balance, and body shape…its so important to remember to have proper form and follow the instructions of the professional trainer…  Lesson learned!

Be sure to get your FREE download about  7 tips to improve self-discipline HERE.

 

 

Muscles Pump You Up (In More Ways Than One!)

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There is something about working those muscles hard and having that feeling of being totally pumped up afterwards!! I just love that feeling!

The muscles feel swollen and full as the blood surges through them after the heavy burn wears off.. if you have never felt it, you may not know what I mean.. but if you have done a good lifting routine…you will know exactly what I am talking about here…😊💪🏻

This morning, I feel compelled to talk about what goes on inside the muscle to make it feel this way and how that gives us benefit, conditioning and a sense of well-being.  Its totally changed my life to do resistance training and I am certain it would change yours as well.

It may sound weird, but the action of lifting weights actually depletes muscle building nutrients in the body and causes microscopic tears in our muscle fibres.  Its only after the workout is over that our bodies work to repair the damage we inflicted on it and then the muscle growth starts to happen.  Immediately after a workout, the body gets to work by increasing blood flow to those muscles causing them to feel bigger and more full.  This increase blood flow and high rate of repair happens for up to several hours after a workout.

How to make sure our muscles repair and stay with us…

Its important to regularly have small meals with carbs and proteins after the workout to help keep the growth and repair process moving forward.  During our sleep time at night, our body runs out of repair nutrients while we are sleeping (fasting) and this is why having a bit of extra protein at bedtime can be helpful to keep this repair process working well while sleeping.  If we have prolonged periods of fasting, our body goes into what is called a catabolic state where muscle breakdown occurs.  We definitely do not want to get into this state as it will reduce our muscle mass…so be sure that muscle is well fed and don’t allow your body to go into prolonged fasting periods.

WHY build muscle anyways?

Lifting weights (resistance training) is important to build muscle strength, but it also strengthens the surrounding connective tissue as well (tendon, ligament).  The stronger the structures are, the less likely it will be that you will experience a strain, dislocation or tear around a joint or a muscle injury while in motion!!

The health benefits to having conditioned muscles are so amazing, that it is an important activity to incorporate into your life ASAP!    Having muscles improves our physical appearance (more toned, nice shape, less fat), gives us more energy, increases bone density, increases power and strength, reduced injury, makes recovery from injuries faster, slows down aging and improves hormone balance, increases HDL (good cholesterol), improves our balance, lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate.  The list goes on and on… so many benefits!

Oh and one more thing!  Conditioned muscles typically do not cause us chronic pain!  Yes, we will have some sore muscles from lifting at times especially when increasing weight or intensity, but in general, conditioned muscles at rest do not cause us pain!  HUGE BENEFIT that improves quality of life!  I suffered from chronic body, muscle, neck and knee pains for years and getting into shape completely transformed my quality of life and I am not in pain any longer!  Its so worth the work!

If you would like to find a professionally designed resistance training program to get started with, please contact me and I will help you out.

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Hard Work is Always Rewarded (Just Ask My Kids)

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Was a rough conditioning workout this morning after going 3 weeks without lifting. Whoa! I was totally grunting, sweating and wishing I had kept up with regular lifting at least a couple times a week. I have been so preoccupied with my core fighting program the last few weeks that I didn’t take the time to lift! Regrets!

I was thinking today about how hard it can be to get up early in the morning and get a workout in… especially if you know it is going to be a super hard one!  …and today certainly was!

BUT…It’s true though that if you are working to change your health and your body that it will take hard work to make the changes that will bring you to your goals. Nothing that is easy really brings about great results in our life, does it?

I remember over the years that I have pushed myself to work hard, do things right and keep going no matter what.  I have also drilled this into my kids as well…like constantly…  I have always believed that if you work hard, give 110% to everything you do, that you will not only feel better about yourself …. you will also prove to others that you are reliable, have a good work ethic and thus prove valuable not only to the organization you work for (or your own business), but will be valuable to all other people in your life too!

When you apply this to health, it may be hard, but forging ahead, not wasting time, working hard and not giving up will definitely be the way to achieve your goals.  The truth is, it is hard to do, but it is also hard NOT to do.  Its hard to look in the mirror and see a picture of unhealthiness, isnt it?

Take a few minutes today and acknowledge that “hard work will always be rewarded”!  It in fact is always rewarded in some way.  We may not see it immediately or even for a period of time, but eventually the rewards will come and you will be so glad that you put in the hard work, effort and dedication.

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Stretching Benefits every Middle Age Grandma Needs to Know (and 7 Ways it Helps me)

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Stretching regularly gives your body the capacity to do more and more!

One thing I have learned is that taking the time to stretch regularly certainly has benefits.

It not only boosts strength and performance and capacity in other activities, but minimizes chance for injury. Stretching also gives time to breathe and be present within yourself.

I used to have a hard time stretching properly since I was always in such a hurry and didn’t truly see the benefits. Now, I have learned to enjoy the opportunity to quieten the mind and gently stretch the whole body and it has really now helped me in several ways….

Here is 7 ways stretching has helped me…

  1.  Taking the time to stretch has helped to ease stress, and after a week of challenges and stressful situations, the muscle tension and uneasiness that can occur needs some release!  Stretching really helps to relax the muscles and improve blood flow.  It helps to release endorphins, which give me a sense of relaxation and well-being.  It has helped me to have a more optimistic outlook.
  2. Stretching has helped to improve my posture and ease off pain in my upper back.  After working on a computer and being slouched over a desk all week, stretching the lower back, chest and shoulders helps to get my spine in better alignment and improve my posture.   Having my shoulders back in proper position and sitting taller has really helped to have less muscle aches between shoulder blades and thus less headaches!
  3. The range of motion in my muscles have improved a lot over time and I have had much less issues with injuries and definitely have noticed less lower back incidents or pain “tweaks” with day to day activities such as picking up my grandson, carrying boxes and moving furniture.
  4. I have noticed that by being consistent with stretching, that my muscles have more stamina and energy.  Stretching improves blood flow and healing of the muscles and I noticed my exercise endurance has improved!  I can make it through more lifting reps and my cardio has improved significantly since my muscles don’t fatigue as quickly.  Oh, and I notice that my muscles recover faster after a workout too and I have far less muscle soreness even with heavy workouts.
  5. What I found before I dedicated to stretching regularly was that my muscles were tight and were less effective during exercise.  So this regular stretching I am doing now relaxes all of my muscles and allows them to be more fully available during vigorous exercise…thus my performance improves!   I can run faster, lift more, jump higher etc and it feels great!
  6. I have noticed stretching and relaxation prior to bed time is beneficial. Only 5-10 min of relaxed stretching and deep breathing prior to sleep has helped to improve my sleep quality.
  7. I do 3-5 minutes of lower back, and hip stretches before getting out of bed in the morning which really minimizes lower back stiffness and pain… I find that without this short stretch session before getting out of bed, that it takes about 30-60 min to feel the stiffness ease off.  The joys of being a over-45 granny! 🙂

Stretching is an important component of any fitness program.  Be sure to take the time to do this on a regular basis to feel better, be stronger and more resistant to injury, improve your athletic performance and to feel more positive too!

I am feeling happy and accomplished today…got a 20 min workout done called MMA Active Recovery….Day 14 of my current 30 day fitness challenge is complete!

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Working Out for Beginners (and Grandmas), and the surprising way it will change your life.

...to be healthy and fit feels fabulous!
…to be healthy and fit feels great and is worth the work!

Thinking of working out, but you’re a little afraid?

Or maybe you’re afraid of getting bulging muscles. (Don’t worry ladies, that’s highly unlikely.)

Think you’re too weak or too old or too lazy, but you want to at least give it a try?

Good.

Then I want to quickly tell you how it’s going to change your life. I mean even in your everyday stuff. I’d also like to give you a bit of direction about how to start.

 

How Working Out Will Change Your Life

The first thing many want when they start on their fitness journey is to look different. Thinner, smaller, tougher, lean. And that may happen, but you need to know right at the start, you’ll get much more out of it than just looks.

Your energy will increase. Assuming you’re eating clean and getting enough calories, the adrenaline and other hormones released into your body by exercise will affect your energy.

Your body will work better. Exercise affects you even at a cellular level. When you’re active, the body will use food more efficiently, and many parts – like the thyroid, endocrine system, pancreas, digestive system – will all signal and function better as a result. It’s pretty amazing how movement (or non-movement) affects the body.

You’ll feel better. Client after client has reported feeling more positive, less depressed or lethargic, more motivated and a feeling of being more capable. Exercise improves mental and emotional health, not just physical.

You can do more normal stuff. I’ve noticed this in my own body. Since I began working out, I can do a lot more on my own. I can bring in all the bags of groceries by myself without huffing and puffing afterward. I can shovel snow without pulling a muscle. My joints are stronger. And, if I need to move the couch or fridge, I can do it easily on my own – all important things for a single grandma!

 

Working Out – Where to Start

It’s a bit tough to say where to start, because it really depends on where your body is at.

A person recovering from back surgery or a teenager will need a whole different routine than an overweight mid-forties woman who’s otherwise healthy.

 

It’s always best to get the personalized advice from a coach who can advise you based on your specific needs and fitness level. (I can help with that) So please take the following not as specific personal advice for you to follow, but more as a general guideline.

That said, it’s often best to start slow. For a few reasons. If you’ve been especially sedentary or have health issues, this is especially true. A good beginning for you might be to stretch daily or every other day, and go for a walk or bike ride. Keep it light to start – pushing too hard right off will only destroy your motivation and invite injuries.

The next stage would be to increase intensity by either lengthening the time of your walk or bike ride, or increasing the difficulty, perhaps by traveling uphill or going faster for portions of the workout. A person could also add a cardio workout routine or consider joining an accountability group!  Click HERE to ask how!

 

The (Most Important) Thing Beginners Forget About

Most people stop there, forgetting to add the vital element of weight lifting (resistance training).

Wait ladies – before you envision giant barbells and bulging muscles – that’s not what I mean. Not at all.

Here’s the truth about muscles.  If you don’t make them work, they weaken. They weaken a lot and actually shrink (atrophy), becoming nearly useless.  A lack of exercise leads to atrophy of skeletal muscle, which essentially leads to a smaller number and size of the muscle cells!

 

Lifting is Easier Than You Think

Just so you know, lifting doesn’t have to be this big, demanding ordeal. I’ve been working out for years, and only lift 2-3 times a week. The rest is cardio. It doesn’t take huge amounts of time to get results.

It may suit you best to start out with smaller weights (3-5 lbs) even once a week, and work up to 10 or 15 as you gain strength.

 

The bottom line: if you don’t use your muscles, they’re going to leave you.
You need them. Work them. Even just a little at first. Starting small is okay.
The important thing is that you start.

To get tips about getting started on clean eating, click HERE.

To join the athletic grandma community, enter your email address HERE and get a free download about how to improve your self-discipline!

The Real Truth about Women and Bulky Muscles

As women, we’re afraid of getting big, bulky muscles.

We want to be sleek and toned – small, not big.

So the idea of working out can make us fear we’re on our way to looking like the Hulk. Or worse, his lopsided half-sister. For some, having bulging, rippled muscles is the goal. From most women though, I hear their dread of that happening to them.

Good news: big muscles don’t accidentally happen.

The truth is, bulking up is really hard for women to do.

Sure, our bodies are different, and some gain easier than others. And there are those examples of women who , ‘in just two years’ made massive gains and ended up tanned and flexing on a stage somewhere. But there’s something you don’t know about those women. They didn’t accidentally get that way and decide to go with the flow. “Oh well… I guess I’ll just have to accept my new muscly body”. No. They aimed for those results, pursuing them with determination and focus. They worked hard for multiple hours daily. Daily! Their rest days were a good hard cardio that still left them drenched. And they made sure to limit carbs and get in a lot of protein powders designed to pack on muscle.

We don’t bulk up with muscle accidentally.

Most of the time, we misunderstand muscles completely

After 2 years of heavy lifting (up to 30 lb dumbells), no increase size, only sculpting achieved!
After 2 years of heavy lifting (up to 30 lb dumbells), no increase size, only sculpting achieved!

Here’s the real truth about women and the risk of bulky muscles

Muscles become more compact when they are conditioned and strong.

That means the more you work them, and the stronger they become, the more firm and toned and smaller in size they become.

I know it seems counterintuitive – even false, when all we see in media is the kind of muscles that bulge. But we know we shouldn’t always believe what the media tells us, right?  This is one of those things we shouldn’t believe. Muscles are small. Sleek. Compact.

Just ask my clients who, as soon as they began developing their muscles, shrank. They shrank while they were getting stronger. That’s not just because of fat loss, either. It’s also because muscles are leaner, the stronger they are.

Sometimes ‘Bulk’ is Actually Just Fat

Especially in the beginning of one’s weight training journey, a woman may feel like she’s getting bigger. If that’s happening, it usually means that either their caloric intake is too high or they’re retaining water (a temporary issue generally), or both.

This doesn’t happen often with my clients, but when it does, it’s not because of a sudden increase in muscle mass. Good news – water retention and excess caloric intake are simple fixes.

You Can Work Out to Maintain, Not Just to Gain

Working out is not an eternal upward slant. Goals do get reached.

Once you’ve achieved your goal weight or strength or fitness level, you can change your fitness and nutrition plan to maintain. There’s no reason to continue building and strengthening beyond what you want to. It’s your body – you get to choose how you want it to look.

Kicking into maintenance mode will definitely keep you from building muscle beyond what you want. No risk of bulking up here.

The bottom line is, if you’re eating clean and working out, you’ll burn fat (which is bulky) and strengthen muscle (which is compact) – expect to get smaller.

Need some help with clean eating? Join my Facebook group The Clean Eatery for tips, community, and motivation. Also, sign up here for 7 tips about how to improve your self-discipline.

Wounded Deer Leap Higher

img_0248Some situations in life suck…but we can choose how to frame it and how to feel about it. Ultimately, sh*t that we go through makes us stronger! It may not feel like it while you are in it, but you will later!

This morning, I chose to rise early and do a total body lifting routine to pump up my physical power which leaks over into emotional and spiritual power! My determination is on FIRE this morning as a result of the stress I went through yesterday so I plan to put it to good use today!!

The old saying…”the wounded deer leaps higher..” rings true today!😊👍👍

#woundeddeerjumphigher #livehappy #positivechange #athleticgrandma #fitnessgal1969 #consistent #determined #dedicated #pianoplayer #introvert #positive #learnfrommistakes #horselover #mom #runner #fitnesscoach #nursepractitioner #musclesandmascara #musclesgirl #grandson #cleaneater #advocacy #enjoylifenow #unstoppable #grandma #INTJ

Set direction And stick to it

Yesterday was rest day, so for some reason, I was thinking I would bound out of bed today for my early workout, feel energized and extra strong…but the opposite was true! 😳

I actually started overheating far too soon in the workout, felt nauseated, had a cold sweat going and my muscles felt weaker than usual… Then when I was done, I had an overwhelming urge to go back to bed!! I have already had a full litre of water this morning, but am still feeling a bit dehydrated, so maybe that’s the problem…

Despite feeling somewhat crappy, I pushed through every rep and now I can at least say I did my workout of the day even though my performance was not stellar 😊. My icy chocolate recovery drink is a welcome relief today, that’s for sure!

No regrets for getting it done though!😊. Being consistent every day and keeping the momentum moving forward will bring me the most success. Also the things in life that steer us into being a stronger person are not supposed to be easy! Right? 😀. My current philosophy is this…Set the rudder in your life in the right direction and keep doing slight adjustments as you go to stay on the right course towards your goals. Don’t let yourself or someone else nudge you off course!

Yay! It’s Friday!! Have yourself a GREAT day!!

#fitnessgal1969 #athleticgrandma #hammerandchisel #lifegoals #stayoncourse #setherudder #determination #challengingsomedaysmorethanothers

Easy will not get you to the next level! 😊

“Easy” won’t get you to the next level…you gotta work for it! This is what my trainer reminded me of this morning as she was kicking my ass with a 40 min weighted cardio workout.

You cannot beat having your own trainer at home early in the morning!! No baby sitter needed, no inconvenience of having to get to and from a gym, get pushed to work much harder, no interruptions, no worry about being self-conscious like at a public gym. All around, I have had the absolute best results using home-based professionally designed programs and have taken my fitness to the next level far more than I ever did in the gym setting. 😊. All of these benefits, plus I am constantly making amazing new friends in our online accountability group!!

The beauty of this type of program is that it also doubles as a cross training program to make you stronger, faster, and better endurance for other sports that you participate in! It works for me for running! 😊

if this type of fitness lifestyle appeals to you, feel free to contact me as I now have openings for new clients for my coaching program.

#dontgiveup #easygetsyounowhere #beforebreakfastclub #athleticgrandma #fitnessgal1969 #fitnesscoach #fitnesschallenge