Just Another Reminder

…to update your Readers, Blogrolls, and Subscriptions! I’m permanently over at WWW.FAITHFITNESSFUN.COM so head on over. Here’s links to my recent posts in case you missed them over there:

Food Festival Highlights

Weekend Recap

New Intuitive Eating Post

Cookie Recipe

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Keeping You Updated

For the next few days or week I will post mini-posts here with links to my posts on the new blog to be sure everyone get the chance to see about the switch and make the switch. If you have already changed your Reader Subscription to my new domain, then you can unsubscribe from this feed so as not to get two updates from me. If you haven’t switched over yet please do so. :)

You can now find me at WWW.FAITHFITNESSFUN.COM

I have two new posts over there. Be sure to click over and check them out. And update anything you need to for your links.

Play by Play of an Awesome Day

Flashback Friday (Rome) & A Special Lesson from my Journal

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MOVING DAY!!!

Guess what I did last night? Or, I should say Peter did. We spent time switching the blog over to my own domain! :D

So, go ahead and click over to the new…

 

FAITH, FITNESS, FUN!

My posts will go there from here on out, starting with tonight’s post.

Also, be sure you do the following please:

Update your Readers or Subscriptions.

Update my link if it is on your blogroll.

Complete any new comments you want to make on recent posts through the new site.

Check in at www.faithfitnessfun.com from now on!

I hope you all will keep on coming. Things would not be the same without you. :)

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More Effective Weight-Training

Thanks for the support on my good news! And all the sweet comments on what we can learn from children. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I hope you do. Children sure do wear their hearts on their sleeve.

Remember my Power class from Tuesday that felt tougher than usual? Well, I was feeling the remnants of it yesterday. So after warming up my muscles in spin and doing a good stretch with the foam roller, I took 15 minute to relax and get a “massage” using my gym’s hydro-massage bed.

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I don’t know if it does much, but it does feel good. And my use of this equipment has absolutely nothing to do with getting an extra 15 minutes of childcare time for me to lay back and read a book. Nothing I tell you. Nothing! *cough cough* I hope that doesn’t make me a bad mom. But in my eyes a relaxed mommy is a happy mommy and a happy mommy is a good mommy.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, during the “massage” I thought about my slightly sore muscles and considered something our instructor was saying at the beginning of class while I was half-listening and setting up my area. She told us that she chose tracks that would challenge us and give us an effective workout. I agree with that. There were quite a few things I know bring an effective weight workout included in the class. I have explained some of my favorite ways to get an increased challenge during a lifting session below. These may apply to weight classes or your own weight training. Include some of these and feel the difference. I promise if done right, you will notice a challenge.

  • Take it slow. Doing movements in a slow and controlled fashion helps to decrease the amount of momentum used. Less momentum helping you along = more of your true effort doing the work. A good pace is two counts, small pause, two counts. For example, during a barbell bicep curl take two counts to curl the bar up, hold a moment, and then take two counts to release the bar back down. You can mix it up though and do a variety of eccentric and concentric contractions. You can take 4 counts each, or 3 up and 1 down, etc. Taking things slow also helps you to focus more on the move instead of just quickly going through the motions.
  • Use proper form. Proper form ensures that you are using the correct muscles to complete the exercise. You don’t want to be trying to work your glutes and hamstrings with a deadlift and end up working your shoulders from bad form.

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[Source 1, Source 2]

You will likely feel the move more by not allowing other body parts to assist due to not doing the move correctly. Proper form also decreases any possible pain or the chance for injury, so you are able to continue improving your lifts.

  • Emphasize the use of free weights. Machines do have their place in weight training, namely in adding variety or helping to learn weight training moves, but the use of barbells and dumbbells are more effective.

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When you don’t have a machine assisting you, your body has to work harder to stabilize itself and will naturally use more energy to do the same type of move. You also have a wider range of movement with free weights so it is common to feel more comfortable using them. Another benefit is you can challenge muscles one arm/leg at a time with dumbbells to help balance weaknesses.

  • Include variety. Try to do something new at least every few workouts. That doesn’t mean you have to do new moves every lifting session, but try to switch up how many reps or sets you complete, do a slight variation of a move (like on an incline or decline/with a barbell instead of dumbbell/etc), or even in a different order. Lifting classes usually do many of the same moves to accommodate the equipment available for classes, but they still have variety from a different setup every class. Doing things differently will keep your body from becoming too accustomed to your workout. It helps to continue challenging yourself.
  • Play with bodyweight exercises. We may think we need some iron in our hands to get a quality weight training workout. That is not true. Things like pushups, pullups, walking lunges, squat holds, and tricep dips can challenge your body in new ways.

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[Source 1, Source 2]

Consider the moves I mentioned, Pilates classes, or holding yoga poses. Tough, huh? Bodyweight moves help build up more practical endurance and incorporate new movement into your workout.

  • Compound movements. Things like squats, bench press, deadlifts, and rows use more than one muscle group to complete the move. These moves are more challenging and therefore more effective. In squats, you train your quads, glutes, calves, abs, and even your arms and shoulders with lifting and stabilizing the bar. During rows, you will train the various parts of your back (lats, traps, rhomboids) as well as your biceps from the pulling and even your glutes by working to maintain proper form. It makes sense that using 3 muscles will use more energy and strength than working one. Compound movements can do that for you.

Do you enjoy weight training? What ways do you like to challenge yourself and get an effective workout? Are you surprised by any of these suggestions?

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Through the Eyes of A Child

Today was a pleasurable day. I went to the gym for a spin class and felt much better today than yesterday during my workout. I kept up with my heart rate to be sure I was maintaining a reasonable level of intensity and paid close attention to my body. It went swimmingly. Other parts of today were catching up on emails, getting more tutoring lessons prepared, and receiving great news! My hormone levels increased dramatically over the four days between blood work. They went from 631 mIU/mL to 3,898 mIU/mL. They say it increased better than expected and they will see me at my next appointment on June 3rd for our first ultrasound and a general workup. Totally praising God right now for that.

In between all of that I spent time with my #1 girl and I couldn’t stop noticing the raw energy and enjoyment she has for life, like most kids. Their faces light up with delight at the simplest things and it is so inspiring. Jesus even said that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). In my mind that shows that in order to know true life we should embrace the mind of a child. If we view the world through the eyes of a child we are able to see the beauty, believe in the good, and be excited about what our lives hold. Children are humble and don’t expect much. Their pleasures are in the basics and I have certainly taken a lesson from that. Today I paid attention so Makenzie could show me the world through her eyes. From noting the things she squeals with excitement over, I really think I learned something.

1. Flahflah & Tees (Flowers & Trees) – Every time we go outside she points at the trees and shouts about the flowers. How amazing would it be to consistently be in awe of God’s beauty found in nature? Why shouldn’t I be just as excited to walk out and witness blue skies, wind blowing calmly through the leaves, and those gorgeous flowers planted by our driveway? They are God’s masterpiece painted for my joy every day.

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2. Te-deeee (Teddy) – I honestly believe her special teddy bear gets more love than I do. But Makenzie is still onto something. How great to have the companionship of a special friend. The friendships in my life deserve the same pure excitement Makenzie has for her teddy. Teddy gets love every day and I benefit in sharing that same mutual love with the friends I have.

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3. Sweensweensweensweeeeeen (SwingSwingSwingSwiiiing!) – Life is too short to miss out on fun and doing the things you enjoy. You know from previous posts that Makenzie could spend hours straight on a swing. There is no reason for us to avoid taking the time to ‘swing’ in our own ways.

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4. Eat (also included are nana, milk, cheese, bokli) – Hmmm…that girl knows her food words well. I think she has her priorities straight. ;) It is wonderful to watch her take pleasure in eating, including wholesome foods. She isn’t scared of food and doesn’t have any preconceived notions about it either. Somewhere along the way we pick those negative notions up. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the same joyful approach to food no matter what? Look at how happy M is chomping away on whole wheat pasta, sauce, and diced veggies.

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5. Book – The girl loves to learn. She will sit with books for long periods of time and just take in all the pictures and try to say all the words she sees in the pictures. Even things beyond her full understanding, such as numbers and letters, she wants to envelope herself in. She will search out numbers and letters so she can point to them and say “eight” or “O” (the one number and letter she knows). She constantly turns to me and asks “Mom-me?” so I can quench her thirsty mind. Her passion for discovery is inspiring. I hope I can keep that drive to learn and find growth in myself as well.

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6. Je-ssss (Jesus) – This one makes me so proud. Her face breaks into a huge smile every time Jesus, praying, or God are mentioned. The joy in our Creator and what Christ did for us can’t be kept inside. Does it pour out of me like with her? Do I burst into a smile upon mention of His name? I certainly hope so. The baby girl has it down and it is my responsibility to keep that love burning, so she can grow into the amazing woman she was created to be.

What do you think? Do you think kids have it figured out?

What do the things you get excited about show the world? Do you have the same joy living in you as a child?

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Sister Sister

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day. I had my workout in the morning and learned that I can still practice listening to my body. Then, I cleaned and worked on my secret writing project during Makenzie’s nap. I’m excited for it, but please don’t build it up too much in your heads. Around lunchtime one of my friends came over with her son to visit. We get together about once a week and I love the girl time. We are continuously becoming closer which is really nice.The remainder of my day included getting blood drawn (results will be in sometime today) and then some fun surprises delivered by Peter.

First up were the two books I had on hold at the library. It may not seem important, but I have been waiting for these for months. I placed my request months before they were even released. Now that they are available, I can’t decide which I want to read first!

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Another great surprise was a little gift package from Lisa. She sent me a thank you note for the books I sent her a couple weeks ago, as well as some Justin’s Chocolate PB and a couple sets of cards from her mom’s amazing business.

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They are beautiful. I love writing messages to people and these will be a special way to do that. If you like sharing cards and notes too, check out her mom’s website. She does amazing work. As for the Justin’s…that will certainly be making an appearance in my morning bowl of oats. *licks lips*

Even with so many good things going on yesterday, the highlight was without a doubt hanging out with my sister. I adore getting to spend time with this fabulous chica every week. Last night was no different. We did feel like doing something different though. My sister suggested we go to dinner because it was already getting late and the planned meal would take an hour to prep and cook. So, we hit up a favorite Chinese restaurant instead. They have a weekday dinner special that includes soup, spring roll, rice, and an entree for a great price. I ordered hot & sour soup, brown rice, and the veggies & tofu entree.

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Mmmm mmmm good! I’m looking forward to the other half for my lunch this afternoon.  I’m hoping this lunch comes with a side of good news too. We’ll just have to wait and see on that.

I admit I was the teensiest bit bummed to go out because I was excited to try out Janetha’s Garbanzo Bean Turkey Bake. I will just save it to try next week instead. Along with a few other new recipes I have my eye on.

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The Deceptively Delicious cookbook was part of my library haul and I look forward to recreating some of those recipes. They all look great. Plus who wouldn’t love sneaking in some extra veggies? I will be sure to post whichever recipes I try.

  • Do you ever scratch dinner plans for an impromptu meal out? I will if it involves a good deal, makes more sense, and if it will be spent with quality company. All of those fit the bill last night so off to a restaurant we went. It was the right choice.
  • What is a cookbook you LOVE? I really want to find new cookbooks so I can grow my love for trying new recipes. I need some suggestions to start with though.
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Great Expectations

Do you ever go to the gym or head out for a run with this wonderful vision of your workout in your mind? That is how I was feeling this morning. I am still at the stage just before all the morning sickness and extreme fatigue of the first trimester hit, so I have been wanting to keep up with my normal workouts. My daily dose of exercise is a big stress reliever (we all know I can use that) and I look forward to it almost every day. Today was no different. I was ready to go to the gym for my one longer session of the week. I had Power class + Kick class on the schedule.

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I want to preface by saying that I have been doing one day of back to back classes a week with no difficulty. I make ample modifications to keep things at a lower intensity during Kick and I have not been using weights that leave me feeling fatigued at the end of a track. My workout setup has generally left me feeling strong, still fit, and energized which is why I have stuck with it for almost 6 months now and didn’t feel the need to change it up yet at this (very early) stage in my  pregnancy. So when I went to the gym I had great expectations of going in, getting a fabulous workout, and leaving with more energy, some extra confidence from taking care of myself, and feeling good from exercise. That did not quite happen.

During Power I started feeling fatigued a lot easier than normal during the tracks for the larger muscle groups (legs, chest, and back). I already decreased my squat track weight by 5 lbs to be sure I wasn’t pushing myself and even after doing that I still felt like I was getting more of a workout than normal. I was exhausted after it and it was the first working track. The remainder of the workout I kept at my normal weight range, which is still lower than I could lift, but was struggling to push through some of the final sets. I was telling myself it was just a bit of an off day and I was fine.

Then came Kick. I planned on keeping things low impact and lower intensity as usual and it started off feeling really great. Then about halfway through I hit a wall. My energy went caput and I was a shuffling, punching, and kicking zombie. But I “can’t” walk out of a workout! So I convinced myself that taking the intensity down even more by lowering my kicks, not punching as hard, and not shuffling or doing my knees as big would suffice. I felt better for the remainder of the class, but when I walked out I did not feel great. I felt a little queasy and I knew I took it too far. I’m a huge advocate for listening to your body, but even I make mistakes and choose to ignore it at times. That’s exactly what it was too…a mistake.

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I needed to recognize that, as honorable as it is to go to the gym with some great expectations, it is more important to adjust for my reality as well. But how do we know when we need to make those adjustments? We are taught it is a good thing to push towards goals and to reach for the stars when making them. We are told that our bodies are capable of handling of more than we think. While I agree with those statements, they won’t apply 100% of the time. We have to be mindful and respectful of our bodies, no matter how much we believe we can handle. The next time you are facing some questions in your workout and your ability to push through try to consider the following:

  • Differentiate between physical and mental fatigue. I believe there is a difference in physical and mental exhaustion. When you are worn out from a stressful day and feel like if you thought about anything more important than the color of Jude Law’s eyes, it is likely that physical activity would help you feel better. On the flip side, if you feel an ache down in your bones and like you could fall into bed already asleep, it might be more beneficial to your body to allow it some rest.

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[Source 1, Source 2]

  • Pay attention to aches and pains. If you are experiencing any sort of pain from attempting to push through fatigue and achieve your goals…stop. Plain and simple. There is no need to risk injury that could take you out of the game for days, weeks, or longer for the sake of accomplishing one workout. Any sort of nausea or light-headedness can apply here as well.
  • Severe frustration. If your workout is making you angry because it wasn’t what you expected, it is probably due to your plan being unrealistic. Let’s say for example you started a 6 mile run with a 8:30 min/mile pace in mind. Your body might be fighting that not matter how hard you are pushing it. Consider adjusting your goal for that workout and trying to adapt later. This can also happen when you try to make too much progress in a workout too soon. Trying to increase the amount of weight you lift, the mileage you run, or the time you spend on the stepmill by a substantial difference isn’t going to work out in your best interest.

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  • Determine cause and effect. If a workout feels more difficult than you expected take a moment to consider why. Did you not sleep well the night before? Have you recently overcome an illness? Are you facing something emotionally or mentally challenging at the moment? Have you taken adequate rest recently from workouts? Were you exceptionally active earlier in the week so you don’t have as much energy right now? Did you eat enough food throughout the day? There are so many things that can impact a workout. If you realize something could be impacting the workout negatively, don’t let it bother you. Just use the information to better prepare yourself in the future.
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