Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Attention all my 30-something girlfriends

I have found the answer to the question I feel like so many of my friends and coworkers struggle with. "I'm doing cardio almost every day and I'm eating well. Why can't I lose any weight or see real results?"

Know what the answer is?

Wait for it . . .WEIGHT TRAINING.

I swear, it is most often the critical missing link to all of our workouts. I think of the 2 programs I've done in the past that have really TRANSFORMED my body. P90X and Body for Life. Both promote a balance of cardio and weight training with 6 sensible meals per day.

Don't be afraid of the weight, ladies. Muscle is your friend. The more muscle mass you build, the more efficiently your body burns fat. I know everyone is afraid of getting too bulky. Trust me, if you're doing just 20 minutes of challenging interval cardio just 3 days a week, eating 6 sensible meals per day packed with lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and lifting HEAVY weights 3 days per week - I promise you, you will NOT get bulky.

At first, you may actually GAIN some weight. I'm not talking double digits or anything, but typically, when I start a new weight training program, after slacking for months, I typically gain 3-4 pounds the first 1-2 weeks. You CANNOT let this discourage you. You are working hard to build a fat-burning body, and you will gain a few pounds at first. This is a GOOD thing.
If you continue with this routine, you can even take 1 day a week to relax the "diet" and eat the pizza, ice cream, doughnuts, chocolate - whatever your weakness is. It is so important to take advantage of this "cheat" day. It gives you the opportunity to not deprive yourself of your most guilty culinary pleasures. It's also a great mental milestone to help you get through the week. If on Monday you're craving the M&M's, just think to yourself, "I get to have some on my cheat day on Saturday". Knowing you can have them eventually, gives you the strength to avoid them on your 6 non-cheating days during the week.

So let's get into the weight training. You really should be trying to lift some actual weight - not 5 or 8 pounds, I'm talking 4 sets of 20-15-12-8 reps respectively and each set you should be really struggling on the last few reps - so make sure you've got 15's. 20's and even some 30's handy. And if you're feeling really adventurous, do a fifth set back at 20 reps with the weights you started with. I recommend working 2 body parts per session. Chest and triceps one day, Shoulders and back another day, biceps and legs a third day. Switch it up - change is good.
Your workouts with weights should last about 45 minutes total. You should perform 3-5 different exercises per body part and rest 60 seconds between reps and up to 2 minutes between sets.

Some other tips:
1) Take the time to work with a professional to learn different exercises with proper form
2) Drink water, drink water, drink water, drink water
3) Don't forget to eat. 6 small sensible meals every day (1200-1800 calories a day)
4) I love Myoplex Lite shakes as a meal replacement since I never have enough time to cook
5) I love www.myfooddiary.com to track my meals, exercise and body transformation progress
6) If you feel like you are starving, you probably are. Starving won't get you in shape.
7) You are worth 60 minutes a day!!

Stay tuned for progress on my transformation!
Bring on the MUSCLE!

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's OK in 2010

Buh-bye 2009. My immediate family had a great 2009. My hubby and I have jobs, the kids are doing well in school and everyone is relatively healthy. Many friends have new babies, new marriages, new pregnancies, new jobs, new schools - all very exciting and positive. Others are struggling - losing jobs, losing homes, getting divorced, being diagnosed and dying.

I've decided to make 2010 my year of love and positivity. I am going to do my best to stop complaining or focusing on what I don't have. I am going to love my kids more, love my husband more and love myself period. I will put my family first in all instances. The rest of the junk I obsess over - the hair, the body, the face, the clothes, the keeping up with the Jones's, etc. will all have to take a backseat.
I know I'm not the prettiest, the wealthiest, the skinniest, the wittiest, the most popular, the sexiest, the smartest, the most organized. That's OK. I will be my very best and that will include some version of pretty, wealthy, skinny, witty, popular, sexy, smart and organized. Some days will suck and others will be awesome. That's still OK.

Now, the 2009 version of me would spend time reminding everyone what I DIDN'T do last year, like taking ballet classes (even thought I spent $100 on supplies), like finishing the second P90X workouts, like entering a 5k race, keeping up with my blog, etc. But I'm not going to be negative anymore, (that much). Only positive, (most of the time).

So on that note, I'll tell you the top 10 things I DID do in 2009:

1) I quit smoking (not even a puff since 8/11/09).
2) I baked desserts with my kids.
3) I reminded my kids how proud I am of them - often.
4) I dated my husband - almost every week.
5) I had a sleepover in my family room.
6) I watched Forrest Gump with my six year old.
7) I was a very good friend to many.
8) I gave my money, belongings, time, and blood to a wide variety of charitable organizations.
9) I joined the National Bone Marrow Registry.
10) I added more fiber to my diet.

Here's to continuing the good stuff and eliminating the bad stuff in 2010!