guest post: heather from where’s the beach

Hey all!  Happy weekend!

Today I have such a special treat for you guys.  For the last couple of months, I’ve been feeling the urge to start doing some resistance training.  The problem?  I have no idea what I’m doing!!!

While I was involved in some weight training in high school, I didn’t really know what I was doing then and that has been so long ago that I wouldn’t remember much anyway.  That’s where my good friend, Heather, comes in.  Heather writes about healthy living over at Where’s the Beach, and she never fails to post awesome meals and awesome detailed explanations of her workouts.  And trust me, if you could see this girl’s abs, you want to do whatever kind of workout she does!  Not only that, but she’s super genuine and sweet, and is one of my favorite blog friends.

Now enough of my rambling, here’s Heather for some great info on how to get started with weight training as a beginner.   I stole this picture from her blog – who wouldn’t want those arms? :)

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First off, I want to thank Candice for asking me to do this post, I really am honored. And secondly, I appreciate her dedicated readers (you) for taking the time to read this post.

Disclaimer before anyone jumps on my case – I am NOT certified in anything. The following is simply my personal beliefs and suggestions through research and trial and error on my own. If you want professional advice, please talk to a certified personal trainer.

So, you’ve probably read that resistance training is important, especially for women. But your first reaction is, “I don’t want to bulk up!” Go ahead and just push that sentence aside and repeat after me, “I will not bulk up like a man lifting heavy weights.” Seriously, say it out loud. Women who do the fitness competitions work long and hard, very hard at gaining their mass. It is a major effort for women to gain that type of muscle mass. Would you believe me if I said that I use 20 lb dumbbells for curls? I do, and I am no She-Ra. So don’t be afraid of weights – they are your friend. Lifting or resistance training can help prevent osteoporosis, boost metabolism, and help you look slimmer. Um, did you read that? ;-) So set your fear aside about bulking up. In fact, as a background lesson, I danced (ballet) for over 20 years. My calves and thighs were rather large from all the jumping, etc. Lifting actually leaned out my legs, and I can now wear “skinny” jeans. No lie.

So, now that you know you’re not going to look like Arnold, where do you begin? I know it can be so intimidating that you just avoid it. I mean, how on earth do you know how many sets, how many reps, how many days, what exercises, what’s the right weight, etc. There are some crazy rotations and methods too: drop sets, super sets, tri sets, giant sets, oh pyramids, straight sets, push muscles, pull muscles, push/pull…holy crap.

So how do you sort it all out especially if you can’t afford a personal trainer. I think telling you how I got started may help you. It’s been a learning process, I won’t deny that. I think one of the easiest ways to get started is how I did – via DVDS. I started lifting doing full-body and circuit workouts. Cathe Friedrich was and is my go-to gal pal for weights. The great thing about starting off with the DVDs is that you don’t really have to think about all the details, you can learn the exercises, names, learn about reps, rep patterns, and learn about proper form (providing the instructor is good of course). But, the problem can be getting in a rut and not changing up the routine, the splits, increasing your weights, etc. You do have to push yourself and not be afraid to pick up that heavier weight and know that hitting failure isn’t a bad thing.

Another thing to consider is how you split out the workout: Full-body or Splitting up the muscle groups. There seems to be some debate about the effectiveness of either style. I think there are pros and cons for both, and I am not here to argue them. Here is one article you can read that sort of explains the differences. But, from personal experience I would suggest starting off with 2-3 full-body workouts a week. Make sure you’re up for the routine of lifting each week. Get familiar with the exercises out there and the weights you’re able to lift (this is so important no matter what you do). Remember, it’s ok if you can only start with 5 lb, but don’t forget to push yourself and try heavier. Next play around with reps and weights – try going for fewer reps, but upping those weights. This is more muscle and strength building.

Do some research or invest in some (more) DVDs and play around with splits. Cathe seriously has some amazing DVDs to choose from for lifting options. I know there are others, I am just not as familiar with them. There are also books that have rotations set up for you (gotta love that) with demonstrations of the exercises as well. Two that I would happily recommend (I own both) are The Body Fat Solution and The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

I mostly do splits now. I have done a total-body rotation (8-weeks) twice since December just to change things up. I prefer to split out the muscle groups though so I can go heavy and focus on that muscle group more and for time reasons. I like to change up the splits too – not always doing biceps and triceps, but sometimes doing say biceps and back, or biceps, triceps, shoulders. The thing is, when you only work that muscle group once a week, you have to hit it hard because you’re then going to rest it a week. For full-body workouts, you gotta keep in mind that you are going to hit that muscle group at least once maybe twice more. Good? Bad? Better? Worse? Each to his own is what I say in life. I think you must adapt your workouts (either weights or cardio or both) to your individual situation, your individual needs, your individual goals. I think the important thing is that you’re lifting.

Lifting and exercising are serious passions of mine, and I hope to inspire others to get fit. I know it can be overwhelming, but don’t give up. Just start with the basics. A few dumbbells and some basic exercises can actually get you farther than you think. You don’t have to have a gym membership even. I almost never lift at the gym and almost never ever use the cabled equipment. At home I don’t even have a barbell. So I hope this post wasn’t more confusing, that it perhaps answered any questions or allayed any fears. Mostly, I hope that it inspires you to pick up some weights.

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Thanks so much for taking time to share with us about this, Heather.  If you haven’t checked out Heather’s blog, don’t forget to hop on over there.  Heather – you are awesome!

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bring on the carbs

Happy 2nd day of fall! I can’t believe I forgot to tell everyone Happy 1st day of fall yesterday because I am so darn excited.  Last night I heard our weatherman say “a fall cool front will be moving in this week,” and I about jumped out of my skin.  It sounds like I’m being really dramatic, but I really am that excited.  I am in love with fall:)

Jon and I literally drug ourselves out of bed (it was one of those kind of mornings) and went for a four mile run this morning.  I was feeling really strong until we hit our first hill, and then everything went downhill fast, literally and figuratively.  I think I was dehydrated – it wasn’t even that hot out and there was a nice breeze, but my neck and face felt like they were on fire and my body felt like lead.  Very pleasant indeed.  We took a couple of short walk brakes and came in just under 42 minutes.  I was feelin’ pretty blah, but still so happy that we finished.  Our half marathon training is finally looking up a little bit at least, considering we’ve actually stayed committed to our training this week.

Today has been a very “work from home” kind of day, meaning I didn’t leave the house all morning.  When the husband called around 11 to say he had to work through lunch I knew I had to get out of the house.   Obviously I had no choice but to drive straight to the little bakery we ate at yesterday.

Instead of ordering the same sandwich, though, I just bought an entire loaf of that same bread, haha.  I wasn’t kidding when I said how good it was.  By the time I was driving across town to get it, I was already starving and developing a serious headache.  So, naturally as soon as I got back in the car, I inhaled two pieces.  It was so good.  Let me say that again – it was so good!!!

Then I came home and recreated that beautiful sandwich, just with different veggies and hummus instead of pesto.

arugula, sprouts, pickles, hummus

with a red pear on the side

I have been wanting to try arugula for months now, but I never can find it!  After I picked up my bread, I dropped by the grocery store to get some bananas and happened upon some organic arugula.  score!  Is it strange to be so excited over a leafy green?

Anyway, I’ve been so excited about my sandwich that I breezed right by breakfast.

I was out of spinach and bananas this mornings, so I had to fore-go my green monster.  I opted instead for shredded wheat n bran, a sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, frozen blueberries and soy milk.  It was a nice change:)  I was actually craving cereal last night before I went to bed, so this really kind of hit the spot this morning.

Anyway, I must run.  I do just want to say a quick thank you to all my sweet readers for reading my blog- you all are one of the main reasons I keep writing everyday.

And that’s a wrap:)  I hope you all have a lovely day – enjoy the cooler weather if you’ve got it and enjoy the last days of summer if not!

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the two best things

Today I had the two best things ever for lunch.

A sandwich on the most perfect bread I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. Plus pesto and veggies.

And my favorite person in the entire world.  how cute is he?

Afterward I spent my entire afternoon talking grammar with my tutoring students and then wrapped it all up by teaching my yoga class tonight.  Life sure is hard sometimes, but today really couldn’t have been any better:)

How was your day?  What was your favorite part?

P.S. Last chance if you’d be up for voting for my entry in Project Food Blog.  Voting ends tomorrow!!  Go here check out my entry and vote:)

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decisions, decisions

Thanks so much for the well wishes yesterday.  I’m very happy to report that I’m feeling much better today.

I started out this morning with a 4 mile run.  Sadly I forgot to plug in the Garmin last night, but the husband came through for us by suggesting we use the Map My Run iPhone app.  It worked like a charm!  If you’re ever in a pinch, try it out.  It doesn’t tell you a lot of details, but it does tell you your average pace, distance, time, and it maps as you run.  Not bad for free, right?

Anyway, once we got home I had a green monster for breakfast before doing a run through of my yoga class.

lots of spinach, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 scoop Amazing Grass, 1.25 cup almond milk, ice

There really is just nothing that compares to an ice cold green monster in the morning…really there isn’t.

By the time I got ready for the day and then enjoyed an hour of yoga, it was time to go meet my friend, Grace, for our weekly lunch.  Definitely one of the highlights of my week!  We went to my favorite little cafe, Cafe Bella. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve seen this sandwich many a time before…but I just can’t resist getting the same thing.  The one time I branched out I regretted it, and since then have clung dearly to my staple.

grilled veggie panini with hummus

I spent this afternoon working on Outbox tasks and laundry.  Definitely one of my favorite parts of working from home is being able to stay on top of household tasks throughout the day.  I’m really quite the domestic diva;)

Snack break!


cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin with natural peanut butter

I also ended up having a small mug of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with almond milk later in the afternoon.  I am like a bottomless pit today!

Tonight Jon and I decided to turn off work for a few hours and just hang out.  We hardly ever watch TV…but tonight one of our favorite shows premiered for the fall season.  How many of you watch The Biggest Loser?  We are huge fans.  And I have to admit, part of my love stems from my love for Jillian.  Don’t you just wish you could carry her around in your pocket all day? Or not;)

Anyway, I never fail to feel inspired after watching an episode of TBL.  I think it’s going to be a really good season.  The only thing I didn’t like about tonight was the way they chose the contestants.  They went from city to city, and at each stop they picked 3 people; however, those 3 people had to compete in their first challenge in order to decide which 2 got to actually go on the show.  The other person had to go home.  One of the challenges was a 1 mile run in which the first two people to finish won.  I felt that the most unhealthy person, the one who needed the most help was of course the one to lose on every challenge.  I just thought it was kind of silly.  I’m sure there was a reason for it, but you’d think they’d want the most unhealthy person to be chosen.  I guess that’s the way the show goes, too, though.  If you watched tonight, what did you think?

For dinner Jon and I had the bright idea of making quesadillas.  Unfortunately, by the time I was all psyched up for it, we realized we were out of soy cheese.  Enter sad face.

For some uncharacteristic reason, I decided to just have regular cheese on mine.  I think I might have been from Mexico in a different life. Not even kidding.  It’s like I get in the zone…and my eyes glaze over at the mention of mexican food.  Kind of scary, really.  Anyway, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but afterward I did wish I had made a different choice.  Isn’t that always the way it goes?  Onward and upward, though.  Perfectionism will not get the best of me:)

I’m definitely not going to kid myself by saying they didn’t taste good.  The husband knows how to make a mean quesadilla.  Mine had cheese, vegetarian refried beans, chopped onions, and diced green chilies. mmm.

I’ve got a busy day ahead tomorrow – the usual Outbox work,  3 tutoring appointments and a yoga class await me!  My newest tutoring student, Nada, is a little bit high maintenance…which I guess she has every right to be.  She wants to learn strictly grammar…and she wants the hard core stuff.  She catches on really fast and asks lots of questions – definitely keeps me on my toes!  She’s also quite the talker.  At the end of our last appointment she started talking and ended telling me everything from how to not get taken advantage of at Disney World (what?) to how to get a job in Dubai.  45 minutes later, I was walking to my car in a daze.  I’m going to have to reign her in tomorrow though, or else I’ll be late to yoga.  Doesn’t look to good when the instructor’s late!

Okay, now I’m starting to act like Nada:)  I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

P.S.  I don’t want to bug you guys, but if you feel so inclined, please drop by and vote for me in Project Food Blog – you can check out my entry and vote here.  Thank you so so much to those of you who already voted.  You guys are the best!

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under the weather

Happy Monday!

I’m sure many of you have heard that voting is open for Project Food Blog today, so please click here and cast your vote for ChiaSeedMe.  I’d appreciate it so much!!

We had sort of a crazy weekend over here starting on Friday night with my mother-in-law and father-in-law coming into town for a visit.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law joined us all on Saturday and we spent the day hanging out before heading to the football game on Saturday night.  Jon is in charge of taking pictures in the suites again this year, and I get to tag along and be his assistant:)  It’s a bit draining making small talk with donors all night, but at least we get free food and drinks!

Saturday night I started not feeling so well, so we watched Pride and Prejudice (the new version) in bed and then promptly fell asleep.  I expected to wake up feeling much better, but unfortunately woke up feeling terrible, so we went to church and then spent the rest of the day hanging around the house.  Per the usual, the husband fell asleep to P&P, so Sunday night we had a “re-viewing” so he could see it. I didn’t mind a bit – I absolutely love that movie.  The first time I saw it, I didn’t think it was all that great, but I just couldn’t get enough of it this weekend.  In fact, call me pathetic, but after it was over Sunday night, I crawled into bed with the book, haha.

Anyway, I’m feeling a little bit better today, but still having some stomach issues and a pretty bad headache.  I honestly didn’t feel like eating breakfast this morning, and I certainly didn’t feel like making it, so I went with a simple Ezekiel muffin topped with almond butter.

Lunch was easy as well – leftover Summery Couscous Salad with steamed broccoli.

This afternoon I had my usual two appointments for tutoring plus a new student whom I’ll be meeting with twice a week now.  Nada is from Egypt, but she lived much of her life in Dubai, so I got to hear so much about Dubai today!  Jon and I have read about Dubai several times, and now my travel bug (which never seems to leave my side) is itching to go there.  It has been way too long since I’ve been to that part of the world.

Well, I’m off to try to get some rest and get rid of this stomach issue that has been plaguing me…hope you are all having a great start to your week!

Don’t forget to vote :)

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