Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

We’re planning a brunch wedding shower for my sister next month, and I needed some good food ideas (not that it’s a difficult task, brunch is my favorite meal!). Sara sent along this delicious recipe from Whole Foods that I knew I’d have to try. I did a test run recently on a rare Sunday when my husband was off work, and we both loved it.

Quinoa egg bake fresh from the oven

The dish was quick, simple, had few ingredients, and reheated well. I actually thought it was better the second day, and it was nice to have a fast and hot breakfast before work. Quinoa is a great plant source of protein, and eggs and garlic are superfoods as well.

...and on my plate!

We rounded out the brunch meal with Al Fresco apple chicken sausage (which I’d never have but highly recommend) and wheat toast with homemade apricot preserves (thanks, Eva!). Yummy way to start a Sunday, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to serving this up at the wedding shower!

– albledsoe

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Review: Wii Fit

I tested out the Wii Fit tonight with Adam after a friend at work loaned it to me. We just tried out the basic features to see what we thought. I have to admit I was very skeptical…fitness in a video game? Really?

When you are a first-time user on the Wii Fit ($99.99, Wii not included), you set up a fitness profile complete with weight, BMI, balance test, etc., and the system gives you your fitness “age.” You also get several tips and facts about fitness. The system emphasizes setting goals, and gives you fun little ways to keep track and meet them.

The “workouts” are divided into several categories: yoga, aerobics, balance, strength. We tried a few from each, and since I scored pretty low on balance during my assessment, I focused on the balance games. I’m pretty terrible at video games, so it took me awhile to get the hang of things, but some of the exercises were better than others. I enjoyed the yoga, but was frustrated that it was one pose at a time instead of a series.

Neither of us really worked up a sweat and it took way too long between each activity to get to the next, but I liked how it helped you keep good form because you could see where your center of balance was. It was fun and tracking weight and goals is a good method for motivation. For people who never workout, I think the assessment could be a good wake-up call and maybe encourage them to get moving.

I would be surprised if anyone had remarkable results just from using Wii Fit, but I think it’s a good option to have for families and rainy days, maybe to change things up a little.

– albledsoe

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Your confidence level should be high right now. Really high.

My spin instructor this morning was giving us a way to gauge our ride, about 2/3 of the way through.’ Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘My confidence level is really high. Okay, bring it!’ Amazing how his words made me realize I actually did feel pretty good and was ready to amp up the intensity.

If you’re going to hang out at this level, that’s a perfectly sane and reasonable choice. Or, if you’re feeling strong, go for it and really take it all the way.

His euphemistic way of daring me to give a little more and not be a baby worked; I increased my resistance, sped up my cadence, and mopped the sweat off my brow.

This is when it starts burning.

Oh, okay. I’m supposed to be feeling that. In that case…

You can hang out here if you’re taking it easy today. But if you’re ready to go for it, take it all the way and just getcha some!

After class I wiped off my bike, layered my coat and sweats on over my bike shorts, and trudged through the dark snowy parking lot to my car, but all day long all I can think is “Getcha some!” Like I have the power to take on the day and get whatever I want from it. And don’t I?

– albledsoe

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Burn, baby, burn!

Here’s my new favorite gym workout. It’s a great way to get an intense burn when you’re pressed for time, and I always feel it the next day!

  • 10 minutes on a StairMaster (not a stepper, the machine with the actual revolving stairs). If you don’t have access to a stairmill of some sort, walk on a treadmill fast at a high incline…I’d say level 10. Go hard, it’s only 10 minutes!
  • Weight circuit including: chest press, upright row, shoulder press, tricep press, alternating bicep curls, hip hinge, and wall squats using a stability ball. Try 20 reps of each exercise, using a weight that is uncomfortable but not too too heavy.
  • 10 more minutes on the stairmill. You should really start sweating right about now.
  • Repeat weight circuit with at least the same number of reps as the first set…add 5 more if you’re feeling frisky.
  • Finish up with 10 minutes on the stairmill (no slacking!).
  • If you still have time, do some sort of ab work; I usually do center and side planks.

– albledsoe

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We’re starting the final week of January (where did it go?), and I’m wondering where everyone is as far as their goals for the year. Are you sticking with the resolutions and plans you set on January 1?

In 2010, I want to run the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, the Derby Festival miniMarathon, and compete in my first half-iron distance triathlon. I’ve been training for the running events with a group from my local running store, and yesterday sat down with my training partner Valerie to map out our schedule for the tri. Official training for that begins February 15, and I’m getting very excited!

Needless to say, every day isn’t perfect. In fact, I have a head cold now that’s making me feel very groggy, and I’ve been too busy to get in all the strength training I want. But overall, I’m keeping my goals in sight and try to just keep on keeping on. Having those events on my calendar keeps me focused and motivated.

If you haven’t done much so far in January, don’t worry. There’s still a lot of 2010 left, and plenty of time to reach any goal you set your mind to!

– albledsoe

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Remember the story of the little engine that could? I think I can, I think I can…

That mantra is not only for locomotives. Our bodies and minds work in the same way, in that with determination and mental toughness, our bodies are capable of a lot. Think you’ll never be able to run a marathon? I can pretty much guarantee you won’t. But make up your mind that you can do it, and chances are you’re going to finish.

The second episode of Biggest Loser (Season 9) is on tonight, and I thought it would be appropriate to include this quote on mental toughness from one of the contestants, Tongan cousin Koli Palu:

“As a coach, I know our bodies are amazing things,” said Koli. “That we don’t know the capablities of our bodies. I need my football team to know that you can go that extra step. This is more of a mental game, a mental toughness. As long as you push yourself, the physical part will be there.”

Ever since I ran my first (and only so far) marathon two years ago, I’ve been on the mental toughness bandwagon. I started the race injured, but managed to finish despite my body begging me to call it quits. I’ll always have that, and now it inspires me to get through any other discomforts.

And since I visited San Diego on a business trip in October, where the Navy SEALS train, that’s been reinforced. I signed up for a NAVYSEALS.com e-newsletter, where mental toughness is the ongoing theme. The message of one email was that mental toughness means five things: discipline, clear thinking under stress, calmness amidst chaos, suffering in silence, and familiarity with discomfort. Bottom line: “Quitting is not an option for the mentally tough.”

This keeps me going when I’m feeling whiny and puny and sorry for myself. There are soldiers who put their bodies through unimaginable things. There are people who survive cancer treatments or lost limbs and go on to complete an Ironman. All I did was sit in my office all day and I’m whining about a workout being too hard? Those people are in human bodies, just like me. The only thing that makes them capable of doing more is that mental toughness…they think they can. And they will not quit.

– albledsoe

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Stick it to me

Since I got into endurance sports a few years ago, I’ve heard lots of praise for a gadget called “The Stick.” It was supposed to work wonders for sore, tight areas, especially IT bands, where I’ve had some trouble. So I was super excited this Christmas when Santa Clause brought me one of my very own (well, it was actually from my mother-in-law, but you get the idea).The Stick comes in various sizes, and is a flexible, plastic…well, stick, with spindles that roll independently to stretch and apply pressure to problem zones.

the stick

The Stick

I tested out my stick this afternoon after returning from a run of just over 9 miles. I followed the instructions, which include about 10 recommended exercises for arms, back, neck, and legs, and then added a couple of my own. The verdict? My muscles don’t feel nearly as sore as they did after last week’s run. Plus, using The Stick forced me to take the time to stretch following my workout, which I admit I don’t always do. I think I could use this almost every night and it will help with my general well-being. It’s super easy to use, and small enough to tuck away in a corner or on a shelf (as opposed to the foam rollers which are often recommended for similar use).

If you’re like me and can’t afford weekly massages during training, I would recommend grabbing a Stick of your own. Your body will thank you!

– albledsoe

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My brother sent me this info that Microsoft has applied for a patent for video game avatars that are individualized by a person’s physical characteristics. Interesting, no? That means a player’s abilities in a game would be determined by their actual physical traits. More unfit players wouldn’t be able to reach certain levels until they shaped up! The claim is that gamers would be encouraged to be fitter in order to continue competing in the games they’re hooked on. From the patent app:

Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise. Physiological data that reflect the health and perhaps also mood also improve social interaction in virtual environments.

Do you think this would work? With more people, including kids, spending more of their time with electronics, should this type of incentive be the norm?

– albledsoe

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What’s Next?

You’ve been working hard for months and doing everything right. You diligently burn away calories and make good food choices but that number on the scale just won’t budge. And, those jeans you’ve had your eye on are still a little too snug for your taste. Ah, the dreaded fitness plateau…

First of all, don’t give up! Give yourself a pat on the back and take credit for your new improved healthy lifestyle. You’ve worked hard and you should be proud of this accomplishment. This is no time to fall off the workout wagon. What next? It’s time to add some pizzazz to your workout to get to the next level.

Check out these articles on Workouts For You and EHow.com. Both give some really great advice on how to make manageable changes to your workout that will challenge your body by tweaking the frequency, intensity, time and type of exercises you do.

It’s time to get your fitness routine out of a rut. How do you really know what your body can accomplish if you don’t turn up the heat every now and then? Another benefit to spicing up your routine? You might actually find yourself looking forward to your new and improved workout!

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A leg up

I slipped into the empty group exercise room at my gym the other day to mix things up a little bit. I wanted a different workout that really targeted my legs, and I’d been in the mood for some jump rope. I love jumping rope because I feel like it strengthens my ankles and calves, and it’s an easy way to work up a sweat. My college kickboxing instructor had us jumping rope all the time, but I hadn’t practiced much in the years since then. If you need to brush up on the basics, here’s what the American Council on Exercise has to say about it. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=jump+rope&iid=4221093″ src=”a/c/1/f/Gabrielle_Reece_8779.jpg?adImageId=7846697&imageId=4221093″ width=”234″ height=”352″ /]

My workout went like this:

  • 100 jumps (both feet)
  • side squats across the room and back, holding weights
  • 100 jumps
  • walking lunges
  • 100 jumps
  • step-ups with weights (20 each leg)
  • 100 jumps
  • Repeat 2-3x

My legs felt like spaghetti, so mission accomplished!

– albledsoe

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