Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I love about being Pregnant

This post isn't strictly fitness, but it's related enough to post here! :)

Things I've found I love about being pregnant:

1) I have a newly found and totally awesome love for my body.
2) I'm excited to put on weight (though, I've always had a little trouble putting on weight, I was never particularly excited when I did - now I am!)
3) I feel WAY more connected with my body in some ways because every feeling seems exaggerated.
4) I appreciate food more. In a very real sense I feel like food is now an amazing fuel, not just something that I eat and gorge on because I love the flavors. I'm super conscious now of what i'm putting in my body and how it will affect the baby!
5) I appreciate yoga so much more. I've always loved yoga, but since I've gotten pregnant, it's pretty much all I want to do! LOVE the way yoga-especially prenatal - makes me feel!

I'm sure there will be more as things get really awesome around here (Can't wait to feel the baby getting it's exercise on), but for now, this kind of does it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My new AMAZING treat

I recently realized that I was probably not getting enough protein (and some other nutrients) for baby building, so I came up with this super yummy smoothie in which I steal some of the hubby's chocolate protein powder (whey source). It tastes like a banana split to me!

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 frozen banana
1/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 scoop (came in the package) of chocolate Whey protein powder
1/4 cup fruit juice (I've been using gran-grape, but any would work)
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (I mix TJ's unsweetened and sweetened)

Blend and enjoy! it makes about 2 8 oz smoothies. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome to the 2nd Trimester!

Wow! I've made it to 14 weeks! :)

The amazing thing is that about 2 days ago I started to have energy again. I still poop-out around 8 or 9 o'clock, but my days are much more palatable, because i want to do something OTHER than lay on the couch all day!

Here is how my fatigue progressed (and the effect it had on my 'workouts')

At 4 weeks, when I found out I was expecting, I was excited and still had some energy going for me. At that point, I tired out more easily than before, but I could still happily and easily go on a 2 mile brisk walk, no problem.

At 6 weeks, all sorts of 'ugh' started happening. I was hit like a brick with nausea and fatigue and then I started experiencing some scary spotting. The effect of all of this was that the couch was my new best friend. For the next 2 weeks, I was a couch surfer. My exercise consisted of walking around the house and walking at rehearsals (aka, work).

Around 8 weeks I started noticing that I would get up, have 20 minutes of energy, and then I was done for the day. The nausea was still present, as was some occasional spotting, so I continued to take it EASY.

11 weeks and sun started to shine - my appetite came back some. Still some nausea and still only 20 minutes of energy a day, but I could face food again. Hooray! This happened to coincide with Thanksgiving, and nothing sounded better to me than turkey with cranberry relish and mashed potatoes with gravy. At this point I also saw a doctor (again, make this appt number 3, 'emergency' appointment, no. 2). This time I was put on antibiotics that made me dizzy, so... The couch surfer was back. Since said appointment with said antibiotics, no spotting (touch wood).

13 weeks, 5 days - I suddenly had energy again. It is mind blowing! I've been SO busy that the pregnancy fatigue has been KILLER. It is at this point (aka, last tuesday) that I welcomed yoga back into my routine. The most amazing part is that on that day I had a dentist appointment, did prenatal yoga, taught as a guest lecturer in a High school Choir Class, then went to work for an almost normal full length day and didn't start to slide on energy until 6:30. Not bad!

13 weeks, 6 days - Work then a gig. I work Tues/Thurs nights until 10 (and I am ready to fall asleep around 9), so I was exhausted from my long day the day before, but I survived work, a gig, some grocery shopping, and cooking dinner before I passed out at 8:30.

14 weeks (today!!!) - I woke up after having fallen asleep at 8:30 last night, got my breakfast, made the hubby coffee (then cleaned the coffeepot), and gave the house a cleaning once over before doing some yoga and couchtime. all before heading to work.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

A new twist

So, Its been a while (again!), but this time for a very very good reason! Hubby and I are expecting! It's been a little bit of a rough ride so far, so my workouts have gone by the wayside for the moment, but things are getting better and I'm working my way back to working out. The biggest thing with pregnancy is changing your workout to adjust to body changes. I'm only 12 weeks and I already have a belly going, but have only gained 1lb, so the my body shape and balance has changed. Our little munchkin is about 2-3 inches now and boy does he wear me out! The Fatigue (it's extreme, you never realize how much until you're there) has also slowed my interested in working out. Lately, my workout has mostly been walking, lots of walking!
I've also felt sore like I've been working out regularly, particularly my abs - go go muscle stretching!

here is me in July/August - before

here I am at 11 weeks and 5 days! Teeny-tiny bump replacing my flat tummy!

So, now my family knows, and I've made my blogging announcement this blog will (hopefully) share my workout adventures as a cute, roly-poly pregnant woman!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Keeping up with the bloggers...

I am not, but here goes another little post. I have recently come to the realization that blogging can be crazy difficult to do sometimes! I've been exploring lower impact, 'easier' but effective ways to get a workout in that's not as hardcore. Considering that I work and teach (I'm a private music teacher) and often get home exhausted, my only real chance to get my workout in is early in the morning, so gentler workouts that take more time are basically out of the question!

What I've found in doing my 'light cardio' workouts is that I miss my weight training, so its time to fit that back in!

Have you ever gone and tried something new exercise-wise? Did you miss your old routine? Did changing things up motivate you more, or make you less likely to do your workouts?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Life in the real world as a fitness buff!

Hey folks!
I'm trying to continue blogging on at least a monthly basis, though we'll see how long it lasts - I may just start posting my workouts again! :-P

I'm back to the rehearsal grind at the youth symphony I work at, which means I'm back to lifting and pushing things that often weigh as much, if not more, than I do! The other bright side is that I have lots of time in the morning to do as long or as intense of a workout as I want... Or I can take a the time to do a nice long yoga session. :)

I've been doing some awesome reading lately. I totally discovered Google Reader (about time, right?) and I'm loving having all my favorite blogs in one place. It has also gotten me to discover a couple other new ones! Here are some I've been reading that you might enjoy:

Predictable? Perhaps, but I enjoy them every moment I spend reading them! :)

Since I'm here, I want to send you with some lifestyle thoughts to go away with:

Sleep - what are your sleep habits and how do you feel when you wake up?
Exercise - what are your exercise habits and how do you feel after your workouts?
Food - what are your eating habits and how do you feel after eating?

Identifying your own habits will help you to stay on your journey towards health!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall into Shape!

Hi guys,

It's been a while, I know, I know. Sometimes it's so hard to keep up with the blog, work a job and a half, and still see my husband when I get home!

So, we finally went on our official honeymoon (to Kauai) and it is SUCH a great place to get your active on! Seriously, even people who aren't usually active find themselves being super active and acting like they're fit! ;) Even me, during my sluggish and lazy teenage years (as you can read here). Why is this?

Hawaii is such a naturally beautiful place, that you want to be out in nature. Many of the sights, you have to do some sort of little hike or other to see, so that gets you going with little spurts of movement. In the 2 times I've been to Hawaii, all 3 places we (first my family and I, then Ethan and I) required that we climb at least 2 sets of stairs to get to them. This is, of course, not always the case, but it didn't hurt my experiences of Hawaii! There are a lot of beautiful places to hike, and you don't want to sit out! Most of them are not crazy difficult and therefore completely accessible - who wants to sit out on that kind of opportunity!?
Then there is the water and the water sports. Most hotels/condos/resorts/timeshares that you stay at will have a pool for the guests. The ocean is warm (well, warmer than the pacific in NorCal) and so swimming in the ocean is comfortable. There are lots of opportunities to; Kayak, SUP, Surf, Boogeyboard, snorkel, scuba (if you go for that), and just swim with the added challenge of swimming or treading water with waves. So, when you're only there for a week or two and want to do as much as possible, there is no way you can be anything but totally active!

Anyway, it's fall again and what other season is there that is better for change?

The awesome thing about your journey towards getting fit, in shape, and healthy is that you can start small. You don't have to jump right into a 6 mile run in order to get into shape. In fact, doing that is the worst possible idea. So, how are you going to make this change in your life?

First steps first - start small.

Today or tomorrow or just soon do an assessment of where you are, fitness-wise. ask yourself these questions:
*how many pushups can I do?
*If I go for a run, how long can I run before i'm so uncomfortable, have cramps, joints start talking?
*how long can I jump rope for before I have to stop?
*how many crunches/sit-ups can I do?

once you've gotten some idea of where you are, find something small that you can do on a daily or bi-daily basis. It doesn't have to be anything big. There are a lot of resources available to you - Gyms, classes, the internet.

I'm going to give you a short, quick start to get you boosted and on your way, but first there is a list of resources I want you to look at. See if any click for you and are something you can stick with:

1) Netflix - yes, they have workout videos that you can order or stream.
2) - amazing website, you can buy workouts inexpensively or take advantage of the free ones.
3) - I wax on and on about this website because it's methods work. because it's workouts are accessible and only take 30 minutes or less to complete most of the time.
4) Hulu - yes, they actually have workout videos on hulu too! check them out here.
5) Your gym - there are gyms all over the place; 24 hour, California Family Fitness, 19 fitness, YMCA. There are a bunch around and they all have equipment to work out and most have classes you can take like aerobics, zumba, yoga, etc. and many have personal trainers who can help you on your journey.
6) The pavement outside - run, walk, jog, bike, roller skate. the pavement is calling.
9) Yoga studios. They are all over the place. Just keep your eyes open and check out for local ones.

Now, these are just a few of the resources you can check out. Don't let my suggestions be the end of where you look! Look for something that you love and can stick with.

Finally, here is your fall kickstart - a workout that uses no equipment but you, that should take no longer than 30 minutes (hopefully fewer) and will get you started on your journey. For most of my workouts I use a gymboss timer.

Fall into Shape:

go through this set of exercises 3 times.

1) 10 pushups -if you can't do full pushups, do girly ones off of your knees
2) 10 jump squats - if the jumping kills you on first go for normal squats - no jump. if too easy try for squat jump tucks.
3) 10 pike pushups
4) 40 high knees - each knee up counts as one rep
5) 30 bicycles - each knee in counts as one rep.

here are your exercise explanations:
Push up-

jump squat

squat jump tuck

Pike pushups

high knees


One of these days I'll figure out my technology and get videos of myself up here!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Your 'Big' Goals.

In an earlier post I talked about setting small, realistic, day-to-day goals to achieve their long-term goals. The important component to that is that you have a realistic long-term goal. For example, My long term goal is to be as functionally fit as I can be and to be the healthiest I can be, so all of my short term fitness goals are with that in mind. This is a healthy type of goal to hold in regards to your exercise goals because it's not focused on appearances. Studies have shown that many people whose fitness and exercise goals are centered on their appearances give up and don't stick with their fitness routines because they don't see instant results. So, if you have trouble sticking with your short range goals, ask yourself why that is. Are your long term goals too unrealistic to the point that you quit because you aren't seeing the results you want?

In other news, I've been reading again! By now, you've probably all figured out that i'm a voracious reader. I love reading, and every time I see something that catches my eye regarding fitness, I read it. The most recent book is Real-world fitness by Kathy Kaehler.

What I liked best about this book is that she's very real about fitness and how you can get it to fit into your life! She also has a rock solid reputation that has been in place for many years.
so, I highly recommend this read.

If there are any books you highly recommend, let me know!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Workout No.1

So - the text again:

"Here's a home gym for KatieFit... I'm watching a movie and just worked the crap out of my quads and glutes. Wanna write a routine for it?"

so, here is your routine! (I'll post a video of the moves later):

go through this set of exercises 2 times (i'm assuming that your step can bear weight):

1) 15 Squats with dumbell press
2) 12 Right leg step-ups
3) 10 Romanian Deadlift and Rows
4) 12 Left leg step-ups
5) 15 Push ups with jumping jack legs
6) 10/leg plie squat with opening chest fly
7) 20 alt single leg toe touches (10/leg)
8) 24 Sumo pulses with legs
9) 5 Matrix ab exercises
10) 10 lunges with right foot on step
11) 25 mountain climbers (double count)
12) 10 lunges with left foot on step
13) 25 dumbell swings (you can use a medicine ball, kettle bell, or weighted sandbag here)
14) 25 bicycles (double count)

if you really want a goal to work for, time yourself and share your scores!


A New Challenge for me - A New Opportunity for you!

Hi everyone,

I received a text this weekend I'd like to share with you and it got me thinking about a new thing to try here on KatieFit!

So here is essence of the text (accompanied by this picture):

"Here's a home gym for Katiefit... wanna write a routine for it?"

This got me thinking that this could be a really good theme for this blog- at least for a while. So here's the deal:

send me an email to with a picture of what you have to work out with space-wise, equipment-wise, and let me know what you have to work with time-wise and I'll develop a workout for what you have available to you!

We can make it a further challenge by having you guys post your own varieties in the comments of each post! (if you want :-p)

So- by the end of the day, I hope to have a workout for this one and maybe some more emails to work with for future posts!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So, last night I wrote about goals and how setting realistic short-term goals can help you achieve your long-term goals of getting in shape (and/or losing weight). Today, I wanted to write a short post about another aspect that helps you achieve your goals. And that is...


yet another 'cliche' about achieving your goals. You've probably heard it a 'million' times - you need some way (or someone) to hold you accountable to your short term goals in order to achieve the long term goals.

So - who do you trust to hold you to your goals? If you trust yourself to keep you accountable, then there is your answer. If you don't trust yourself, and many of us don't, try to find a buddy with whom you can split the 'responsibilty' of both of your fitness. You can work out together and check in with each other to make sure that you are both sticking to your goals.
and, just a side-note: both goal-setting and having some sort of accountability system can help you achieve just about anything you're aiming at; learning/perfecting an instrument, learning a new skill like dance or painting, or training for a sport...

Monday, July 18, 2011


After a long while of inconsistent and incomplete workouts (due to the arm surgery) I'm back with a touch of philosophy about why some people succeed in their fitness goals while others struggle and give up, never succeeding in their quest to be fitter, healthier people.

Now that I'm working back into my regular workout scheduling I've been thinking about what it is that makes me succeed in my fitness goals even despite setbacks like the sprained ankle and arm surgery. The answer is very 'elementary school.'

Remember in school when your teachers talked about goal setting? I remember several teachers of mine going into HOW you should set goals. She would say that the key is to set a group of goals, short term goals and long term goals. Most importantly, the goals had to be ACHIEVABLE and REALISTIC.

So, what makes a goal achievable?

When it's something you can actually do, it's achievable. So - Setting a goal to workout for an hour a day, every day of the week if you work 40 hours a week is not realistic or achievable. setting a goal to workout 3 times a week for 20 minutes is far more achievable.

So, my goal to get back into working out regularly again - which is made challenging by my limitations from my arm and my long work days - is to workout or do yoga for at LEAST 10 minutes a day.
My goal for my health in my diet is to drink more water daily and make sure to include as many fruits and vegetables into my diet as I can manage.

What are your REALISTIC and ACHIEVABLE short term goals to improve your health and fitness?

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm back and I'm answering a question!

Q: Hi Katiefit! so, why does my neck hurt when i do crunches and sit ups?

A: There are probably multiple reasons for this. The first is that your head is the heaviest single part of the body (on average it's 10-12lbs) and in the sit up position it's supported solely by your neck. ouch!- especially if you don't have the vertebrae and muscles aligned into the strongest position. Secondly, a lot of people use their heads and necks to create the action of a sit up. In other words, you're doing a sit up by pulling your head up rather than engaging your abs to pull up your shoulders.

My first suggestion to avoid this is to stop doing sit ups for a little while until your abs are stronger. I highly suggest standing abdominal exercises like these:

also, try doing the ab bicycle exercise with your head on the ground. reach to your opposite knee with your hand instead of elbow to avoid pulling on the head. Another series of exercises you can try are plank-based exercises. Start in Plank from your forearms or your hands (pushup position). from here, you can do one of these options: a) balance and hold for 30 seconds and repeat, b) lift one leg at a time and balance and hold for at least 15 seconds, c) balance on one leg while you bring the other inside (under you), across (under you towards the opposite shoulder) and to the outside (to the outside of the shoulder on the same side) - then switch legs.

When you go back to doing crunches and sit ups make sure you don't have your hands ON your head. if you feel you should have them there, allow them to float behind your head. or you can cross them across your chest, or just keep them down by your hips (like in high school when they were making sure you went far enough. Was I the only one with this experience?)

Hope this helps!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh it's been a while

Its funny how life gets in the way. For an update - I've been working out 2 days a week as opposed to the previous 5 days a week. it seems to be working to keep me in shape and not overtax my metabolism, so that's all good. It's been harder to blog now that I have a 30hr/week job! thankfully it's a job that requires (during the school year/season) a lot of heavy lifting and I actually have biceps now!!!!
Unfortunately my working out is going to get really limited starting tomorrow as I'm having surgery on my arm to remove the plates that have been causing some pain. This means 3 months of no heavy lifting (no pushups :( no pullups, etc.) so this blog is about to become 'the spot where I tell everyone about my experiments with working out since I'm super limited by an 'injury'.'
So, along those lines, does anyone have any suggestions for workouts I can do that don't involve my arm?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Using your available Resources to your Fit-advantage!

  • There are a lot of people out there who feel like they just can't workout. They all have their own reasons and those reasons are many. Time is the biggest factor; "I just don't have time to go to the gym!" but equipment and money are also factors.
I'm here to tell you that there are SO many options out there. AGAIN. Because I myself find that I'm also a victim of falling into traps.

The Time Factor:

Ok, most of us have this problem. In our busy lives we just can't find time to go to the gym and do a workout. The good news is there are ways to overcome the time crunch:

1) squeeze in 10 minutes.
and yes, i did just say TEN minutes. You can start your fitness journey with just 10 minute workouts. one place to look to get ideas are the older workouts on, but this is by no means the only place to look! Just type 10 minute workout into Google and you'll get a whole plethora of options! There are lots of DVDs out there that have 3 to 5 ten minute workouts on them and you can mix it up each day! Or just do 10 minutes of 'standard' calithenics. To get a full 30 minute workout in when you don't have a 30 minute block of time, try doing 3 ten-minute workouts throughout the day. I really love the exercises in the book "You are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises for Men and Women" ( I have my Gymboss timer ( that provides lots of options for home workouts.
But that's the other part, and this is important; You don't have to go to the gym. You have all you need to workout at home; your body, a little space (I just worked out in a house where everything is taking up the entire room because we're repainting and doing floors - just find a spot with just the amount of space for a yoga mat and you can do SOMETHING. If that doesn't work for you, there is bound to be a space that does. The truth is, you can work out ANYWHERE. To get ideas, I suggest as a resource.

2) Squeeze in a Set
Ok, so sometimes I don't even have 10 minutes. It happens. What I usually will do then is just drop down and do 20 pushups. Or push out a set of squats. If you're doing this all day, choosing different exercises and just doing a couple reps (like 10-30) it doesn't take long and you're still getting some of the benefits of exercise. It helps, I swear - that's how I got through my wedding planning plus 2 new jobs!

The Equipment Factor:

1) use your bodyweight
I totally mentioned this earlier, but I'll mention it again. You don't NEED equipment to get into great physical shape! Your body is more than enough weight to push around for that. There are the basics; Pushups, situps, squats, high knees, mountain climbers, and lunges. Then, get adventurous! There are lots of books and websites out there to teach you fun variations of those exercises that will challenge you, keep you interested, AND provide more muscle toning to more muscles.

2) Use things around the house
Did you know you can use canned goods as dumbells? Sure, they don't get particularly heavy if they're still going to fit in your hand, but they'll work all the same! How about using a chair to do tricep dips. Or the coffee table. Or you can get really excited and use both! (I'll put my hands on the coffee table and feet up on the seat of a chair for a really good tricep dip). You can grab a dufflebag and put baggies of rice in it. There's always that unopened 5lb bag of flour. There are lots of things around the house that you can use to intensify your workouts!

3) Invest in some inexpensive home equipment
No, I'm not telling you to go spend 300+ dollars on a treadmill that's just going to collect dust in your living room. I invested in some small things to help with my workouts and I've collected them over time. These things include:
  • A workout/yoga mat - you really can't beat the value of $15 on a mat you will use ALL THE TIME if you workout at home
  • Some dumbells - pick a weight, any weight that works for you. I have 8lbs at my house and 8lbs and 5lbs at my parents... it's all you need for some light weightlifting.
  • a medicine ball - you can grab one of these and there are SO many applications for more dynamic exercises!
  • resistance bands - you know the ones that stretch? get a medium or heavy one and go to town, there are suggestions all over the place.
  • Swiss Ball (an exercise ball) - figure out what size you need and you are set. They come in multiple sizes and colors and only cost $10-$20.
  • Gymboss Timer - this thing is AMAZING. I love that i can do quick interval training or use the stopwatch function to see how long it takes me to do a certain number of exercises. Very cool.
  • Running/cross training/tennis shoes - these are always good to have :-P and are the most expensive thing on this list. Get yourself a good pair, you won't regret it!
Most of this equipment is under $10. And you can buy one thing at a time and slowly build up your own 'home gym.'

Using your available resources:

There are so many resources available to you to 'research' workouts and fitness and health (like I do) or to just get pre-made workouts of many different kinds. I'm providing a list of awesome places to look and I encourage you to create a list of your own and share it!

There are so many more out there - help me find them! :-D
Katie O.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Married! and some weight gain/loss observations

So. I'm married now, and that's a LOT off my plate! :-P There were a couple interesting things I've noticed that I thought would be interesting to start a discussion about.
The first is that a lot of brides either lose a lot of weight during the wedding planning process or gain some. I definitely lost some - mostly from stress... tiny bit of loss of appetite. I wasn't working out any more - definitely was working out less, so I was wondering how many brides out there experienced either weight gain or loss during their wedding planning.

The second thing I've noticed is that after the wedding, a lot of married couples tend to put on weight. This one I'm curious about. It seems almost like the freshman 15. New surroundings, the wife feels like she should be cooking all the time so is creating home cooked foods more often. Or maybe, as a counter to the stress, the couple eats out more. OR perhaps, the bride in particular, has changed her metabolic patterns by not eating as much during the wedding planning and then goes back to eating like normal and puts on weight because the metabolism is not functioning like it was before she started eating less.

These could both be contributed to exercise too! Maybe before the wedding the bride and groom are working out hard to look their best for the wedding and then afterwards they stop working out because they no longer have something to work out for.

What are your thoughts? I'm interested what you think about this!

Katie O.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A long break and a busy life

For those of you who actually LOOK at this without me posting: SORRY! I've been so busy with a new job and wedding planning that this lovely little blog has been pushed to the side.

I hope to come back soon (4 weeks!) and update with some of the things I've been thinking about fitness and health-wise.

lots of love,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


So, it's been a while. Bet you guys were wondering if I was slacking off workout-wise!
Truth is, I was exercising less, but for good reasons that have nothing to do with being 'too busy' or 'too tired' or even letting Zuz and Freddy's 'brutus' win in my conversations with myself about my workouts. (first mentioned here as that voice in your head: In fact the reason that I haven't been working out as much has been due to a DIFFERENT type of self- sabotage - making the subject of all kinds of self-sabotage my next topic!

First off there are the 'standard' methods of exercise self-sabotage that everyone falls victim to. Did any of the ones I mentioned earlier sound familiar? If you're a morning exerciser you've probably had lots of those days where you say "I'm too tired to workout, so I'm going to ignore my alarm and sleep for another half-hour." I myself am TOTALLY guilty of this and I'm a morning person! Then there are those of you who try to fit the workout in after work and before you start dinner, but a lot of you have families and other responsibilities that you let take precedence over your fitness and health. Or you get home from work and say "ugh, that was the worst day at work - I just want to veg out in front of the TV and try to forget it." Yep, I'm one of these too. Notice I've said "too". Even those of us who love exercising easily let these opportunities to self-sabotage take over sometimes. Then there's 'Brutus.' You know about him, right? Maybe not by that name - he's that voice in your head saying things like "you've worked out 3 times this week, you deserve a break" or "yeah, I know you should be pushing harder here, but you've had a long day and you're really just goofing off right now." He may be in your head saying "Laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, dusting... you've been doing this all week, there's no reason for you to get off the computer/off the couch and do a workout/go for a walk." Usually Self-Sabotage of any form has a cycle. Here is an (unrelated) example of what one might look like:

imagine all of my 'cycles i write about looking like this.

The next kind of self-sabotage is found in your diet and boy am I ever guilty. Remember that you're only human, so giving in to temptation is only natural - sometimes. If you're only giving in once a day to once a week you are in GOOD shape as far as i'm concerned (I just gave in and ate a cinnamon roll, just as an example that I'm as human as all the rest of you! ;-P ) However, if you're 'giving in' and drinking soda and eating tons of junk, you're really sabotaging not only your fitness and 'aesthetic' goals regarding your body, but you're also compromising your health! So try and monitor how often you give in to those "I'm not hungry, but I want something (insert - sweet, salty, fatty, crispy, crunchy - here)" Giving in frequently is a downward spiral that you want to try and stop. Especially if you're an emotional eater like I am because the spiral starts looking something like this: have a hard day - crave something 'bad' - eating it - feeling guilty - crave something else 'bad' - feeling guilty... you see where this is going! Some of my healthiest behavior to stop this spiral has been to stop and ask what's really going on and then do a little mild yoga or meditate or go on a nice walk - all activities that encourage you to think through your issues and help 'fix' that behavior.

how often have any of these tempted you?
RESIST the temptation of this picture! You don't need any of this food!

The third type of self-sabotage is sneaky. REALLY sneaky. This is one that catches me regularly and is why I am always telling you to really listen to your body and what it's 'saying.' This type of self-sabotage manifests in the moment you've gotten into really good exercise habits and (for most people) you get an injury. For me, it's most common in the form of illness. I'm one of those 'blessed' (note I put this in quotes, because i'm really not sure how much of a blessing this really is) people with a really fast metabolism. The kind that, when over-revved, starts to make my body as a whole stop working quite right. Usually it compromises my immune system so that I get sick ALL THE TIME. I like the feeling of exercise and fitness and will fall into the trap of not listening to what my body is telling me. Like 'you really shouldn't work out today, I'm too busy cleaning up after your last workout.' A couple blog entries again I mentioned noticing this and switching almost exclusively to walking and yoga. You know what happened? I stopped getting sick. I was healthy for an entire 4 months. WHOAH!!! So, after realizing that I was getting back into the cycle that totally compromised my immune system, I'm stepping back to working out no more than every other day. I'm trying to incorporate more walking and slightly less high intensity workout, because you all know what happens when you get sick - you can't workout and after being sick for a while you start losing fitness. In my case it's another cycle I fall into: Workout hard and frequently - get sick - lose fitness - get well and start working out hard to try and get back to previous fitness level - get sick - lose fitness. Can anyone see the cycle (another self-sabotage cycle) that keeps showing up?

should i workout today?

Now, I realize this isn't a problem that many people face. But it IS similar to sabotaging yourself when you workout with an injury. How many of you have injured yourself just badly that you're definitely injured, but not so badly that you 'have' to stop working out? And what happens when you don't stop your fitness routine? The injury never really heals, does it? So just like when you get sick, it's necessary to take a break. Re-evaluate. Let yourself heal and learn from how you injured yourself. Never EVER perpetuate the problem by continuing to use the injured part in the way that you first injured it. Or any way that bothers it in any small way, shape, or form.
Remember my mantra: "Listen to your body and what it's really saying." Pay attention to all the little parts as well as the big and make sure you're looking for any self-sabotaging cycles. It could save you in SO many ways!

In other news, I've been picking up a lot of books lately about fitness and health, etc. Right now I'm reading one by Dr. Lisa Callahan called The Fitness Factor. I'll let you guys know what I learn!
The Fitness Factor: Every Woman's Key to a Lifetime of Health and Well-Being

Thanks for reading, all of you! I know this one was a long one. Have a great day and keep healthy!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Exercising with old or new injuries

There are many people out there with old injuries, including me. In fact, I was asked about working out with joint pain and old injuries. This is a fun question for me, because, like so many of the other things I've written about, it applies to me too! I am frequently known as the walking disaster. I've had two knee injuries (thankfully fairly minor), sprained both ankles multiple times (each one i've gotten fairly minor sprains and one major for each), broken my wrist and had surgery on it later, and sustained some muscle/tissue damage to my lower back/right hip. Just like anything else, when you're working with an injury or old injuries, listen to your body. If it's a new injury, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start working out again. Ask when you can start working out again, what kinds of exercises you can do, what the intensity level should be, and what kinds of repercussions to expect from your body as you get back into it.
So... ouches are not fun

Luckily, there are many exercises that you can do while dealing with ouches and many more that you can modify to work for you. Ultimately, if you don't have much workout experience, you should ask a pro, however, there are many of you out there who don't have that luxury. What I like to do is start with common sense and then modify the moves as my body requires when i'm dealing with one of these setbacks. For example, once I could put weight on my ankle again after my sprain in September (more than 2 weeks later!!!) I started working out again. I took a lot more care with most of my workout moves. I found that I could handle stepping moves (no jumping for me, thanks!) like side lunges where I stepped from one side to the other. When I started doing pushups again I started on my knees; not because my arms and chest couldn't handle the weight, but because my ankle couldn't handle that pressure. I was still able to do reclining ab workouts (like crunches, bicycles, v-ups, etc), so I incorporated those in my workouts a lot.

So i'll cover a couple common injuries and a couple of the exercises you should be able to still do:

Ankle sprains:
obviously, i've touched on this a bit already, but here are some moves that you can still manage.
  • Pushups on your knees to avoid extra pressure on the ankle
  • tricep dips if your legs (shins/knees) are resting on a chair, make sure that your weight isn't on your ankle
  • bicycles (the ab exercise where you are on your back, alternating knees and twisting your opposite shoulder to knee)
  • v-ups (you start lying extended on your back, and pull your knees up to your chest as you pull your chest up to your knees. you should end up in a V shape balanced on your bum.)
  • Mule kicks where you start from your hands and knees and push your leg up behind you like a mule kicking over a bucket.
    Mule Kicks
    Uploaded by dailyfitnessblog. - Basketball, baseball, pro wrestling and more sports videos.
  • dirty dogs starting from that same hands and knees position you're going to raise your knee to the side:
  • crunches self explanatory
  • Pilates floor exercises: there are lots of these that you can do:
*roll ups
*arm circles
*cervical nod and curl
*knee folds
*the bug
*the hundred - beginner or advanced, this one will make your abs BURN
*single leg circles
*forward spine stretch
*rolling like a ball
*single leg stretch
*double leg stretch
*straight-leg single-leg stretch
*straight-leg double-leg stretch
*criss cross (basically like a bicycle)
*the saw
*roll over

once you can bear weight again, and really pay attention to your body on these:
  • squats (you can do knee lift/twists too)
  • stepping side lunges
  • pushups on your toes
  • reptiles
  • walking mountain climbers
  • plank knee tucks

ok, you get the point. There are LOTS of exercises you can still do!

wrist injury:
some of these are obvious. you can still do a lot of those standing exercises; squats, lunges, (if your balance is good you can still do high knees and jumping things). you still have the ability to do those reclining exercises like bicycles and crunches, jumping jacks, and walking too!
  • take your plank pose stuff and turn it into elbow plank (if your arm is ok with that)
  • grab a light weight for the other arm. you can do bicep curls, tricep presses, rows, etc.
knee pain:
this is the worst one to work with. Here you're going to have to be REALLY creative because your knee is so integral. If you have a knee INJURY, it's best to let it heal first and foremost.
the best thing to do for your knee is pay attention to it. warm up well before EVERY workout. Cool down well. Pay attention to all of the little twinges and modify. Side lunges can be surprisingly easy on the knees, but PAY ATTENTION, it it makes any 'noises' at you, don't ignore it. change exercises. Squats halfway down, but the same mantra applies; Pay Attention to what your body is saying to you. Walking is a great way to get some cardio in with less pressure on your knees.
You can do a lot of reclining exercises. Refer back to the pilates and ab exercises that are listed above for some lower pressure knee exercises that you can always do. Pilates floorwork is a GREAT way to get some strengthening work with minimal pressure on the knee. Just make sure you always pay attention to those 'little twinges' and learn to recognize if it's a dangerous twinge or a minor one. Definitely talk to your doctor about any concerns at ANY point.

the last thing i'm going to talk about regarding exercise:
Iliotibial "IT" Band:
I injured this earlier this year and it can be a really uncomfortable injury. It can manifest in your hip or knee, or anywhere in between the two. Mine was particularly painful in the hip. This is what your IT band looks like/where it is:

first you have to let the band heal. ice and ibuprophen help lessen the swelling and the pain. I hurt my IT band doing curtsy squats with incorrect balance and posture. I put the weight on my leg incorrectly and paid for it. SO be careful with balancing/weight bearing exercises.
When dealing this kind of pain, take it easy, balance your weight carefully, and make sure you are paying attention to those little twinges again!

hope this helps! :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm back with the answers to some of your questions!

Hi guys, it's been a little while (a whole week, ack!) I had some feedback on things that people were interested and I thought I'd address one today.
One of my readers asked about exercise while menstruating, which is really a good question for all you women out there, so I decided I would answer this question first.
The answer to this question ultimately has to come from you. Some women have really easy menstrual periods and it's not a big deal for them to continue their normal workouts. Others, like me, tend to have horrible periods with everything you DON'T want; bad cramps and headaches, backache, bloating, nausea, fatigue, mood swings... well, you get the point. The trick with those periods is that you can usually workout and it will actually help relieve the symptoms somewhat. The most important thing for you to do during your period is to listen to your body. I'm not saying to completely take it off, but if you experience any worsening of your symptoms when you try a workout (usually this happens during the first couple days), stop. However, if you're just using your period as an excuse, knock that off! What is generally recommended is a slightly 'lighter' workout. Basically, just listen to your body and what it's telling you.

If you are a regular yogi, you probably already know this from your classes, but you shouldn't do any inverted poses (where your head is lower than your hips). There are some really good yoga poses and 'workouts' out there that can help relieve the symptoms even more. in particular; half-moon pose, supported child's pose, and reclining bound angle pose. If you are interested in the yoga route when you are menstruating, I highly recommend you look at Moving Towards Balance: 8 weeks of yoga with Rodney yee (in the back of the book there is a 'moon practice' that is really good. I also recommend you look at The Woman's Book of Yoga and Health.

I often find that light cardio or a lighter bodyweight or dumbbell workout helps relieve some of the discomfort and makes me feel better. The general consensus is that you should try to continue your workouts, they will help combat the fatigue - as long as you don't overdo it - and will help relieve other symptoms as well.

The main idea is that you listen to your body. Not the excuses your mind gives you, but what your body is actually saying. Try your workout and pay attention to how it's going. If you're feeling worse, stop. If you're feeling better, finish out your workout. Just like your body, your period is individual and not like everyone else's, so pay attention to yourself and do what your body is telling you to.