Sexy Warrior Arms Workout

sexy warrior arms workoutLast week we focused on your booty and the week before we did some ab work, so I thought this week we should show some love to our arms.

Everyone loves sexy arms and I don’t just mean on guys. Muscle tone is sexy on women too…especially when they wear tank tops, strapless dresses and bathing suits. That may sound a little shallow, but we all care about how we look as well as being healthy. I prefer to call that honesty.

Speaking of honesty, we are already halfway through January, which means our time for hiding behind bulky sweaters is almost over. Tank top season is going to be here before we know it and there is no better time to start working on your summer body than during the winter.

In this 15 minute workout, Tony Horton will take us through 8-10 reps of 7 moves to help strengthen and define our arms.

Don’t be intimidated by lifting weights or that Tony can be a little advanced. It doesn’t take a lot of weight to get started. Grab some 5’s & 10’s and see how they feel! Everyone has to start somewhere, just grab some weight and give it a shot.

Who’s ready to try this sexy warrior arms workout?! 

 

 

 Workout Moves:

0:21 Hammer Curl Press
2:21 Pterodactyl Kickbacks
4:25 Band Pulldowns
6:21 Alt Delt Raise Tricep Push-up
8:57 In and Out Curls
10:56 Temp Skull Crushers
12:58 Alt Bicep Curl

I highly recommend doing a quick warm-up and cool-down before doing these. Arm circles, arm swings, light to no weight bicep curls and some over head shoulder stretches are all great ways to get the blood flowing. Your muscles will thank you…trust me!

If you haven’t started on your resolution to get healthy this year or if you started and feel off the wagon, this is the time to recommit. You CAN do this…you just need to focus, believe and build a support system around yourself.

Need some accountability with your workouts? Let’s connect on Facebook and discuss your goals! 

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5 Reasons Why Your Weight Loss May Be Slow

5 reasons why your weight loss may be slow

Weight loss is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. For some of us, it’s been an entire life of hating the scale and for others, it’s only been since bringing a beautiful little baby into the world. Regardless of how long you’ve struggled, there are basics we all know… like we need to consume fewer calories than we burn in order to lose weight and that the habit of stopping for drive-thru needs to stop. Despite this, there are times when you’re doing all the right things, but that weight loss just won’t happen as you hoped.

So what do you do?

Well… when this happens, you need to dig a little deeper and look outside of your exercise habits.

Here are 5 reasons why your weight loss may be slow going.

1. You’re Stressed Out – Between work, taking care of children and making sure your home is clean, how could you not be stressed, right?! Stress releases something called Cortisol (also known as “the stress hormone”) and in today’s society, excessively high Cortisol levels are all too common. Cortisol encourages the storage of body fat (especially around your midsection), and it has been linked to other health issues such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems and heart disease.

Solution: Try limiting the length of your workouts to 30 minutes (long workouts can place unnecessary stress on the body), surround yourself with positive people who focus on being happy, practice yoga or meditation (stop laughing…it works!), and make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep.

2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough – This ties in directly to stress. Not getting enough sleep can raise levels of Cortisol in your body because it stresses the body out. When you get the proper amounts of sleep each night, your body produces Growth Hormone, which has the opposite effect on the body of Cortisol. Growth Hormone encourages fat loss, supports a healthy immune system, and helps to keep your organs functioning properly. Making sure you get enough sleep will also help you to cut back on calories. Many times we are eating out of boredom or because we are stressed.

Solution: Cut out caffeine filled drinks after 12 noon, unplug from electronics (including television) 1 hour  before bedtime. Electronics/tv can be stimulating and they emit a blue light that mimics daylight and stops the body from producing melatonin. Try doing some yoga before bed to calm your mind and reduce stress.

3. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water – You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about how important water is to your health. Despite the “nagging” on this topic, most people still don’t drink enough of it.

There are so many benefits to drinking water, one of which is proper kidney function. When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys can’t function properly and your liver has to pick up the slack. This is bad because your liver is responsible for the metabolism of fat, which means fat cannot be metabolized as properly when your liver has to work twice as hard to remove toxins. See where I’m going with this? So next time you want to roll your eyes when someone asks if you’ve been drinking your water, don’t!

Solution: Drink more water….of course! Start each day with a glass of water and make sure you always have a bottle of it nearby. Also, before reaching for a snack, drink a glass of water. Chances are you’re dehydrated and not actually hungry.

4. You’re Not Eating Enough Fiber – Here’s another one you’ve probably heard a million times. Fiber aids digestive health and helps to create a sense of fullness, which makes consuming less calories easier because you don’t feel hungry.

It’s estimated that only 5% of Americans get enough fiber. 5%!! Most people think they’re getting enough fiber from grain-based products like bread and cereal, but the reality is these highly-processed foods have been stripped of their nutrients as well as their fiber.

Solution: Eat more fruit and vegetables, and choose whole grains, like brown rice and steal-cut oatmeal, instead of their processed counterparts.

5. You Have Poor Digestion – This is a lesser known issue, but it’s becoming more talked about.  The gut is incredibly complicated, and scientists are only scratching the surface when it comes to understanding how gut bacteria actually works. But one thing is clear: whether you want to improve your ability to lose fat, boost your immune system, clear up your skin, or even just feel better on daily basis, it all starts with your gut health.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize their gut isn’t functioning properly until there is a major issue. However you can take steps to help prevent poor digestion today.

Solution: Reduce stress, minimize the consumption of legumes, grains, sugar, processed foods and pastured dairy (I’m sure you’ve heard of Paleo or Whole30, which are different nutrition lifestyles that many feel make for a healthier gut and incorporate some of these principles), and take time to properly chew your food. This allows saliva to begin breaking down food and makes it easier for your body to digest.

Did you have any ah-ha moments while reading this? Think some of these could be to blame for your slow weight loss? Share your thoughts or game plan below in the comments.

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21 Day Fix Motivational Quotes

21 Day Fix Motivational QuotesIf you have been doing the 21 Day Fix, you may have noticed that Autumn starts each workout with a motivational quote and repeats it throughout the 30 minutes. If you’ve really been paying attention, you may have even noticed fun blackboards in each workout video with the motivation quote of the day written on it.

I noticed these back in the spring during my first round of 21 Day Fix and I fell in love them. I even searched for still images of each one but I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I began sharing similar ones from Pinterest with my accountability group participants and they began listening to these little nuggets of motivation during their workouts.

Today as I was working out, I decided to attempt to take photos of all of them. When I completed Upper Fix, I grabbed my phone and my remote and I went through each workout trying to catch a good decent semi acceptable photo of each one to share.

(I warn you they aren’t great after these first three, but I tried and I think you’ll get the point. Also, they are semi out of order.)

21 Day Fix Motivational Blackboards

  • Dirty 30: Don’t Wish For It Work For it
  • Total Body Cardio: One Day at a Time, One Pound at a Time
  • Upper Fix: It Doesn’t Get Easier, You Get Better

21 Day Fix Motivational Blackboards 2

  • Lower Fix: If You’re Tired of Starting Over, Stop Giving Up
  • Pilates Fix: Believe in Yourself Right Now
  • 10 Minute Ab Fix: Earn The Body You Want

21 Day Fix Motivational Blackboards 3

  • Dirty 30: Don’t Wish For It Work For It (I really like this one so I included it twice)
  • Yoga Fix: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Body
  • Cardio Fix: When You Feel Like Quitting, Think About Why You Started.

These are all phenomenal quotes and they are super important to hear, especially during a tough workout. There is nothing quite like being stuck in your head and thinking about stopping then suddenly Autumn reminds you to think about why you started, or if you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.

I encourage everyone to take notice of these and if one really hits home for you, hop onto Pinterest, find it, print it and hang it where you work out as a reminder!

Did you notice these motivational messages while doing the workouts? Do they help you stay focused and believe in yourself?

If you’ve been thinking about starting 21 Day Fix but have questions about the program, please feel free to contact me!

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Bootylicious Lower Body Workout

bootylicous lower body workoutToday’s featured workout will help you to shape and define a bootylicious booty. Our glutes and hamstring are two of the most powerful muscle groups in our body, and they are also responsible for us ladies looking good in a pair of yoga pants or skinny jeans. Shallow statement? Yes. But you know you’ve all thought it!

I’m also including a stretch video because we have to treat our muscles to a little TLC, right?!

I love working my lower body and I personally find that I see results very quickly in this area. Whenever you work your lower body, there is also a cardio effect, so don’t be alarmed if you feel your heart-rate increase.

Both of these bootylicious lower body workout videos come from Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix) and will help you tighten and tone your body with a few basic moves.  

 

 

 5 Moves for a Firm Booty:

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges
  • Leg Lifts
  • Bridges
  • Mule Kicks

I would recommend doing 3-5 rounds of this, depending on your fitness level and available time. If you’re short on time but don’t feel enough of a burn after 3 rounds, try doing them with weights to up the intensity but keep your workout time short. 

 

 

 Lower Body Stretches:

  • Roll Forward
  • Runners Lunge
  • Quad Stretch
  • Hamstring Stretch
  • Repeat with Roll Forward on other side
  • Cat & Cow
  • Butterfly Stretch
  • Runners Stretch
  • Twist Stretch
  • Pike Stretch

Make sure you do the stretching routine after the booty workout. Stretching is very important, especially when it comes to your lower body. If you still feel sore, check out this post I did on foam rolling. Your body will thank you!

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21 Day Fix Restaurant Tips

21 day fix restaurant tips 2One of the things I have found over the last 5 years of becoming a healthier person, is that restaurants happen.

It’s honestly hard to avoid them, especially when being social and food kinda go hand in hand. Invited to a party? There is food. You want to catch up with an old friend? You meet for lunch or a coffee shop…again, we have food. Date night? Food. Girls night out? Food and drinks. It’s one of the hardest things to avoid, so instead of trying to avoid it and risk becoming a social outcast, learn to navigate it!

Before I get into my 21 Day Fix restaurant tips, I’d like to touch upon one of my favorite topics in my accountability groups… THE “CHEAT” MEAL or as I prefer to call it, A SPLURGE MEAL.  Some are all for it, some are totally against and others just don’t fully understand what it means.I figured this would be a perfect topic today, since so many people choose to dine out over the weekend. I’ve said before that this healthy eating lifestyle is not meant to be overwhelmingly restrictive or perfect and the same goes for life while doing the 21 Day Fix.

One amazing way I’ve found to ensure I stay on track with my goals is a splurge from time to time.

When you eat clean, your body needs fuel more frequently throughout the day because it becomes more efficient at burning fat and metabolizing food. Your body loves this clean style of eating but mentally, we sometimes get bored and think we really need that fried, greasy or sweet treat …and that’s okay! 

The key to this is not allow that craving to control you. You must control the craving and you can do that by giving in to it, but on your own terms. We don’t want to undo all of the hard work we’ve put forth through nutrition and exercise throughout the week. So you should PLAN on when, what and where.

Many restaurants have their full menus on-line now.
When selecting a restaurant, take a few minutes to look up their menu and see what your options are. This will give you an opportunity to plan ahead and make a smart choice. If the restaurant your friends are discussing will completely derail your nutrition, don’t be afraid to suggest a different one! This simple step can ensure you avoid the possible landmine of not making any healthy choices during you meal out.

What to look for: When looking at the on-line menu, be sure to have your Eating Plan book with you, or a list of your favorite foods for each colored container. This will help you to make smart choices and build a plan for your day around your restaurant meal.

Just because I said a cheat/splurge meal, doesn’t mean we are going to order everything fried and covered in cheese! We still want to make smart choices by keeping these rules in mind:

21 Day Fix Restaurant Tips

Although I am helping you plan to have a splurge, you still need to keep your container requirements in mind as you plan. Here are some quick ideas:

Red Container (Lean. Grilled or Baked):

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Steak
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Green Container (You get a lot of these with the plan so use more than one): 

  • Side Salad Appetizer (dressing on the side – it’s an orange)
  • Steamed Veggies (no sauce)

Yellow Container (This is where you could factor in your splurge for your favorite pre-dinner bread):

  • Potato, mashed or 1/2 a medium
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pasta, 1/2 cup (restaurant servings ARE way more)
  • Bread, 1 slice
  • Quinoa
  • Tortillas, flour (6″)
  • Tortillas, corn (two 6″)
  • Corn
  • Beans

Blue Container (This is where you meals can become exciting)

  • Cheese (Mozzarella, Provolone, Cheddar, Jack)
  • Avocado/Guacamole
  • Goat Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Hummus

This nutrition plan is really flexible and you can easily stay 100% on point if you don’t want to splurge. Just be sure to stick to the do’s and don’t’s and remember to count those teaspoons for the oil or butter that the chefs may be using (you don’t have any control over it when dining out, so just make the best choices you can and go with it.)

I’m all for saving my yellow containers so I can use them for dinner. As a matter of fact I did that last weekend. Mike and I went out for a date night and I knew we were going to Longhorn Steakhouse. Well, I’m a complete and total sucker for their Honey Wheat bread, so I saved a yellow container especially for it! I also knew I planned on having some of their House-made Kettle Chips, so I wasn’t disappointed in myself when we ordered them and I ate them. We don’t go there often so I’m not tempted by them often, therefore I allowed myself to give in to the craving and satisfy my want for them.

Once you make your food choice stick with it! After looking on-line at the menu and forming your plan, stick with it. Many times when we go out with other people who have not taken the steps to improve their health, they’ll try to pressure you into having your favorite high calorie meal, having unneeded appetizers or dessert and another round of drinks. This has more to do with them than you…remember your goals and that a good time doesn’t depend on how many calories or how much alcohol you consume.

Speaking of drinks: When dining out always opt for water as your main drink. You can ask your waiter to add lemon or lime to it, to give it some flavor. Sparkling water is also an approved option and you could add lemon or lime to it as well. Coffee is also on the approved list so you won’t have to sit there sipping water while your friend have dessert. Just make sure to skip the cream, sugar and any weird syrup flavoring options. Not alcohol shots in it either!

As stated in the Eating Plan book, you are entitled to swap out one yellow container for 4 ounces of wine. Beer is not on the list but I’m not gonna lie, I’ve swap a yellow for one in the past and survived to blog about it. If you don’t think you can stop at just 4 ounces of wine, my advice would be to skip it completely. I know it can be hard while out with friends, but they should support you in your goals and those goals are more important than making them happy.

Become familiar with page 70-71 in your Eating Plan book. These two pages cover the topic of eating at restaurants as well as eating at mom’s. Pay special attention to the purple boxes on page 70, and the example box on the top of page 71. They tell you how to measure and count certain items from the list using a green container OR by following the portion size listed.

Example:
Meat lasagna – Use your green container to determine the size of your piece, then check off 2 yellows and a red on your Tally sheet.
Cheese Pizza – You’re allowed 1/4 of a 12″ pizza (mind you most pizzeria pizzas are NOT 12″) and it counts as 2 yellow and a blue on your Tally sheet.

Do NOT make this meal the equivalent of calories to a full day of meals. This is why some people don’t to use a cheat/splurge meal.  It can be a slippery slope. Many people end up making their cheat meals fried, cheesy and greasy, which means TONS of unnecessary calories. We want to limit that as much as possible. We are allowing a little room for breathing without going off the deep end. Many times you just need a taste to be satisfied.

You’ll also find that the longer you eat clean, the less you’ll want to have that cheat meal, because you’ll feel a difference in your body and mood when you eat processed foods. Most times you’ll decide it’s just not even worth it.

So enjoy a splurge meal from time to time, but don’t sabotage yourself or let other people influence you in a negative way. This is your journey and you set goals for yourself!

Have good restaurant tip for eating out while doing the 21 Day Fix?! I’d love to hear about it in the comment below!

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Quick Office Workout For Your Abs

Quick Office Workout for your abs

The New Year is here, your holiday vacation is over and you are feeling motivated to stay on track with your fitness, right?!

Why not utilize some downtime at work to get a little extra movement in?

We all know we can park a little further from the entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator and skip the fattening latte from the drive-thru on our way into work… but did you know you could work your abs with the help of your office chair?

If you’re sitting at work, have some privacy (because your coworkers may look at you like you’re crazy if they see you doing this – or then again, you may inspire them) and 5 minutes until your next meeting, or you’re waiting for a phone call, why not use that opportunity to get in a quick office workout for your abs?

Today I am sharing a workout by Autumn Calabrese (creator of the 21 Day Fix), which will show you 5 CORE MOVES you can do at your desk using only your OFFICE CHAIR! 

 

 

 

 

 I bet you’ll never look at your office chair the same way again, right? Even if you can’t do all of these moves at your desk, why not incorporate a few of them throughout your day to help you stay on track and reach your goals a little faster? Plus if you work from home like I do? You have no excuse to not do these moves!

If you’d like more information about Autumn’s at-home workout, The 21 Day Fix, check out this post I did last spring when I first tried it or comment below!

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Healthy Comfort Food: Turkey Chili

Healthy Comfort Food Turkey Chili 21DFJust about everyone who knows me, knows I love healthy comfort food and the recipe for Turkey Chili from the Body Beast nutrition guide. I’ve shared it before in my meal prep post and I post photos of it quite often on Instagram. I’ve even been having my 21 Day Fix participants begin using it with their meal prepping. It’s such a simple, versatile and yummy recipe that I think it would be wrong not to share it.

For those of you are not familiar with it, here is the recipe: 

Healthy Comfort Food: Turkey Chili
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. 1.5 lbs lean ground turkey
  3. 1 medium white onion, chopped
  4. 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  5. 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  6. 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  7. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  10. 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I use black beans)
  11. 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce (I use diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  12. 2 tablespoons parsely (optional) - (Cilantro is a great substitute)
Instructions
  1. Brown ground turkey and drain fat.
  2. Add oil, onion, pepper and garlic to a large saucepan.
  3. When softened add in ground turkey.
  4. Cook for a few minutes
  5. Add all seasonings except parsley and stir and cook for 1 minute
  6. Add beans and tomatoes, bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Sprinkle with parsley when serving (optional)
Notes
  1. I like to add a diced jalapeno to this for added heat. I also add a lot more veggies to make this fit into the 21 day fix better. I use 1/2 green, 1/2 yellow and 1/2 a red pepper, along with a large onion. I also like to add additional veggies as stated below.
  2. With the added veggies, I count this is as 1 red and 1 green container. I know there are beans in this and they are counted as a carb in 21 Day Fix, but I don't feel there are enough to count them as a full yellow. I honestly don't think it's even a 1/2 a yellow, but use your honest judgement when you make yours and count it if needed.
Adapted from Body Beast Turkey Chili from The Book of Beast
Adapted from Body Beast Turkey Chili from The Book of Beast
Get Fit With Nikki http://www.getfitwithnikki.com/
As you can see, it’s really simple to make and uses lots of great, clean ingredients. The beauty of it, is that it’s simple to tweak in order fit into the 21 Day Fix program.

If you have issues fitting in all of your green containers, add spinach, zucchini, extra peppers, kale, eggplant or any other veggie you have on hand to this dish and bump up your veggie intake. You could even serve it over some cauliflower rice or top it with some shredded romaine lettuce.

Are those yellow containers your issue? (Not using enough of them, that is. I know many people feel there are not ENOUGH yellow containers in general, I can’t help with that, sorry. You’ll have to take that up with Autumn.) add extra beans, some corn or peas. You could also serve this over some rice or quinoa – another option is to cash in a “treat” and have a few tortilla chips on the side for dipping.

Unsure of how to use your blue containers? Top your chili with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese or some avocado. Better yet, use both by using half a container or each.

Falling short on red containers? Top this with some plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a creamy component that will make your taste buds happy.

Purple containers also fit into this dish! Top your chili with some fresh salsa for an added kick, as well as a color pop. (We eat with our eye, too!)

As you can see this is a very useful recipe to have while doing the 21 Day Fix. You can easily make this into your meal planning and use up just about any container you may be lacking.

Do you have a versatile recipe that would work well with the 21 Day Fix? If so, I would love to learn more about it.

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