Archive | February, 2012

The Importance of Little Indulgences

29 Feb

Yesterday was my boyfriend Matt’s 26th birthday!

I made these:

They were unreal.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you probably heard about my binge eating days.

I went through a phase, ironically my at my heaviest weight, when I was totally obsessed with food – and limiting it. So much so that I’d miss out on special occasion food because I’d gone vegetarian or I wasn’t eating desserts. I ristricted myself from enjoying part of life. Then when my diet of the moment was over or the cleanse was up I’d go to TOWN on the nearest plate of brownies.

Here’s what I know now: nobody ever got fat eating one homemade Snickers.

The same is true for the reverse: nobody ever got skinny after one workout!

You can have one, not ten, and not everyday.

Food indulgence is a fine balance. I like the saying – “taste everything, eat nothing” – Bethenny Frankel.

I’m not making homemade Snickers all the time but on birthdays and special occasions one bar won’t sabotage you as long as your exercise program is on track.

One last piece of food porn for you while I’m on this topic: Cake Batter Chocolate Bark

I made this cake bark for my birthday in July!

So let yourself live every once in awhile. Once a week having a little (one snickers bar or a couple breaks off the cake bark) special treats like this won’t kill you if you are exercising and eating clean – lots of veggies, lean meat and water 95% of the week. Work hard play hard people!

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Right Round Interval Workout

28 Feb

Dynamic Squats – 20 Reps

Half Dive Boomers – 6 Reps

Pendulums – 20 Reps

Bear Squats – 10 Reps

Mountain Climbers – 20 Reps

Toe Touches – 10 Reps

Leg Lifts – 20 Reps

Then backwards …

Toe Touches – 10 Reps

Mountain Climbers – 20 Reps

Bear Squats – 10 Reps

Pendulums – 20 Reps

Half Dive Boomers – 6 Reps

Dynamic Squats – 20 Reps

= One Round

Complete Four Rounds For Time

Beat My Time!

Round One: 4:56

Round Two: 10:05

Round Three: 16:01

Round Four (Final Time!): 21:53

If you beat me then I owe you a cookie!

Please let me know how you did and if you liked this workout!

Top Ten Oscar Bodies of All Time

27 Feb

Charlize Theron: 2004 Oscars. Pure perfection. Fresh off a trip to Brazil, Best Actress Charlize Theron (for Monster) shimmered in an elegant Gucci gown that showed off her tawny complexion and her figure, slim again after she gained 30lbs for her winning role.

Hilary Swank: 2004 Oscars. After adding 19lbs of muscle and working out 6 days a week for 4 1/2 hours a day for her role in Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank earned this spot on the best bodies list!

Jennifer Hudson: 2011 Oscars.What a transformation! Jennifer Hudson stuck to a strict regimen of portion control diet and exercise, she lost 80 pounds and went from a size 16 to a 6 and says: “I’m prouder of my weight loss than my Oscar!”

Oprah Winfrey: 2007 Oscars. Oprah has said she’s never looked better and felt happier. I think this represents a realisitic weight for Oprah, you can tell she’s absolutely glowing.

Cher: 1986 Oscars. Look at those abs! Cher certainly knew how to push the boundaries of Oscar fashion!

Helen Mirren: 2007 Oscars. If I look this good at 61 I’ll be extremely happy! Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her role in The Queen, but her body in that dress earned more accolades that night!

Angelina Jolie: 2004 Oscars. Va va voom. As per usual!

Halle Berry: 2002 Oscars. Again … VA VA VOOM. This lady knows how to do classy and sexy. The night she won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball, the actress highlighted her amazing figure with a peek-a-boo embroidered gown.

Anne Hathaway: 2009 Oscars: She looked like a sparkling statue. Her waist is so tiny!

Jessica Alba: 2006 Oscars. This is my boyfriend Matt’s biggest crush. And that night she did not disappoint him! Truly a golden girl with a golden body.

Treadmill vs. Elliptical

24 Feb

I confess, I’ve only done five elliptical workouts in my life. The most recent and likely last happened yesterday in my gym. All the treadmills were taken so I decided to hop on and give the elliptical another whirl. I was reminded why I avoid this machine like the plague. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. I counted the seconds and even if you paid me I wouldn’t have stayed on any longer. During this last workout I decided that the elliptical is the lazy man’s treadmill and I hope to never have to do it again.

Unless you’re absolutely incapable of running the elliptical machine is a total waste of time and I utterly loath it.

I call it the lazy man’s treadmill because most people doing an elliptical workout ignore their strides per minute number, often written as SPM or RPM. This number should never drop below 60 RPMs or 120 SPMs depending on your machine’s metrix. In order to have an effective elliptical workout you need to feel like you’re swimming upright through a pool of molasses – up that resistance – typically 6 minimum! It’s really hard to force yourself to do this.

The biggest problem I have with the elliptical it’s a constant thought battle – I contemplate every single step, the stride length never feels normal and I don’t get the same calorie burn when compared to a run – unless I’m really pushing through that molasses. When I’m on the treadmill I can zone out, get comfortable with my natural stride and know that I’m getting the best bang for my buck in calorie wise for my workout.

Ok, If you can’t run then an elliptical a great second option. The one plus of an elliptical over a treadmill is that it may be better for your joints. But I think a little high impact training through running is awesome for bone density building. As long as you’re properly stretching and foam rolling after the run you should be ok for joint issues.

The truth is you need to do you! This is what works for me. Find what works for your workout and stick with it!

Bottom line: In my mind there is an absolute hands down winner – the treadmill.

Sleep Drive

23 Feb

We are all familiar with sex drive, but what about the concept of craving sleep so much that we actually disrupt it?

According to a recent study from researchers at Ryerson University, the strategies we use to combat insomnia, like drinking wine or taking sleeping pills, are actually causing mental stimulation and, unfortunately, keeping us wide awake.

If you’ve ever taken a sleeping pill or had one to many glasses of wine before bed you are probably familiar with the deep slumber sleep you initially experience. The first 5 hours of your sleep is amazing, but just like with any other quick fix there are consequences. You wake up BING at 3 am with wide eyes ready to start the day! The problem is now you can’t get back to sleep and you so desperately desire to. You won’t have another glass of wine at 3 am or take a sleeping pill because then you will be zonked until noon. And so begins the cycle of desperately seeking sleep.

Last year when I was in England I was living the life of a trophy wife for three months, and as you probably guessed it didn’t sit well with me! I was really bored and when my boyfriend came home from work I had a healthy meal ready and red wine every night with dinner. Hey, I had nothing to do except my nails and exercise so it was a nice break from the boredom! The nightly wine drinking habit really altered my sleeping patterns. I actually started to depend on my two glasses of wine, not for the taste but for it’s sleep inducing capabilities. After about three weeks we decided that we would limit our wine to weekends only – just Friday and Saturday … not Sunday – I tried that! It took awhile for my sleeps to get back to normal but I certainly notice a huge difference for the better now.

What to do if you want a better sleep tonight:

Cut the wine out or way back. Women should only have a glass max a night and men two. There is a fine line before going overboard and disrupting sleep. The minute you feel tipsy that’s when your sleep will likely be disrupted.

Drop the sleeping pills, they just aren’t good good for you in the long run.

Exercise also helps a lot! The recommended dose of cardio is 150 minutes every week. Those who log that experience 65% better sleeps than those of you that aren’t getting that in. So go for a run!

Sleep tight everyone!!

How to: Make your Curls Last

22 Feb

The key is in the angle of the curling iron!

Here is what I used to do:

I would start from the bottom and curl my hair underneath itself. These curls wouldn’t hold for long because the weight of your own hair pulls the curl out. You’re curling your hair in an unnatural shape when you hold the iron this way.

Now here’s how I make curls last a full night:

Take your arm up and over your head so that the iron forms a natural curl shape in your hair. This way your curls will stay in form for much longer!

Start from the top and curl hair around the iron until you reach the bottom.

Leave the clamp open to avoid any crinkly lines in your hair.

Once you’ve held your hair in the roller for 10-15 seconds unravel it in your hand and hold it in place for another 2-3 seconds – this really helps set the curl!

Notice the difference? The properly curled hair is on the right.

My final piece of advice here is use really good hairspray. I use kerastase double force hairspray and a 1-inch curling iron from Conair – invest in the hairspray over the iron.

Happy curling!

What to do When you Stop Losing Weight

21 Feb

Ok I know this might come as a shock to some of you but contrary to popular celebrity diet claims it is not normal to lose more than 5-10 lbs a week. It just doesn’t happen. So first thing first I want you to be real with yourselves. A weight loss of 1-2lbs per week is normal and amazing!

Let’s just get some basic math out of the way here. One pound of fat = 3,600 calories. That means if you lose two pounds in one week you’ve created a deficit of over 7,000 calories (1,000 per day) which is tough to do. If you consider the average 45 minute workout burns around 500 calories and a typical snack has 300 calories that’s like cutting out all your snacks and working out everyday. Creating a 1,000 calorie deficit daily is difficult. So be proud of every pound!

When you hit a weight loss plateau, or you even start to gain some fat back here are the key things you should be doing to avoid total sabotage and stay on track:

  • Whatever you do for goodness sakes stop weighing yourselves at night! I am amazed how many smart people I train that actually do this. The truth is you want to put on weight during the day – a one to two pound gain means you’re well hydrated. Weigh yourself a maximum of once a week at the same time (first thing Friday)
  • Don’t give up – consistency is key. If you are trying to lose weight you really need to be working out 5-6 days a week. Not 2-3, that’s for maintenance. It’s tempting to give up but STAY STRONG and focus.
  • Stop repeating the same workouts over and over in the gym. If you haven’t changed your routine at the gym in the past 3 months then you are probably doomed in the weight loss department. Your body adapts very quickly, you need to constantly be increasing the stimulus in order to stimulate fat loss. Don’t get comfortable, keep striving for more. See my interval running post and plyometric workout for examples of how to spice things up.
  • Typically whenever I’m in a gym, which is often I look around and usually only 20% of the people are actually exercising. The other 80% are wasting their time – don’t be in that 80. One simple rule of thumb I follow is if I can read a magazine then it is not a workout. You should be dripping sweat within 5-10 minutes of starting your workout.

Most importantly though believe in yourself and your body! You can do this and will do this. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you didn’t put all your weight on in a week. It could take time but once you’re at your goal that time will be totally worth it! Good luck!!