Sledding for Summer

As anyone that knows me knows, I am always trying to push my body with different workout routines, classes and exercises. This is necessary if I’m to reach my health and fitness goals sooner rather than later in life, and as summer quickly approaches, it’s time to step up my game once again.

Last week I revisited an old friend, the push sled (a.k.a. prowler). I haven’t visited him in a while because too many people warned against it because of my faulty knee, saying it would do more harm than good. Can I say that how wrong they were was an understatement? Not only did it feel great, it strengthened my knee and will continue to do so over time. Before I show you my test run, I’ll explain the workout and its benefits.

Besides providing an intense way to blast the legs—which I love—a weight sled puts your whole body under [good] stress and drives your heart rate through the roof, making it a fantastic way to rev up your metabolism. It increases your work capacity, helps in developing anaerobic power, and is great recovery after heavy training sessions. Sled training delivers overall strength, body composition improvement, and if used with the appropriate training protocols, can also make you faster (think sprinter) àall of my goals. Push sled workouts are one of the best ways to decrease body fat, especially *visceral fat, is with high-intensity work using a relatively larger volume. So how do you perform this incredible, do-all exercise, you ask? Keep reading.

Push sleds allow you to push either from a low position (making you more parallel to the ground) or from a high position. The lower position focuses more on your quads and makes for a more difficult workout. Most people tend to load up their sleds, too, but you shouldn’t start with a lot of weight, explains. Try loading the sled with one, 45-pound plate in the beginning, or even nothing until you get the gist of the movement and achieve proper form. Once you have the form correct, only then should you use a 45-pound plate and then add-load weight in increments according to your strength.

“Guys try to move the sled as fast as possible, and in the process they round their back and push through their arms,” says Mack from Men’s Health Magazine. “Instead, you should move deliberately and treat the exercise as if it’s a walking plank. As you move forward, you should maintain a straight line from your head to your ankles the entire time. Your power comes from your legs and hips, so drive your feet diagonally into the ground with each step.”

Since I’ve done this exercise before and I know I can add weight to the sled, I performed my test run with one 45-pound plate. I figured that if this was successful, I can stay at this weight until I become faster without sacrificing form, then add weight in 25-pound increments. Having a video of this is not for vanity’s sake, mind you, but to critique myself and to document my progress. Additionally, I’d like to help others in their journeys as much as I possibly can through any avenue with which I create or am provided. Let’s take a look:

Not half bad, right? I’ll definitely be doing this more and work on improving each time.

*Visceral fat, or abdominal fat, is a type of body fat that exists in the abdomen and surrounds the internal organs. Everyone has some, especially those who are sedentary, chronically stressed, or maintain unhealthy diets. Excessive deposits of visceral fat are associated with many serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and increased blood pressure. Though it is possible to lose, it requires a larger commitment than spot exercises, like sit ups or crunches; a combination of cardiovascular activity and a lean diet is typically required. Hellooo push sled!

Happy New Year!

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Always strive to be a better you. Yes, I constantly say that you don’t need a new year to make a resolution, but I do agree that New Year’s Day does feel like a fresh start and a good day to remind yourself of your goals; New Year’s Day is an apt time to focus and recommit. So, here’s a reminder photo to stay focused on your dreams, goals, aspirations, etc. Cheers!

Holiday Training

You don’t need to wait till New Year’s Day to make resolutions or changes in your life. Set your goals and work then into your lifestyle so that you won’t fall off the “wagon” within a matter of days or months.

Just resolve to be a better you every morning.

Motivated Monday

Several years ago when I first started getting into fitness, I had no idea what I was doing or should be doing in order to lose weight and get in shape. I threw myself into a bunch of cardio classes and got a personal trainer that didn’t properly create a plan that suited my body type or goals. Yes, I lost weight, but I also bulked up like a man because I wasn’t doing the right workouts for my body and my diet was neither practical nor conducive to my goals. After suffering from an injury due to over-training, bulking up (which everyone says is impossible for women to do—au contraire) and having to undo that damage while still on a weight-loss/fat-loss mission, I was forced to understand the science of everything: diet, fitness, nutrition and health. Basically, I have and am still learning how the body works as a whole.

After much research, trial and error, I now know what works for me. My body composition has changed due my mix of cardio and strength training paired with cleaner, more practical eating habits. Even though I’m back to lifting weights, my execution is different now; my body and muscles are not getting bigger, they’re getting leaner. I truly understand what bodybuilding means now and I’m applying it literally by building my body piece by piece.

Also, my mentality has completely changed. No matter how many times I tried to convince myself that it was ok that the numbers on the scale weren’t budging because of the muscle/fat equation, I didn’t believe my own thoughts or the science behind it; I was stuck on societal charts/graphs/”standards”/”norms.” I’ve finally broken away from my weight on the scale, understanding and truly embracing the fact that I am sculpting my body to fit my “norm,” my standards. This keeps me motivated and makes me want to help others understand their bodies more fully.

Am I completely satisfied with where I am right now? No, however I’m not finished; my journey will never end. Yet, please understand that I’m happier with myself and my body than I have ever been, even when I was at my skinniest, because now I’m at my healthiest. When I post pictures or videos of myself or my workouts, it’s not for vanity purposes. They are to keep pushing myself further and whoever else is on a similar mission or is thinking about starting. The more I learn and change, the more I will share my message to those who want to hear it. I’m here to inspire and motivate, while I reap inspiration and motivation from your journeys in turn.
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From Ab to Fab

After a hard day’s work that left me feeling drained, I took one of my favorite cardio classes, aptly named JAB (cardio kickboxing), then met up with the bf for some strength training. We started off with arms as we usually do:

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(We did several more exercises, we just didn’t record them all.)
As you can see, we have a lot of fun while we workout, talking crap and making each other laugh.

I’ll post part two right away because, for some reason, WordPress won’t let me publish the rest of my workout…

Weekend Workout

Most Sunday mornings are reserved workout times for me and the bf to exercise together. We do weight training, which he is in charge of dictating. I start of with weighted squats and leg presses, then work all of our upper body muscles (all arm groups, back, chest).

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Then we engage inthe second part of our workout,  core and kettlebell training, also known as my responsibility. This is comprised of all of the ab groups, lower back, some more arms and legs, and cardio. Here’s a quick video of a combined deadlift with a jump squat:

A mix of strength training and cardio keeps you lean, builds muscle, and increases stamina. As with all things, balance is key.

If you’d like to see more videos/workouts or would like more health & fitness posts, please let me know and I’ll be happy to oblige.

Paying for My Sins

All the birthday eating had me in the gym HARD this week, especially this weekend.  Today I did strength training and kettlebell training.

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Since I didn’t have anyone to take pictures or videos of my workouts, I took a few random pictures of myself. I did a complete upper body workout to strengthen my biceps, triceps, deltoids, lats, etc., doing three sets of ten per exercise. After that, I did everything for my legs and lower body, again doing three sets of ten per muscle group. To finish up my workout, I moved on to kettlebells, core and abs. I always like to finish strong with an elevated heart rate in order to keep my body burning more calories throughout the day.

My health/fitness/weight loss journey is forever changing and evolving. Adding strength training AND kettlebells to my cardio regimen has changed my body composition and has truly helped me to understand my body better.

I am a body builder. I am a body transformer. This is a lifestyle for me, not a fad or a phase. When I find some old pictures of my old body, my “before,” I’ll explain my journey in further detail so you can see how far I’ve come, how much farther I have to go, and how I will never allow myself to be my “before” self again. This is the happiest my body has ever been, so I can only imagine how wonderful it will feel when I reach my goals.

Stay sweaty, peeps.