Tag Archives: fitness

Commando Man – Part two

IMG_8948

As you know from my post yesterday, I spent some time this weekend playing around on the internet.  I found my photo in a tattoo gallery and the caption writer was questioning whether I was a man going commando or a woman.  Apparently, it’s hard for some people to tell because I found another photo of mine posted on a different website.  The photo happened to be one of my favorites.  I was number 13 in the gallery titled, “21 American Flag Bikinis To Celebrate.”  The caption on the photo was quite nice…”Showing off the strength of America.”  What I really got a kick out of was the comment section.

IMG_8946

 

IMG_8947

The last comment, that’s cut off in the screenshot was something like “What’s up with that dude?”  It seems the consensus was that I look like a man who maybe looks like Michelle Obama or something like that.  Was I upset?  Not at all.  I LOVE it.  I felt the same way I did when a lady asked me if I did manual labor for a living because my arms were so muscular.  I was amused…almost giddy with delight because it means my hard work is visible in the photo.  I know the aesthetic I prefer isn’t for everyone and it makes me happy to think that someone noticed the results of my dedication enough to call me “gross” or a “man.”  What’s the old expression?

FlakOverTarget_zps283xqlh4

That’s right!  I must be over the target.  BRING. IT. ON.  The only bad part is that now I’m all revved up and wanting to pack more of that beautiful muscle on my frame.  My workouts have been incredible the last few days and consequently, my entire body is sore.  So sore.  If you see me hobbling down the street, I might not be able to raise my arm to wave to you but I know you’ll understand if I just smile!

664ed230c3883a3675bc3b4803cd9120

Passing It On

My family and I spent a bit of time in the mountains around Independence Day.  It was a great trip and we were blessed to have friends and family for guests most of that time.

LJR

Me with my boys. We celebrate Independence Day in grand style at my house!

One of my favorite young people, my 11 year old niece, came along for a few of those days.  When she walked into the cabin, she saw my pull up bar in one of the doorways and asked what it was for.  I told her it was what I used for one of my exercises and demonstrated pull ups using different grips so she could see what I was talking about.  She looked at me for a minute and said “I can’t do pull ups.”  I told her she most certainly could and that the only reason she couldn’t is that she thought she couldn’t.

Whether-you-think-you-can-or-whether-you-think-you-cannot-you-are-right

I explained that she probably only tried to use her arms to accomplish the task and explained that what she should be thinking about is using her back muscles (which are much stronger) to help her get her chest up to the bar.  I could tell she was contemplating that for a while.

33646fc7bda729ca146e35e468f0e049

Yes, your biceps do work to get you up to the bar but your back is where your power is in this exercise.

The next day, my younger son and I were doing a workout.  We’ve been concentrating on compound, large muscle group exercises to help him make an easy transition into his upcoming football season and she asked to join us.  I told her that would be fine but pull ups were part of the routine and that she had to try.  She agreed and did a great job keeping up with what we were doing.  I modified some of the exercises for her (like having her do bent knee push ups) so that she’d be successful and before long, it was time for pull ups.  I told her once again that she absolutely COULD do pull ups and reminded her to visualize using the muscles in her back.

Lo and behold, she did not one, not two but three complete pull ups!  They weren’t consecutive but each one was perfect.  I gave her lots of praise and made sure that everyone knew about her little victory.  I was very proud of her and she was proud of herself.  I joked with her about getting her a pull up bar for Christmas and turning her into a workout phenom.

DSCN2823

Getting those pull ups done. She did three!

When it was time to go home, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Auntie Lynn…I really DO want a pull up bar for Christmas.”

…and a pull up bar, she shall receive!  There’s nothing I like better than passing on my love for fitness.

Independence Day – 2017

“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.  We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.  Happy Fourth of July.” (Ronald Reagan)

Enjoy your day!

Independence Day

 

 

 

 

Wait…What’s my count?

IMG_8728

…And that about explains my current condition!  I think my face looked just like that when I was halfway through my morning walk with the dogs and I realized that I didn’t have my Fitbit on.  Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how much I’ve come to enjoy seeing my step count at the end of each day.  I often challenge myself to see if I can go farther each week, or how high I can get the count in a single day or hour.  It’s another great way to motivate me to stretch beyond my previous boundaries.  I just can’t forget to strap it on at the start of the day!

DSCN2707

My favorite walking companions. We get lots of steps in together!

 

Dance Flower! Dance!

Fitbit Alta HR

Now and then, in a quest to keep thing fresh and moving forward, I like to try something new.  To that end, I got a Fitbit Alta HR a few weeks ago.  I thought it might be nice to have a way to track my steps each day.  The Fitbit researchers decided, upon the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control, to start everyone on a 10,000 step per day goal.  I’ve since moved mine up to a 12,000 step a day goal which better suits my needs.  I walk the dogs every morning so that takes care of a lot of the requirement but then I find times during the day to walk to make up the difference.

Besides walking each day I also row using a rowing machine and lift weights.  The tracker allows me to add distance (for the rowing) and time to my overall activity minutes but those activities don’t count toward my step goal.  So in addition to my 12,000 step a day minimum I can also keep track of other activities like lifting, running, playing tennis, jumping rope etc.

I figured I would get some benefit out of having the Fitbit but it turns out it’s provided great motivation for me.  One of the clock faces you can choose from, has a flower on it.  When you’re not very active, for instance if you’re sitting at a desk working on a paper, the flower is short with just one a bud.  If you start moving around, the flower will grow taller, sprout more leaves, bloom and finally dance.  Oh my goodness, the things I’ve done to get that flower to dance!

One day I was waiting for a friend at the hospital and although I had my 12,000 steps for the day, my poor flower was just a sad looking little thing.  I went to a quiet corner and started marching in place (that counts for walking…and if you lift your knees high, is an excellent exercise).  Now, that was an odd thing to be doing, alone in a hallway and sure enough a nurse caught me as she came out of a stairwell next to where I was happily marching.  I stopped and just looked at her.  She said “Oh, you’re trying to get your steps, right?” Then she showed me the Fitbit she was wearing, the strap of which happened to be color coordinated with her scrubs.  We had a good laugh.  She went about her business and I kept on marching until that flower danced!

IMG_8566

I’ve got the Fitbit set so that it will give me friendly reminders to move when I’ve been still too long.  That’s a handy tool, since most of the time, I can get up and do a quick few steps.  If I can’t, it thankfully won’t bug me but the awareness that I’ve been sedentary for a significant period of time is a good little nudge to move around a little bit.

I’d say the Fitbit was an excellent purchase and I don’t even use most of it’s capability.  I don’t care to track my sleep, use the calorie counter or connect with other people for fitness challenges.  This particular model of Fitbit is very slim and unobtrusive and will track your heart rate. 

534560-fitbit-alta-hr

Because it’s so slim, I think this model is marketed primarily toward women. I know there are Fitbits with wider bands that will fit a man’s wrist well.

It came with a black strap but if you go on Amazon you can order generic brand straps in a rainbow of colors to fit it.  They’re quite inexpensive.  I got a large assortment for a very reasonable price.   I even got one in leopard print.  Naturally, since I got all the colors, I find myself wearing the black strap every day.

fitbit-alta-hr-colours

The straps come in every color you can imagine and there are lots of patterned straps too. They’re easy to switch out.

If you find yourself lacking in motivation and bored with your traditional way of tracking  your workouts, you might want to consider getting a Fitbit.  It just may provide a fun and amusing way to encourage you.

Rise And Grind!

I’ve had times in my life when all my regular workouts took place after 7:00pm.  I’d go to work, come home, eat dinner and then head out to the gym.  I’d usually get back around 9:15pm.  I did that for years because that’s what my schedule allowed.  These days I do most of my workouts in the morning.  Given the two choices, I far prefer exercising in the morning.  That’s because after a good workout, I can start the rest of my day with a feeling of accomplishment.  It automatically sets my mood in the relaxed/happy part of the emotional grid and that’s a wonderful mindset to have when facing the challenges each day brings.  Obviously, getting a workout in, no matter what time is preferable to not doing any type of fitness activity at all but there are advantages to kickstarting the day with exercise.

b271412732dfe4e4a0d4f9524684f60c

The following article by Melih F. Cologlu delves into the topic and posits some sound reasons to try and get those workouts in early in the day if you can.

Not a morning trainer? Too bad for you. Here are 8 reasons why those who work out in the a.m. have a big advantage.

Awhile back, a study came out that said your testosterone levels were higher in the morning—as if you needed a study to tell you that. Afterward, I heard and read a lot of talk about how the morning was therefore the best time to work out.[1]

Yet it’s not that simple, because of this little thing called “life.” The fact of the matter is that for most of us, the time we choose to work out corresponds with the time we have available, which explains why most gyms are typically packed after the work hours.

But perhaps we can give you a compelling reason—in fact, eight great reasons—to wake up a little earlier to hit the gym rather than save it for later in your day. Withhold judgment about how you’re not a morning person until you fully absorb all the advantages of morning training.

1. It’s Easier To Follow High-Volume Training Systems

Trying to do a triset or a giant set is all but impossible in a packed gym. This guy over here wants to work in. That girl over there wants to steal your dumbbells. Others cast an evil eye your way for hogging so much equipment. They would have a point—if the gym was crowded.

But it’s not, because you were ready to rise and grind before everyone else. Yep, it’s much easier to complete these types of training programs when the facility is less crowded. That just happens to be in the morning.

2. Your Hormones Are Working To Your Advantage

As mentioned, in the early morning hours, crucial hormones (i.e., testosterone) that help build muscle mass are elevated in the body. By exercising in the morning, you’re taking advantage of these naturally circulating hormones as they’re peaking, rather than later in the day when they’re lower.

3. It Leaves Times For Other Priorities

I may make a living from the gym, but it’s still not my number one priority. Nothing is more important than family. Clearly there’s a trade-off between the amount of time you spend in the gym and the amount of time you can spend at home. Which is why slicing off a small segment, like you can in the morning, is usually better than in the evening, when you have to fight rush hour, navigate a crowded gym environment, get home to shower, and allot whatever’s left for your family. The math simply works better if you get your workout done in the morning.

4. You’ll Be More Focused When You Reach The Office Or School

A bout of exercise increases your focus on the next activity, because your body is aroused. What follows a morning workout? For most people, it’s the office or school. Hence, one of the advantages of working out in the morning is that you’re more alert during those later hours.

5. You’ll Be Less Likely To Skip Your Workout

It may take a cup of coffee to get your morning going, but once you’re up, there are few distractions on your way to the gym. But later in the day, any number of distractions can sabotage your workout: less motivation, fatigue, the gang is going out for some drinks, a sick child, an overdue report for work or school.

If you’ve already completed your workout, you can simply roll with whatever obstacles come up later in the evening without feeling bad that you missed another day. You’re far more likely to be consistent with your training if you get it done early in the day rather than waiting for later.

6. Your Metabolic Rate Will Receive A Quick Boost

Without a doubt, exercise can boost your metabolic rate. The degree depends on your current fitness level and the kind of activity you choose. All other things being equal, working out in the morning will help to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories for the rest of the day. This phenomenon is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

7. You Won’t Have As Many Distractions

Chances are pretty good that you train with a number of friends, which makes socializing pretty easy. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s easy for a short gabfest to turn a productive workout into one where you barely break a sweat. If you’re serious about getting results and not wasting your time, you’ll want to spend your gym time with minimal distractions.

You can bet that people who get up in the wee hours are more serious about their workouts. From my personal experience, the chances of someone distracting your workout is much less likely in the morning.

8. Your Mood Will Improve

You’re probably familiar with the notion that some workouts release endorphins, feel-good hormones that are increased following exercise of sufficient intensity and duration.[2] But you don’t have to do hours of cardio to feel good about yourself; heck, you’ve just completed your workout for the day.

 

Nothing feels better than having a good workout under your belt, especially if you’re prone to blowing them off at night. Which is why there’s no better way to get your day started. You can boost your mood and sense of accomplishment by just be setting your alarm clock for a little earlier.

Rise And Grind

If you don’t train regularly in the morning, you may find that, at first, your performance suffers during anaerobic exercise (like bodybuilding-type training) as compared to late-afternoon workouts. Nevertheless, you can make larger improvements in exercise performance if you make morning training regular; that is, you do it consistently.3 So if you’re new to morning training, be patient but consistent with your a.m. workouts.

Yes it’s tough to get up in the morning, let alone try to complete a good workout. Soon enough, however, with consistency you’ll see your performance skyrocket and you’ll have a slew of good reasons that justify setting that alarm just a little bit earlier. For those of us who are already there bright and early, the secret is out!

References
  1. Resko, J. A., & Eik-Nes, K. B. (1966). Diurnal testosterone levels in peripheral plasma of human male subjects. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 26(5), 573-576.
  2. Goldfarb, A. H., & Jamurtas, A. Z. (1997). B-Endorphin response to exercise. Sports Medicine, 24(1), 8-16.
  3. Chtourou, H., & Souissi, N. (2012). The effect of training at a specific time of day: a review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(7), 1984-2005.

The Secret

img_7587

This meme tells my story.  There are plenty of days I walk into the gym in my street clothes.  Often, I have things on my mind…I’m trying to solve a life riddle, or figure out the answer to a particular problem.  I’m feeling rather subdued, even serious.

BUT

I change into my workout clothes, get my Ipod fired up and hit the weights.  After a few minutes, my internal transformation begins.  You can’t worry or think too deeply when you’re in the middle of a heavy set.  It’s wonderfully liberating and you can actually feel any burdens you’re carrying getting lighter. 

There’s something called a “runner’s high.”  I don’t run but I do get that same feeling when things are clicking in the gym.  It’s exhilarating and freeing.  When it kicks in, I most definitely feel like Wonder Woman…beautifully strong, capable and happy. 

It’s the transformational secret of the gym that all serious lifters come to know and love!

Ladies Who Lift

That’s me in the crystal ball.  More than 25 years ago, I saw a magazine with natural, female bodybuilders in it and my life changed.  I loved the look of all that beautiful muscle and that’s what drew me to the gym.  I never managed to put on as much muscle as I wanted but I certainly changed my physique for the better and along the way discovered all the wonderful benefits (like stress reduction) that bodybuilding brings into your life.

More than once, I had someone (usually a well meaning relative) tell me not to “get any bigger” that “muscles aren’t feminine” or that I was starting to “look like a man.”  They didn’t appreciate the aesthetic I love so much but save a few moments of thought the first couple of times it happened, the advice had no effect whatsoever on my determination in the gym.

Here’s to all the ladies who, like me, think women with a little muscle on their bones are gorgeous!

img_7599

tumblr_nq5mehrm491rxaph0o1_1280

img_7592

 

img_7596

 

 

img_7602

img_7597

de580b99348f4aa94ec49feeacb9bf5f

3465931_f520

 

Progress Report (1-30-17)

lynn-january

I’ve been working out on my Total Gym at home during the month of January.  I’ve found ways to make it challenging and it’s been a fun change for me.  The one and only sticking point I have is that I’m not able to do rows effectively with it.  My back is quite strong and I tried to hold a 45lb plate on my lap to make it more challenging when rowing but it’s awkward and I gave up on that idea.  I have other equipment at  home that I use for rows so it’s not stopping me from giving my back good workouts.

I’ve been able to maintain a reasonable amount of muscle.  I’m not very lean at the moment and that shows too.  My lack of striations has everything to do with my diet and it’s easily remedied.  I simply need to tone down my carb intake, increase my cardio a little and I’ll lean out.  At this very moment, I’m happy and will stick to my current program for February.  When March rolls around I’ll make the appropriate changes in my diet and cardio and that will ease me into summer bikini weather in a nice, smooth way.

My Total Gym workouts have been so enjoyable.  They remind me of how much easier it is to get and stay fit when you truly enjoy your workout time!

5320fffa090aa6a4ab64fbdc71a240b0

Plan Ahead

img_7585

O.K.  Perhaps that meme, although funny,  is a little over the top.  Nevertheless, when you’re interested in keeping your diet on the clean side, a little planning is in order.  If you don’t want to get caught without something quick and healthy to eat during the week, it helps to shop and prepare several meals ahead of time.  I do this for lunches, in particular. because if I’m out and about and get too hungry, I’m much more likely to make bad choices.  I can’t tell you how great an enormous bag of potato chips,  big serving of french fries or a massive piece of chocolate cake seems when I’m starving.

Each weekend I take time out to decide what I want to eat for my lunches (I eat two a day…one at about 10:30 and one about 2:00).  I make sure it’s something nutritious and not too high in calories.  I shop so I have what I need on hand and then I do what I can to get all the food ready to go.  For instance, if I want sliced chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, I’ll grill the chicken breasts on Saturday.  I slice it up, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  That way it’s super easy to make sandwiches in the morning before I head out.  I don’t have to scramble for ideas or ingredients.

junk-foods-1

How about a little lunch?

A little bit of thought ahead of time helps you avoid disasters.  You know, just like I do, that if you make a meal of Krispy Kreme doughnuts you might like the taste while you’re eating them but the way you feel afterwards is less than ideal.  It’s so much better to rely on regular, healthy meals and to save the doughnuts for well considered treats now and then.

Although the meme is a little silly, it’s good to remember that having a meal plan in place goes a long way in helping avoid diet disasters.

 

%d bloggers like this: