Tag Archives: Work Out

Weight Training: Just Do It

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Bonsoir, Mes Amis

I should probably be going to bed, well, 40 minutes ago, but my eyes aren’t quite ready to shut down for the night, so here I am. My body, on the other hand, is pretty darn exhausted. I went rock climbing this evening with Max – I hadn’t gone since Saturday, and whenever I take a larger gap the first day back is always a little rough. Entirely worth it, though 😉

Which sorta, kinda leads me into the point of this post. As you probably now, I work out. I rock climb as often as humanely possible, but I also weight train at my fitness gym roughly two times a week. Yes, I said weight train.

For some reason, people tend to have this silly idea that weight training can make women look like female mega-bulky buff machines. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I pretty much exclusively weight train and I am definitely not buff . Am I strong? You bet. Do I have muscles? Mmmhm. However, I do not look remotely buff. I look toned, thanks to weight training.

Too many individuals are under the impression that cardio is the way to slim down and look like models. News flash: there is this thing called photo shop, cardio only works a portion of your muscles, and to achieve even that you need to rotate machines frequently, and also, those models don’t eat. Like, at all. I eat whatever the hell I want when I want, and I’m pretty content with myself. Granted, I eat healthy things, but my food is delicious. Boo-yah! In my opinion, cardio is pedestrian, so I only use it for a warm-up, or if I’m feeling less enthused I will pop a squat on the stationary bike and read a book (two birds, one stone). That being said, it does have its place in the world; it’s just not the way to achieve results.

Okay, I’m getting a little off topic here. Back to selling you on resistance training. First of all, what is resistance training?

It is an activity that involved some form of resistance against a muscle contraction.

You can use many types of equipment for resistance/weight training, such as free weights, weight machines, cable machines, rubber resistance bands, or even the weight of your own body, as well as gravity.
I would recommend incorporating all of the above mentioned into your workout, for they all have their own unique benefits. For instance, machines allow you to slowly add weight, free weights help with stability, cable machines allow you to move in several different planes of motion, which can activate certain stabilizing muscles as well as core strength, and resistance bands are said to aid your central nervous system.

Now, let’s look into some of the benefits associated with this glorious thing known as weight training.

  1. Via weight training, you buildup body strength as a whole as well as core stability. This leads to a healthy spine (shoulders back, head up, chest out!) and a body that won’t behave in a dysfunctional manner.
  2. When you build muscle mass, you are promoting healthy and strong bones. Ladies over the age of 40 who are at risk for osteoporosis: this applies to you.
  3. Resistance training increases your anaerobic power, which is highly beneficial if you are an athlete, either competitively or in a recreational sense.
  4. Working out with weights works your brain! It makes your brain healthier and helps it function at a higher level, as well as increasing coordination and alertness; and who doesn’t love that.
  5. Your flexibility will also increase (believe me; I used to be atrocious in the flexibility department, and weight training has worked wonders), which leads to healthier muscles and a better range of motion. Please make sure you stretch regularly though, and preferably when your muscles are already a little bit warmed up.
  6. Lifting weights helps with a multitude of changes in body composition, such as decreasing body fat percentage and increasing lean muscle mass. What does this mean? You will be looking fabulous.
  7. Finally, overall you will just feel better! Working out releases serotonin, the happiness neurotransmitter, and you can’t hate that.

… Thus ends my spiel on why you should weight train. If anyone has any specific questions (or if you want me to woop yah into shape at the gym), don’t hesitate. For now though, I must be hitting the hay. Au revoir!

Work-Out Recovery, Initiated

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Bonjour mes beaux amis!

As you may or may not know, I am a mild exercise junkie. Whether it be rock climbing, horseback riding, hula hooping or working specific body parts by lifting weights at my gym, I make it a point to move my body in a beneficial way 6 times a week – and 9 times out of 10 I meet my goal! It’s such a great habit to get into, and after a while it sort of becomes an addiction due to the amount of endorphins your body releases when you work that body. Win-win scenario, yes? YES.

However, there is rhyme and reason to working out and letting your muscles recover, which is what I would like to focus on specifically in this post. This is some useful information, so although it looks long and daunting, please read on!

This is a picture of me rock climbing - before I got my own gear!

Rock Climbing – I’m the one on the wall!

What should you do to let your body recover after a work-out? Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

Cool: Let your body cool down and chill out in a slow fashion. When you stop your intensive exercises but continue to keep your body moving, you help your muscles repair themselves by dispersing lactic acid as well as helping your blood carry oxygen throughout your body. You may want to directly leave the gym after your intense exercises are done, but don’t! After my hard routines, I will go into the cardio cinema and walk on the treadmill for 10-20 minutes while watching a movie. If you don’t have a cinema at your gym, just hop on the treadmill or walk around the track to let your body heal itself a little bit.

Drink: This one should be a no-brainer, I hope. You absolutely must replace the fluids and electrolytes that your body loses during exercise, so slug back that elixir of life with two hydrogen’s and one oxygen. Water is the key for all the metabolic and digestive functions that your body will need to perform in order to recover. Personally, I try to avoid drinks like Gatorade; they are full of things that your body really doesn’t need, and can even have a negative effect on the body. Stick with what we’re made of – choose water. Ideally, you should be drinking it before, during and after work-outs, and not just afterwards.

Eat: In order to recover, you need to have fuel in your body, which is what we acquire when we eat. Nutrition is the best way to make sure that your body repairs itself after exercise. Now, you don’t necessarily have to be eating to refuel; you can get the same amount of nutrients (sometimes even more) via drinking things like green smoothies, so don’t rule that out! Just make sure that your belly is having natural and whole foods put inside of it after a workout so that your body can make the most of what it just did. To maximize your workout, consume the same number of calories that you burned within 30-minutes of completion. If you do, your muscles will readily accept the carbohydrates and protein, storing them as valuable energy and building blocks for recovery.

Stretch: I used to mainly stretch before my work-outs, which still isn’t a bad idea, but I have since switched to stretching out after the majority of my work-out is complete (concerning the gym; when rock climbing I still stretch beforehand). Stretching is what will help you not become stiff, as well as aiding in circulation, which is also vitally important.

Sleep: DUH. 6-8 hours everyday, people. The link between sleep and wellness is a glaring one. When you allow your body time to rest, you also allow the temple that is your body to naturally recover and produce Growth Hormone, which is accomplished during sleep. Sleep is, quite frankly, one of the best and easiest things that you can do for yourself. Plus, I personally feel like a million bucks when I get enough sleep every night – ain’t nothing wrong with feeling awesome!

My Saint Joseph's Day outfit!

My Saint Joseph’s Day Outfit!

Remember: recovering is one of the most important components to achieving one’s fitness, performance and wellness goals. To get the body you desire, you need your tissue and muscles to repair properly as well as rebuild, and that can take up to 2 days! The most crucial chunk of time is the 30-minute window immediately following exercise, so spend it wisely – if you don’t ingest the proper nutrition within this 30-minute period, your body won’t recover properly. Instead, your muscle tissue will breakdown in order to supply your body with the energy it needs, and at that point your whole work-out may be wasted. >_<

Another interesting piece of information that you may find useful: when you exercise for longer than 60-minutes without refueling your body with nutrients, you actually wind up burning fewer calories and less fat than if you had eaten during that time. Not something you want to hear, huh?
To combat this, try eating 50-100 calories of a fast-absorbing carbohydrate every 30-minutes, like raisins, an energy bar or a beneficial shake. You don’t want to replace every calorie that you burn during your work-out; instead, ingest just enough fuel to keep your body in an anabolic, or muscle-building, state.

Lastly, my darlings, please PLEASE make sure that you know what you are putting inside your body; that means none of the following: MSG, GMOs, Trans Fat, Added Sugar, Preservatives, Artificial Flavors, Hydrogenated Oils, Synthetic Sweeteners and High Fructose Corn Syrup.
If you ingest food items with these additives, you may actually be doing more harm than good to your awesome self. That is something that I don’t want!! You are too beaufiul to treat your body like a garbage can.

Do you have trouble figuring out a good post-workout meal? The ideal one is actually pretty easy; create a liquid that incorporates about 3 parts carbs to 1 part protein. If you make a shake that has the same amount of calories that you burned, your metabolism will remain high, your glorious muscles will have the protein that they need to rebuild, and your entire body will recover in a more efficient and beneficial manner.
I’ll start concocting some smoothies that fit this criteria for you guys on Saturday when I have the day off. They’ll be delicious! In the meantime, here’s a good skeleton model for creating green smoothies:

Green Smoothie

If you are worried about calorie counting, then have a smaller lunch and dinner, DON’T cut calories after your work-out. That is not the time! For the best health, you should have 5-7 slow-absorbing (“Low Glycemic”) meals everyday – minus the post-workout meal – with your largest meal being a few hours before your work-out.

…. Phew. That was a lot of stuff. I hope that it was worth your while; I definitely learned a bunch while doing the research! Stay glorious my loves.

Pleasantly Pampered

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The other day, I did a double session, going to both Gold’s Gym to do a leg workout and The Rock Spot with Max to get in a nice rock climbing night session. Then, again this afternoon, I went back to The Rock Spot since I had the day off – woohoo!

From all the [awesome] physical exertion I’ve been addicted to doing, my body is plum tuckered out… so I thought I would treat myself to a nice relaxing bath; I went all out, utilizing my own homemade bath salts along with some senorita margarita bubble bath that my sister got me for Christmas. The set-up was divine and just what the doctor ordered.

Bubble Bath

Candle, Bath Salts, Bubbles… need I say more?

The “flavor” bath salts that I went with today were Honey and Oat. 

Want to to know why/the benefits??

Honey was Cleopatra’s preferred method for beauty, and science has since proven that she had the right idea. Honey, especially when it is raw/unpasteurized (I used raw honey in my recipe), is a fantastic all-natural ingredient for the skin. It is loaded with antioxidants, which are good for wrinkles and aging skin; it is antibacterial, helping to treat and even prevent acne, it clarifies skin by opening up and unclogging pores, and it is a great moisturizer that soothes your skin/irritations/blemishes, and honey leaves you glowing.
Oats are also an amazing natural beauty enhancer… and they also are considered to be one of nature’s most potent aphrodisiacs (good to know with Valentine’s Day around the corner!!!). So, how do oats help? They soothe and heal the skin while also reducing inflammation – a huge cause of premature aging. Since oats have a rougher texture, they make a perfect natural exfoliate, softening the skin and making it smooth as silk. Oats also have been known to help those who suffer from dry skin, mosquito bites and eczema (they’re also hypoallergenic), and I used organic, natural oats in mine, adding to the awesomeness.

SOOO, I vote that you should go grab some bath salts or bubble bath (or both), a scented candle, a good book or some relaxing music and maybe even a glass of wine, then go have a little “me” time just relishing in the warm water, letting your mind, body and soul unwind. It’s a necessary thing to do every so often, especially during the winter months.
Take my word for it! 😉