Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred

How’s everybody doing with the 30 day challenge? Hopefully you’re still holding strong, its been almost a week now! I’ve been doing the challenges each morning before I take a shower, I don’t know that I’ve seen any serious results so far, but I’m definitely holding myself accountable!

If you’re ready for something a little more intense, I have the perfect thing for you. Normally, I’m a little skeptical of work out DVDs, but I will try anything to get a good, fast workout in without leaving the house. Wouldn’t you?

I tried several different work out DVDs last summer and Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred is by far my favorite. I picked up this DVD at Target for about $10. These work outs are less than 25 minutes but they’re no joke! The basic premise of the shred is a 3-2-1 combination – 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. This is the most efficient way to burn calories and put on lean muscle. The combination of eating healthy and doing the 30 Day Shred (with occasional outside cardio) helped my dad to lose over 30 pounds and me to lose more than 20 last summer. This summer, I’m challenging myself again and starting the Shred today.

Full disclosure, if you have knee problems, this DVD might not be the best for you. There are a lot of squats and jumping jacks, which can be hard on the knees. If you are just worried that you can’t keep up, not to worry, she also teaches modified moves for beginners. There are three levels, so you can progress on your own time. All you need is the DVD and a set of hand weights. You can see my own copy and hand weights below. I recommend starting with weights less than 5 lbs, because you are generally using them to tone small muscles in the shoulders and back, so heavy weights might be hard to keep up with the repetitions. You can increase weight as you get stronger! The best part is that the work out definitely delivers. You will see results and you will notice your stamina increase.

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So, a 25 minute work out, amazing results in up to 30 days, and the only required equipment is a $10 DVD and some hand weights. Are you in?

I challenge you to start today! Any thoughts or questions? Comment below. And tweet me your progress as you go!

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Paleo? Or Alternatives…

I’m sure you can vaguely remember your middle school health class lectures about the food pyramid and what portions of each type of food you should be eating. I’m also sure you have heard all about the new diets lately, especially the paleo diet, that eliminate a number of the food groups from this pyramid. These diets have become increasingly popular lately, but are they sustainable for your life? Read on to find out more, as well as some healthy alternatives.

The premise of the majority of these diets is to do things the “caveman way”, and eat only foods that a hunter/gatherer would have access to. Presumably, most carbs consumed are unnatural or unhealthy carbs, which trigger the body to store fat rather than burn it. I think we can all agree that we do not want that, however, I believe that the best way to fail at a healthy lifestyle is to deprive yourself of everything you want constantly or to limit eating to the point of always being hungry. I think there has to be some sort of balance between eating healthfully and eating what you want.

My favorite trick to staying full and satisfied is to load up my plate with fruits and veggies. A full plate gives your mind the satisfaction of eating enough, but the fruits and veggies are calorie dense. They are also filling, so when you do get to the part of the meal where you are indulging a little, you will be less inclined to pig out! Your plate is supposed to be about 60-75% fruits and veggies, so try to visualize that when you are serving yourself.

I also tend to alternate days between carbs and sweets. So if I have sourdough bread for lunch one day, I won’t have ice cream or any other dessert that night. That way, I make sure not to over do it with two of the not-so-healthy food groups, but still enjoy them from time to time.

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Here is my dinner from this evening,  loaded up with fruit salad, spinach salad, and corn, with some of my favorite pulled pork on the side.

Have you tried the paleo diet? What do you think of it? Even if you haven’t, leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Maintaining Healthy Eating On The Go

Today, I went and explored San Francisco with a few family members and my boyfriend. We had a great time sight seeing and acting touristy – we also had lunch there at Cliff House. Why am I telling you this? Because it reminded me of another important tip to help with a healthy lifestyle – how to make sure you are eating healthy even at restaurants and fast food!

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When I go out, I definitely don’t want to deprive myself of eating, and it can be particularly hard in restaurants when you see the waiters carrying all the delicious foods on trays to everyone except you…who ordered a salad, no dressing. That’s why I’m here to give you alternatives – because there are alternatives!

 

  1. When I know I am going to be eating a meal outside of the house, I like to do a little preparation. I google the menu and nutrition charts. That way, I have already looked over the calories, fat, carbs, etc. Having a plan of what to eat can help you stay on track. The curly fries might look amazing after having walked around for a few hours, but knowing that they can cost you more than 1000 calories can help curb your appetite for them. This also gives you a chance to scope out which foods are healthiest and lowest of calories while still appeasing your appetite. This is a great link to use to find some healthy options at common fast food places!
  2. If I know I’m going out to dinner at say, a Mexican restaurant, where I can’t help myself but to go all out eating chips and salsa, I will eat a little lighter all day in preparation. Being extra conscious of what you eat before the eagerly anticipated, delicious-but-calorie-dense meal can help to balance out a proper diet for the day overall. Add a few extra fruits and veggies and maybe skip the midday dessert so you can fully enjoy the later meal without feeling guilty or overly full.
  3. Allow yourself one day to fully indulge! If you usually are extremely healthy, allow yourself a few days to take the day off. Really enjoy where you are and whatever food you want – you deserve it!

Hope these tips help you stay on track with your health no matter where you are dining! Do you have any additional tips? Let me know in the comments below!

-Monica

Photo credit: sanfrancisco.com

30 Day Challenge

Friday at last! This weekend, I’m headed back home to visit my family. Before leaving I wanted to make sure I got a good work out in because I guarantee I’ll do some eating while I’m there! Today I was in the mood for something new, so I browsed over the fitness section of Pinterest. I do this from time to time to find new ideas, and lots of the work outs are quick, body weight work outs which I can do in my apartment on days I don’t feel like hitting the gym.

Lately on Pinterest I have seen a ton of “30 Day Challenge” charts with different workouts or exercises to do each day for one month. I tend to always try these for only a few days, but this time I’m determined to complete the entire month! Since it’s summer time, ‘tis the season to sport sleeveless tops. Because of that, I picked the 30 Day Arms Challenge. But why stop there? I am simultaneously going to do the 30 Day Squat Challenge to make sure I am daisy duke ready also! I am not sure where these exercise regimens were created (the pin links would not trace me back to a specific website or blog), but the moves all looked pretty basic, so I decided to give it a shot. Here we go…

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Day one was pretty easy for me – arms included 6 tricep dips, 4 push ups, and 8 mountain climbers; legs was 50 squats . (Check out Youtube for videos of proper form if you are unfamiliar with these exercises). I don’t think my arms will feel the burn quite yet, but my legs did start to get tired toward the end of the squats. But the point is progress so I will continue to do this challenge daily and update you on my progress weekly as I go.

Will you join me on these 30 day challenges? Please do – and comment with your thoughts, progress, etc. as you go!

The Healthiest Way To Grocery Shop

Hey guys! Today was my grocery shop day, and that is what inspired this post. With the warm weather, we have more to look forward to than just poolside time – there are also a ton of new fruits and veggies in stores everywhere! 

I find that one of the easiest ways to ensure that I eat healthy is to make myself only buy healthy foods. This is even easier when I refuse to let myself go near the frozen foods (ice cream is my kryptonite) and stick to the produce section instead. Today, I went to Costco and  stocked up on all the beautiful, in season produce! Check out what I bought below.

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In case you can’t tell from the picture quality (my iPhone camera has had some trouble lately), I got apples, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, carrots, celery, kiwis, and bananas. I also got a pre-made rotisserie chicken that is not pictured. These yummy foods should help keep me eating healthy all week – maybe even longer! A ton of them can also be used to make smoothies! If you need smoothie recipes, check out my previous blog post here

Thanks for reading! Until next time, follow me on Twitter for extra quick tips and tricks! 

-Monica 

 

 

A Sweet, Summer Breakfast

Happy Wednesday! Only two more days left in the hectic week. If you’re at all like me, I am constantly looking for a quick, healthy, easy breakfast that will keep me full until lunch time.

For a while, I was really into eating oatmeal every morning, especially steel cut oatmeal. This did a great job of keeping me full and providing nutrition that can be so hard to get with other breakfast foods (let’s face it, Froot Loops are no longer considered a balanced breakfast).

Now that it’s summer time and can already be around 80 degrees by the time I leave for class in the mornings, I have been enjoying a cool, refreshing smoothie for breakfast each morning – and I have to say, it is great! The great thing about smoothies is the amount of variation you can use when making them. Basically any fruits (and even veggies!) that you have laying around can be thrown into a blender to make a new, delicious flavor.

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Here is a table that I sometimes use when making smoothies! It can be really helpful to get the right consistency. Pictured below is the smoothie I made this morning! I used the table and added almond milk, spinach, a banana and strawberries, flax seed, and ice.

Give one or two different smoothie formulas a try! You won’t be disappointed!

What is your favorite healthy and filling breakfast food? Leave a comment and share your own tips or recipes!

A Few Motivational Tips

The life of a student-athlete is anything but easy. Though after an athlete’s career ends many things get much easier, one thing that suddenly becomes important is staying healthy and fit without coaching or requirements. This is something that I just recently began to realize as my career as a student-athlete ended in May.

In this blog, I will share tips and tricks that I have found useful in a quest of my own to find health and happiness. If you are searching for work out and health tips or are a student athlete beginning this journey of your own, follow my blog because we are in this together! Personal health and happiness are directly correlated so spending some time furthering your own fitness through work out regimens and healthy eating is really important.

The hardest part of working out for me is motivation. Getting my shoes on and getting out the door to the gym can seem harder than the work out itself! Here are some of my favorite tricks for when I am feeling unmotivated:

1. Call a friend! It is much easier to hold yourself accountable for a great, worthwhile work out when you have someone to go with, pace with, and challenge you.
2. Make a killer gym playlist! Music can be really helpful for a work out. Listen to a few songs as you get ready for the gym to add some extra motivation
3. Head outside! If it is a nice day, lace up those sneakers and go for a run at a local park! Hiking is also a great outside work out.
4. Or stay inside! There are many great work out dvds you can purchase for $10 or less! Or look on Pinterest or Google for some free listed work outs – many even have instructional Youtube videos!

Hope you enjoyed the quick tips for work out motivation!
Until next time!

-Monica