Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Be Buff with Bodyweight

Does the phrase “weight bearing exercise” conjure up images of Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron at Gold’s Gym?  Though this is one option to build bone strength, it is certainly not the only one.

Weight bearing exercise is defined as any exercise that forces you to work against gravity.  So, pretty much any time you are moving (unless you are an astronaut in space) you are performing weight bearing exercise.  That said, some forms of exercise are more effective at strengthening the bones than others.

Bodyweight training is an effective and efficient method to cultivate healthy bones.  By working against gravity in a variety of challenging positions, one can strengthen the entire body without the assistance of machines or barbells.

You don’t have to say “hasta la vista” to equipment, but realizing just how much strength you can gain with so little can be empowering.

The following are a few of my favorite recommendations for clients looking to build bone strength:

Try the TRX: TRX stand for Total Body Resistance Exercise.  This simple apparatus, which consists of two adjustable nylon straps with handles and foot holds, was developed by a Navy SEAL to keep him and his fellow SEALs strong while deployed.  Exercises can be performed with varied resistance simply by changing angles and positions.

Get Some Gliders: You know those furniture gliders they sell at Lowe’s?  Grab yourself a pair and get moving (your body, not your furniture).  Add some oomph to a plank by placing them under your feet and sling your legs in and out.  Place one under your back foot while performing a reverse lunge to put more emphasis on the supporting leg.  Much to my clients’ chagrin, the options are endless.

Ace Some Ashtanga: Ashtanga is one of the most physically challenging forms of yoga.  It is great for building strength and stamina as well as balance and flexibility.  If you are a yoga newbie and Ashtanga seems intimidating, try a beginner Hatha or Vinyasa class with plenty of standing poses to build up your confidence.

For more fitness ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

T, with a bodyweight of 7 lbs 3 oz….can’t believe this was 3 years ago.  Happy birthday weekend T!
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Chronicles of a Sneaky Mama

That’s right, when it comes to nutrition, I am a sneaky mama.  And I know I am not the only one.  I have friends who puree veggies into pasta sauces and make foods into fun shapes to give their kiddos a nutritional boost.

I like to keep these Tasty Tuesday posts light because I believe food should be fun.  Stress is worse for the body than any food could be (well, maybe not worse than deep fried butter, but you get the idea…..)  But, in order to be completely transparent, I have to share what inspires my planty ways when it comes to my babe.

During a nutrition course I took while T was just getting into solids, I learned that children in the US today are the first generation with a predicted life expectancy shorter than their parents.  This took my breath away.  I realize that food isn’t the end all and be all when it comes to health, but I also know that what we do or don’t put into our bodies can be a major factor when it comes to many chronic diseases.

Truth bomb #2: Heart disease begins in childhood.  Most children in the US already have fatty streaks in their arteries by age 10.  Scary stuff I know, but at the risk of being a downer it seems important enough to share.

Now for the happy part: Consuming more plants can prevent and/or reverse many chronic diseases.  So, now that you see the method to my madness, I’ll share a few sneaky secrets:

-Sly Smoothies: Since children vary in what they deem an acceptable smoothie, mom knows best when it comes to this one.  I will share that baby spinach blends beautifully and leaves little to no aftertaste, as do hemp seeds and frozen cauliflower (we use the riced kind).  Sweeter fruits help mask greens and veggies, so things like bananas, mango, and pineapple are a sneaky mom’s best friend.  This one has been my go to for a while now.  You may want to skip the spirulina and go light on the greens if you have a green-averse child.

-Tricky Treats:  Avocado makes for yummy puddings and pops, and black beans make tasty brownies.  When in doubt, you could always put them all together.

-Secret Sauces: This sauce is perfect for pasta.  T won’t eat pasta (weird right?  Isn’t pasta on every kid’s menu in the world?) but loves it on pizza.  The main ingredient is cauliflower, but you would never know.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

Full disclosure, T knows there is avocado in there, he just thinks that’s where ice cream comes from……
Mindfulness Monday

Mindfulness Monday: Mindfulness in the Moonlight

Last week’s post gave some ideas on how to incorporate a mindfulness practice into the morning.  This week we’ll focus on some practices that can be integrated after the sun goes down.

Evening is a great time to invest in a little mindfulness practice.  Rituals at bedtime can result in better quality sleep, which has a significant impact on overall wellness.

The following are three ways to find your center, no matter which side of the bed you sleep on:

-Be Still With a Body Scan: Starting at the crown of the head and working down, systematically relax muscles from head to toe.  Notice any areas of tension and see how you can relax them, either by changing position or simply focusing on releasing.  This is usually best performed with eyes closed, but a soft focus on the ceiling also works.

-Say Goodnight with Gratitude: Think of three good things that happened during the day.  This is a nice way to train your mind towards the positive and is great of you tend to be a night time worrier.

-Lounge with Your “Legs Up the Wall”: Try a little yoga with Legs Up the Wall Pose.  Sit with one hip pressing against a wall or headboard.  Spin around and place the backs of your legs on the wall.  Breathe deeply.  This pose is lovely after being on your feet all day, as well as post travel.

For more ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

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Photo credit Mary Ellen Blacker



Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Fancy Footwork

You don’t need to be the next Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers to play around with fancy footwork.  In fact, if grace and coordination do not come naturally to you, you may even benefit more from practicing it.

Agility training is a great way to fitness multitask.  Since it incorporates learning, focus, coordination, and balance,  you’ll strengthen your muscles along with your brain.

Looking for a few simple ways to incorporate some fancy footwork into your life?  Try the following:

-Spice Up Your Workout with the Speed Ladder: In between strength training sets, do a few drills on the speed ladder.  You’ll get the benefits of interval training while improving agility.

-Do Some Dance: Dance is the #1 way to reduce risk of dementia through exercise.  It’s also tons of fun.

-Swing Back to Step: Remember step classes?  Though I no longer teach group step, I do love using some my old moves while interval training.  Using a step is a great way to get more comfortable with level change, which can take your coordination to a whole new level!  If you don’t own a step or prefer to workout outside the gym, real stairs are always an option (google Gene Nelson “Tea for Two” for some inspiration).

For more fitness ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

T made the following video by himself the other day.  Still not sure how it did it but it seemed to fit today’s theme…

Health and Healing

For Moms and Those Who Love Them…

Thanks to Tara Wheeler for allowing our family to share the story of our daughter Eve in such a meaningful way. As Brene Brown says “Shame cannot survive being spoken…and being met with empathy”. Starting a dialogue around baby loss is not only helpful for prevention but also to the preservation of the integrity of those women who experience it.  You can view the news story here .

Me, J, and Eve on a trip to Colorado….