Monday, October 27, 2008

Homecoming Workout Plan - Day 21 "The Pants II"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homecoming Workout Plan - Day 15

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weight Training Tips!

Hey All!

Well, I am happy to report that as of my weigh in tonite, I have lost a total of - 16 POUNDS!! Happy Dance! So far for this month, I have lost a total of seven pounds. I would like to take off another three pounds before the end of the month. According to my online trainer Grant, (yep the same one!) 10 lbs a month for the first few months is a do - able month. Now, he didn't say that it would be easy - apparently it involves a lot of sweating - but still an attainable goal. Next week, I start in with the weights! Oh Joy!

Because Mr. Grant has helped me in my greatest hour of need, and also cuz I am lazy and can't think of anything funny tonite, I am going pass along some information that he gave me about weight training! Enjoy!

When do I add weights and how much? I'm glad you asked that question! Use the following guidelines: when you are able to do the scheduled number of sets and reps in a given exercise, increase the weight by the smallest increment possible, e.g., on the bench press if you can do all 3x15 with the weight of the bar only, add a 2.5lb weight to each side and use that until you can again do 3x15, then take the 2.5lb weights off and use two 5lb weights and start the whole process over again, and on and on. You will probably reach a point that you think you will never get beyond, but keep at it and you WILL eventually get to the next level.

Machines are a little more difficult, because the weight increments are usually in 10-20lb increases. In this case, again increase by the smallest amount of weight you can but you will probably have to reduce the number of reps you do because of the large increase in weight, e.g., on the wide grip pulldown, the lowest weight is probably 20 lbs and the next jump would be 40lbs-that's a pretty big step so instead of doing 3x15-or 12 or whatever was specified, do 3x12, if that is still too much try 3x10 until you reach a spot where you can do at least two full sets and have to struggle to finish the last 2-3 reps of the last set. Make sense? By going in small increments and slowly you are less likely to injure yourself or to overtrain and get mentally and physically burned out.

The mental part of lifting is very important, it's not just about beating your way through the next weight plateau, mentally push yourself along the lines that focus on the muscle that you are using to lift as well as the lift itself. For instance, when you are doing tricep kickbacks really concentrate on the contraction of the muscle all the way through the range of motion and also watching yourself in the mirror to make sure that you are moving the weight in a steady and controlled method-no swinging the weights and basically just flailing away-I'm sure you've seen some people doing that from time to time in your gym. Another thing, do not worry about how awkward you may feel when you first start doing and exercise or how much weight you are doing compared to what others may be doing-you have your own schedule and your own pace, concentrate on that-focus, focus, focus.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, my guess is that you will be pretty sore in the beginning-maybe even a little sore at me too, HAHA-that is to be expected and with time it will become less and less intense (but it ain't never gonna go away, so get over it!!). Having said that however, as I said in my email, if you feel pain that is not muscle related stop the exercise immediately -ankles, knees, hips, elbows, necks, etc. Remember death is nature's way of telling you to slow down when you don't listen. And we don't want that now do we?

Thanks Grant! Til next time, you can do it!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sweet Links for 101408

P.O.S.H. gives you cheap workout and fitness tips. Nubian Fitness Goddess profiles Jennifer hudson as a Fiat and Fabulous Woman. 55kg is keeping up with the weight-loss. Pinch and think your cravings says Health Nut Wannabe Mom.

Shrink that belly fat with fun and easy cardio exercises form Conquer Weight Loss. 7 super foods that promote better health from Making Mommy Hot. Healthhabits is asking if your brain is making you eat.

Tighten That Tummy, Wittle That Waist

Oh the belly battle. Keeping a nice, flat, toned tummy is the holy grail of many women's fitness goals. Big thighs? No problem. Big butt? Great! Big Belly? Not so great. As my mother likes to say when I get a little chunky - You can't stick out from both ends. You look like you're coming and going.

As Black women, if we're honest with ourselves, then we know having a big belly and a big butt is not the business. And I know some of you are sacrificing getting rid of that stomach to hold on to the bootie. This is not a healthy (or aesthetically pleasing) strategy. We have discussed time and time again on this blog that while but fat won't kill you, belly fat will.

So what are the best exercises to get the tight, toned belly and little waist we all craves? Well with a combination of 30 minutes of intense cardio and these 5 exercises you should be getting your Beyonce on in no time:

Bicycle Exercise

1.1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 12-16 reps.

Reverse Crunch

1. Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed.
3. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.
4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.
5. It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.

Exercise Ball Crunch
1.Sit on a stability ball and place your legs shoulder width apart on the floor.
2. Walk your feet out as you roll yourself down until the lower part of your back is on the ball.
3. With your elbows wide and chin off the chest, lift the upper part of your back off the stability ball (like a floor crunch).
4. Slowly lower yourself back onto the ball. Be sure to control any movement with the stability ball. Focus on proper breathing and do not hold your breath.

1. Start by lying face down on the ground or use an exercise mat. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest.
2. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms
3. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground.
4. Hold this position *focusing on tightening your abs* until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge. For beginners, start with 10 seconds
5. Return to start position.

Vertical Leg Crunch

1. Lay on the floor, an exercise mat with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip.
2. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling. Hold 5 seconds.
3. Lower hips to floor to starting position.

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Make Change Slowly. Unless you are excited to be following a very specific diet and exercise plan, do not try and change too much too fast. If you have been eating poorly and not exercising, both your body and your mind will have a lot of adjusting to do.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Homecoming Workout Plan - Day 6 "The Pants"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Just say no to white bread. Did you know that white bread isn’t good for you? Oh, it’s true - just ask any diabetic. Research has shown that people who eat more refined products (like white bread) are more likely to have belly fat. Why? It’s simple: your body isn’t getting what it needs. The food industry isn’t the health industry, okay? You can’t trust that they’ve got your best interests at heart (despite all their marketing efforts). If you want the flavor of white bread, please eat the whole grain white bread instead? Sara lee makes a wonderful loaf, as I can personally attest (even though I like rye more than white or wheat). Repeat after me: whole grain white bread, whole grain white bread.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Cut 100 calories a day from your diet. Replace your daily bar of chocolate with a banana or an orange. These 100 calories a day sum up to 1 pound a month. Just by giving up that one bar of chocolate, you can lose 1 pound of weight in one month!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Daily Weight Loss Tip and Homecoming Workoust Plan - Day 2

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweet Links for 100708

It's high in fiber, low in calories, has 55 grams of protein and Mike says you will lose weight. When juice fasting goes very wrong...for the other spouse. Using silver as a dietary supplement from Chronic Chick Talk.

Tight Ass Tuesday...think that's self explanatory. Caffeine and the Blood Brain Barrier from Top Form Secrets. Healthy Food Pick of the Week - Kefir. Why the High Fructose Corn Syrup ad campaign is full of ish.

Nutrition Energy and Weight Loss from Diet Healthy. The Truth About Protein and Your Body from The P.O.S.H Life. Breaking the Chains of Food Addiction, apparently it requires more fasting...ick.

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Make a Plan. So often folk say they want to lose weight but they don't have a plan on how their going to accomplish their weight loss goals. Having a solid plan can act as a road map to your goal weight and give you a visual to tweak as needed if you're not seeing the results you want.

Homecoming Workout Plan Day 1

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sweet Links for 100408

Three annoying things about fitness. Only 3? According to Cranky fitness one has to call the inner babysitter to work the issues out. We're raising a nation of fatties so says The Fitness Diva. Get the kiddies off their asses and outside playing!

Cardio Kills. Or so goes the teachings of one Jim Karas, but Nubian Fitness Goddess ain't buying it. Hit that infamous plateau? Well P.O.S.H. has just the plan to get you losing weight again.

After all the running, grunting and sweating...breath smells a litle funky. No problem! Just freshen it up a bit with some green tea. Need healthy recopies? Well just figure out why the chicken salad crossed the road and you'll be there.

Daily Weight Loss Tips

Find an online weight-loss buddy. A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. The researchers followed volunteers for 18 months. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cam Thursdays: Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is one of the most practiced of the manipulative and body based practices. It is also one of the few CAM treatments that is also used as a conventional medical treatment. Massage therapy has been around since ancient times. You can find references to it in ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek texts. Today massage therapy is used for a host of health-related issues:

• Pain relief
• Stress relief
• Depression
• Rehabilitate sports injuries
• Increase relaxations
• Maintain health and general wellness

Types of Massage
There are 80 types of massage therapy, and in each one, some form of manipulation of the body is done using hands, fingers, elbows, forearms, and even feet. Some of the more popular forms of massage therapy include the following:

• Swedish massage is the most common of the CAM massage therapy techniques. The massage therapist will use friction of the muscles, kneading, long strokes and manipulation of the joints in treating a patient.
• Trigger point massage applies concentrated pressure on knots that form in the muscles, cause pain, and can cause problems in other areas of the body if left untreated.
• Deep tissue massage involves uses various strokes and pressure applied with the fingers to focus on tightened muscles while also focusing on layers of muscles that are deep under the skin.
• Shiatsu massage is Japanese in origin and sometimes associated with TCM. Practitioners use their fingers to apply pressure to parts of the body that are blocking the energy flow of the body also known as Qi.

There are very few risks associated with massage therapy when practiced by a licensed professional. Some risks and side effects associate with massage therapy include the following:

• Temporary pain or discomfort
• Swelling
• Bruising
• An allergic reaction to massage oils

When Not to Use Massage Therapy
There are several instances when massage therapy isn’t recommended or requires consulting your healthcare provider before you proceed. These include pre-existing conditions and various health related issues like the following:

• Deep vein thrombosis
• A fever
• Weakened bones
• Osteoporosis
• Bleeding disorders
• Damaged blood vessels
• Cancer
• Pregnancy
• Heart problems
• Fragile skin
• Dermatomyositis

Costs of massage therapy vary greatly. The price depends largely on the experience of your massage therapists and the location where the massage will be administered. A massage therapist trained in several types of massage who works in a spa will likely charge more than one who is only trained in Swedish massage and works from home. It’s best to compare prices and experiences of various massage therapists in your area to determine the best solution for you.

Like chiropractic and (to a lesser extent) acupuncture, massage therapy is often covered by insurance when it involves treatment for certain health problems. Contact your insurer before seeking treatment and see if massage therapy is one of procedures they cover.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Defense of Monique: The Connection Between Abuse and Obesity

Hey All!

Well, in spite of the old hormones, I have some good news to report - I lost another 2.4 lbs. bringing my total lost so far to (drum roll please) 9lbs.!! Not bad for September, baby steps....

I'm gonna take it down and be serious this post - don't worry, the funny will be back next time, but I needed to have a chat with y'all about something that has been bothering me for quite some time. Thanks to all of you for letting me vent (especially you Ms. Johnson).

Recently, the actress and comedienne Monique was featured on a special issue of Essence magazine. The issue was spotlighting full figured women, and there was an in-depth interview with her about her life struggles and issues that she has had to deal with. Ladies, if you get a chance, read the interview, I cried..

Anyhoo, a few of the blogs that I frequent made mention of Monique, the Essence cover, and how she is FINALLY starting to lose some weight. And then the comments rolled in.....

I am not quoting verbatim, but the gist of it was "She is too fat, it is not cute, how dare she make fun of skinny women, oh and did I mention that she is fat, 'bout time she did something about that fat" you get the idea.

I sat back and thought "Dang, where is the love?" Now, I could have been a troll and shook some thangs up on behalf of the big sistahs, but those people are kind of sad, and in the end, its just words on a page...But I do want to make mention of this one thing..

The article on Monique was not about her losing weight...It was about her ordeal as a victim of sexual abuse. The weight loss was a result of her finally coming to terms and dealing with what happened to her.

I tried to google "black women sexual abuse overweight" and surprisingly, nothing that I needed popped up, so I am making a guesstimation here until I can get some concrete numbers, but I would say that a good number of overweight sisters have been thru some kind of trauma or abuse at some point in their lives. And...I am including myself in that "good number".

Being overweight is not all about eating too much, being greedy, lack of self control, portion control, being lazy etc. If it were that simple, then there wouldn't be yo yo dieting and relapsing. I have been a "professional" dieter for almost 25 years now. Losing weight is easy - maintaining is the hard part.

See, I never could understand how I could lose the weight, look good and then pile it all back on within a matter of months. My last foray with my struggle, coupled with the fact that I am now over 40 and single, made me take a good long look at myself. Why was I still doing this dance, when so many others just lose and go on with their lives? I was truly sick of being big, and making excuses and, quite frankly FAILING at this game. Yeah, I tried to do the usual pep talk, "oh girl you allright, you got God, family, and the whole enchilada" but I knew that it wasn't going to work this time.

So, I took that leap, went back to my doctor (who was none too happy with me), and got a referral for counseling. It was time to deal with what I had been pushing back for years. It was (and still is) the most terrifying thing to have to regurgitate everything that I went thru. Some days, I had to talk myself out of bed, into the shower, out of the door and into my car, but I made it. I am not nearly out of the woods yet, but I can see the sun from where I am. And now, after almost five months of therapy, when I say that what happened to me was not my fault, I can truly believe it. And I can move on....

I guess the point to all of this rambling is this: None of the bloggers or commenters that I read mentioned Monique's revelation about her abuse and how she dealt with it. It seems that we are still sweeping the abuse of our sisters under the rug. I cannot stress this enough: We will not be able to deal with the obesity epidemic until we deal with its causes. We need to break down the myths and stigmatisms about getting professional help . And most of all , we need to be there for each other, not just lip service, but be that shoulder or that backbone.

I don't have all of the pieces to the puzzle yet, some days I cry tears that should have been shed long ago. But, I am starting to get some kind of clarity about my situation and I am ready to take the next baby step....

Well, thanks for letting me rant a bit - if anyone has any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! We are in this together!

Next time: Tracy and Deb - The Scale Wars! Oh, and Grant is back too, with helpful hints on how to lift weights without having a coronary!

Til next time, You can do it!

Daily Weight Loss Tip

Take Control of What You Eat. There are few things that we have complete control over, but what we put in our mouths is one of them. We don't have to lose control in a restaurant or a friend's home, and we don't have to eat everything that's put in front of us.