Hate Cardio? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

I love feeling the burn as much as the next gal, but I just cannot stand cardio. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. All the fitness lore says – you have to mix it up. Challenge your body. Intervals. Cross training. Blah blah blah. Well, I’d just as soon travel back in time to be tortured on a medieval rack while undergoing primitive dental surgery. So, remind me again why I showed up at the gym today?

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The Importance of Pacing

Hey, I’ll go run on a treadmill or ride a bike or swim some laps – no problem. That’s because in those situations, I set the pace.

I’m talking about love-hating (most mostly hating) group-led cardio, like HIIT at Barre Code (High Intensity Interval Training) which I force myself to attend once a week. This is where self-imposed peer pressure has me trying to keep pace with all the skinny girls, who actually seem to ENJOY this torture. Given the option to bounce, they jump. Meanwhile, I’m over there wondering how long I can just stand in place before someone notices.

Now, you’d think I’d just have to work at it more and build up a stamina. Except that’s not really 100% accurate. Stamina and endurance are something you mostly build from long sustained periods of continuous moderate activity. Cardio and interval training is more about how well your heart can get revved up to pump oxygenated blood to your super-active muscles, and how quickly it can chill out again between sets.

For a person who is overweight, this is already vastly more difficult. Your body is a lot larger inside than it may seem to you on the outside. Shocking Fact: For every 1 pound of weight you gain, your body produces 70 freaking miles of blood vessels. So jacks and burpees alone are not going to make your cardiovascular system stronger. Losing weight is an essential (if not THE MOST essential) part of that process.

Fortunately for people like me, strength and body resistance training is preferable for boosting metabolism and increasing fat burn throughout the day. When you finish a cardio session, that’s it. Your body shuts off. When you finish a strengthening session, your body is left with a debris field of muscle damage to rebuild – and THAT requires energy (coming in the form of the calories you continue to burn for HOURS afterward).

So what’s the real skinny on cardio? Is it beneficial, and if so, how much?

The Benefits

First off – a regular amount of aerobic exercise during your weekly workout routine is still a great thing. It’s good to get your blood moving. When your heart works harder, large doses of immune cells and oxygenated blood cells sweep throughout your body tissues – repairing damage and generally making you feel more active and alert.

Over time, doing regular cardio will also strengthen your heart muscle, making each pump more effective. Not only does this make you less fatigued during workouts, but also throughout the day. We all hear about how marathon runners have a resting heart rate of like 35 beats per minute. That’s because each one of those beats is worth two of ours.

Isn’t It Ironic?

On the flip side, as with any exercise, TOO MUCH IS NOT A GOOD THING.

1. Once your heart and lungs can’t keep up with the demand, your tissues may be deprived of fully oxygenated blood and can actually begin to break down and die.

2. Your body freaks the F out when you are doing high intensity cardio. It thinks you are being chased by a wild boar or something. Hence, you get a ton of the fight or flight hormones, including cortisol – which is notoriously a cause of weight gain.

3. Part of the stress response is inflammation, which can actually damage your heart vessels or tighten the tubes in your lungs. In marathon runners, long-term damage has been seen. One study pegged them at a 7 times higher risk for having heart problems than the average person. Cue Alanis Morissette.

Now that you’re terrified – let me assure you: If you’re just trying to lose weight and get in shape, chances are you’re not even doing the kind of cardio that can actually damage and kill you. So don’t use this as an excuse to never do another jumping jack again.

Find Your Zone

The point is, you may be doing the kind of cardio that no longer benefits you, and that’s where you have to listen to your body. If you need a visual, you can even track your heart rate. Your “max” is based on several factors like age and BMI. You may know from reading those charts they stick on the treadmills that there’s an ideal zone to be in. Once you get past the max, you’re doing more harm than good.

A quick way to calculate your max heart rate is 220 – your age. 

From there, you will calculate (or ask Siri) 90% of that value, 80%, 70%, etc. to determine the heart rate that puts you in each of Zones. (Example: If max = 190, then 90% of 190 is 171.)

Zone 1: 90% of Max – Danger Zone

  • Feels Like: Hard to breathe, muscles about to fail.
  • Recommended only for young, fit people.
  • Burns only carbs. 
  • Time: Five minutes max

Zone 2: 80% of Max – Pushing It Zone

  • Feels Like: Heavy breathing
  • Recommended only for generally fit people. 
  • Burns almost only carbs. 
  • Time: 2-10 minutes max

Zone 3: 70% of Max – Optimum Fat Burning Zone

  • Feels Like: Moderate to hard breathing
  • Recommended for intermediate to generally fit people.
  • Burns equal amount fat and carbs
  • Time: 10-40 minutes

Zone 4: 60% of Max – Warming Up

  • Feels Like: Light difficulty breathing
  • Recommended for beginners or for warm-ups
  • Burns mostly fat
  • Time: If this is your only exercise, 40-80 minutes for effect. Otherwise, just as a warmup and cool down period.

(Disclaimer: If you have any kind of cardiovascular or other health problems, you clearly should go see a doctor before doing any of this!)

So remember, don’t let peer pressure push your past your limit. The zone of benefit is going to be different for each person at the gym, so it’s totally fine if you have to drop out of that set of mountain climbers before the girl next to you.  You might have just worked harder than she has in less reps, simply because of your age and current BMI.

130 BPM? That’s It? Shoot, That’s like Four Pushups!

Remember, your age may give you a 70% Zone Heart Rate of 130, but that rate is going to be reached a lot differently depending on your body weight. If right now it takes only ten jumping jacks for you to reach Zone 3, don’t worry. Once you lose weight, you’ll be like all the skinny chicks next to you – who are leaping and grinning through A-Jacks and probably only in Zone 4. With weight loss and increased stamina, you’ll be able to do more work per pump.

Willpower isn’t what keeps you going after you want to stop. It’s what keeps you going until you absolutely need to.

High-Intensity Interval Training

As with most things in the fitness world, try to ask yourself: “What Would Caveman Me Do?” Our primitive ancestors were hunter-gatherers, which meant short bursts of high intensity activity followed by lots of rest. Just like a car, most of the power is used in accelerating and braking. Once you’re in cruise control, all you’re doing is wearing out the struts and putting on miles.

Also keep in mind that your active sets need not be the same duration as the people around you. For instance, if a class instructor is leading 2 minutes seconds of jacks and you feel ready to keel over after a minute, take that short break you need to catch your breath and then get back in it. You’ve just divided one burst into two bursts – each peaking at your maximum effort. That’s two for the price of one!

Knowing that your best effort is truly the best thing for you, cardio moves into a much more psychologically friendly realm. Just like with diet – the goal is not to torture yourself, but to understand yourself and what truly works best for you.

 

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Get Sweaty with Your Valentine

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Image courtesy of Nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No, it’s not what you’re thinking… Though I won’t discount the health benefits of getting frisky, I’m talking about taking your sweat session out of the bedroom and into the gym!

Working out as a couple is a great alternative to the traditional dinner and a movie date night. Exercise releases feel good endorphins and can inspire healthy competition or team building in a relationship. Plus who doesn’t want to see their partner flexing strong muscles?

My boyfriend will never understand my love of barre class – he’s more the pumping iron at the gym kind of guy. But the following classes are sure to please both parties – and make both your bodies and your relationship stronger for it!

Cycling 

Stop fighting over what to watch on TV and instead spar it out over spin class. Friendly competition can be good for a relationship, especially when you are pushing each other to crank up the calorie burn. Studios like Flywheel Sports have technology that measures your performance and shows how you compare to others in the class, so that you can literally race against each other. Or cycle for the same team at Swerve Fitness, which divides the class into 2 or 3 teams and broadcasts your collective performance on a scoreboard.

Ballroom Dancing

I have yet to get my boyfriend to trade in his sneakers for samba shoes, but I am dying for him to step up and be my Patrick Swayze. Ballroom dance is extremely romantic and sexy. You’ll walk away feeling confident and connected with your partner, having fostered a bond that is completely reliant on open communication and trust. And even if you or your man has two left feet, you’ll still have a blast trying something new.

Looking to play out your Dirty Dancing fantasies in NYC? Tear up the dance floor at Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance Center or Dancesport.

Parkour 

Now this is something that neither of you has likely tried before – so you can work through a new challenge and learn a lot about your partner in the process. Let loose your inner daredevil as you vault, run, climb and swing to pass over, under and through an extreme obstacle course. Overcoming these physical and mental barriers as a team will strengthen your bond and move your relationship forward. Plus, you’ll feel like a bad ass ninja, and there’s nothing sexier!

Ready to brave the ultimate urban jungle? Try Brooklyn Zoo.

Ice Skating 

The ideal winter date setting, grab a cup of cocoa and hold tight to your lover’s mittened hand. And while it may seem like you’re just gliding along, you’re actually burning a lot of calories – approximately 400 in an hour! Check out the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers or hit up one of the outdoor rinks at Bryant Park or Central Park.

Rock Climbing 

Not only is it a great full body burn, working the arms, legs, back and shoulders, but it also is a great bonding experience. For an added challenge, try scaling the wall together without letting go of your partner’s hand. It’s the ultimate test of teamwork and trust! Climb to new heights together at Brooklyn Boulders.

So what are you waiting for, grab your guy and get fit! Because the couple who sweats together stays together.

And be sure to tell me in the comments, what are some of your favorite ways to work out with your lover?

xoxo

Meg

Our Relationship With Food: It’s Complicated

Food is a ridiculous sounding word if you say it enough times in a row. Try it. Food. Food. Fooooood. (Note the close resemblance to Moooo … but I’m not gonna go there).

Let me tell you about my relationship with Food.

Not to pin the blame on my parents, but as a family, we enjoyed eating out a lot. I grew to love Food as a sensation. Taste, smell, visual presentation. It also became an Event. Imagine all the fuss that goes into dining out. You dress up, you drive, you wait to be seated, you wait to be waited on, you wait to be served one course – and then the next. It’s quite a process, but it’s a welcome break from the stresses of the day that happens to include a delightful mouth orgy.

As I got older, I started to lean very heavily on Food as Therapy. In fact, after a particularly emotional transition in my life, I literally gained 40 pounds in one year. Mealtime was a light at the end of a tunnel – a Jimmy Johns sub on a stick dangling before me as I toiled away – or, often the easiest answer I could find to those depressing “What am I doing with my life??” questions. Answer: Ordering Pizza?

With this came a plethora of problems. Dieting was excessively punishing. The hole left in my soul by French Fries and Chicken Tenders was filled with self-loathing and frustration. What’s worse, most of the time – scaling back on what I ate didn’t really seem to impact my weight. How could I convince myself to forgo the simple and immediate pleasures in life for the highly uncertain promise of results somewhere long down the road?

The Turning Point

One evening, I chowed down on some Jimmy Johns prior to Choir Rehearsal. As was typical, I was immediately hit with what my family calls ‘The Jimmy Shits’. For months, I’d been dealing with increasingly more abrupt stomach issues after eating, so this was nothing new. Unfortunately, in this moment, I had 90 minutes of a rehearsal to sit through before I could make a break for the toilet. As the burn and ache built in my gut, I began to put pieces together for the first time in my life.

First off, as a kid, I’d been through the wringer of GI issues. I’d gone through every medical test in the book – living with a ph probe down my nose, eating radioactive Dinty Moore chili prior to X-Rays, and trying a long series of ineffective medications. In fact, my toddler sister once got into my chocolate-flavored laxatives and produced more feces within her footy pajamas than could have come from a grown man ten times her size.

They diagnosed me with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and prescribed a pill that controlled the monthly cycles of horrible pain and vomiting. Still, I had a very sensitive stomach and despite the fact that I felt sick after every meal, I kept eating the same way. After all, what’s the notion of horrible stomach cramps when you’re looking at a cheese pizza or a dish of ice cream? Maybe that’s a price I was willing to pay.

On that night, as I bore the brunt of my price, my bowel finally shouted ENOUGH – loud enough for me to hear. It seemed pretty obvious that as much as I loved my various glutens, milks, cheese and fats, my particular bowel was probably unable to process them. I’d never thought of myself as an allergic person, but it kind of made sense given my history. Not to mention, two years ago I’d developed a mild form of asthma that came and went, hooting like an itinerant bassoon player in lungs. Didn’t that kind of fit into the same category of oversensitivity to the things I love? (i.e. Potatoes, Cheese, Air).

I also did some research and found out that all the dieting attempts I made in the past would have been useless if I was still consuming the food my body reacted badly too. So, finally – something new to try!

Transformation

Suddenly, this was no longer a mission of “dieting” but “healing.” Now, it wasn’t about finding a meal that I could tolerate mentally, but one that my body could tolerate physically. Game on!

Since the moment I made that decision (exactly 16 days ago), my body has let go of 9 pounds of fat and water bloat. I’ve stopped falling victim to that 2pm stupor that had me falling asleep at my desk. Better yet, I haven’t had a single stomach ache.

I’ve begun to see each meal as a Science. Now, instead of looking forward to a meal as an opportunity to self-medicate my psyche, I’m solely looking at the nutrients. There are days when I’ll stand in my kitchen just grabbing things out of the fridge and eating them like a scientist mixing chemicals in a reaction. Add a big hunk of deli roasted chicken breast. Some red bell peppers. A handful of kale. What am I missing? Fruit carbs? Grab an apple. Done.

I eat more often and only when I’m hungry. I only drink water and I’m sure to always have a glass on hand throughout the day.  When I have more time to cook, I’ll try to prepare something more interesting, but for the most part, I can be satiated simply by balancing the books when it comes to vitamins, nutrients, fats, carbs and proteins.

No more wondering “What do I feel like tonight? Italian? Mexican? Burgers?” I don’t “feel” food that way anymore. The spell has been broken, and it doesn’t even cross my mind. Now I have other things to look forward to in the day. Like working out at Barre Code, going to my dance rehearsals twice a week, or kicking back and enjoying a well-earned Netflix binge while munching down on My New Crack – frozen bananas.

Restore to Factory Default

Bottom line – my body was not meant to be bloated and fat. Yours wasn’t either. So what do you do when something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to? Well, if it’s anything like your Internet router, you hit reset. Once it boots up again, the problem is usually solved. Whatever it ‘thought’ it was supposed to be doing has now been overridden by the original rules and settings.

Now your story may be different than mine, which is why I encourage everyone to try a variety of nutrient balances until they find what works. When your body starts to behave the way it was designed, you’ll know you’re onto something. You’ll drop excess weight, gain energy, and flip the internal switch that puts you into ‘hunt and fight’ mode (vs. ‘rest and digest mode’). Moreover, your brain will reward this satisfactory behavior by flooding your psyche with the chemicals related to pleasure and fulfillment.

Hey Jimmy, can your sandwich do that?

 

 

 

Superbowl Sunday: Learn to Dance like Beyoncé

Superbowl 50 has officially kicked off! And though the Packers aren’t in it, this year’s event still promises brings together some of my favorite things: football, adorable pre-show kittens, yelling at the TV, and most importantly, Beyoncé!

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Sasha Fierce is hotter than ever right now, having just dropped a new single yesterday and slated to spice up tonight’s half time show. Finding yourself mesmerized by Queen Bey’s killer bod and wondering how she does it? By literally dancing her a$$ off!

Dancing is a fun way to get fit and fierce, the perfect formula that promises to improve flexibility, build muscle and strengthen cardiovascular health. It’s serious cardio that torches calories but is such a good time that you don’t realize how hard your body is actually working. And if you’re enjoying your exercise routine, you’re more likely to stick to it and see more results. Concentrating on choreography allows little room for your mind to wander during your workout, allowing you to let go of outside stresses from the day. Having to remember the steps to a routine also boosts brainpower, much more than mindless reps at the gym.

You don’t need a background in dance to learn how to shake it like Bey! Studios all over are picking up on the dance cardio trend, and some even offer classes that are all Beyoncé all the time. Here are some of my favorite classes where you can unleash your inner Bey:

Banana Skirt Productions

Remember back when the most fun you had on a Saturday night was getting your girlfriends together for a sleepover and staying up all night to learn the latest MTV music video moves? Well Banana Skirt promises to be all that and more. It’s a super fun and social dance class where instructors with professional dance backgrounds teach you the choreography to the music video of the moment. The instructors are upbeat and encourage you to move around the class so everyone has their chance to shine front and center. The choreography can be challenging, but is good for all levels. At the end of the class you break up into smaller groups so that you can really perform your heart out and show off your new moves. Added bonus – they provide free bottled water printed with their own cute labels!

Broadway Bodies

Broadway Bodies is known for their Beyoncé class, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself on a waitlist to get in. They are seriously fierce – I even received an email alert yesterday that they were adding an “emergency” class in honor of Bey’s new single dropping. They are all about unleashing your inner superstar as you learn custom choreography to toe-tapping tunes – everything from Broadway to Beyoncé. Though I have yet to get into theBeyoncé class (it’s definitely on my bucket list), the other classes I’ve taken here have broken down the choreography at a fairly slow pace – so great for those who are just starting out.

Vixen Workout

Vixen Workout originated in Miami, so it’s all about creating a club atmosphere with a nightlife vibe, high energy moves and loud, fist-pumping music. They sneak muscle toning movements into easy to learn combinations that are right on the beat. It’s a women’s only workout – the perfect way for non dancers and dancers alike to let loose, forget about daily stresses and channel their pop star alter-ego!

So let’s get up off the couch and dance our way fit! Be sure to tell me about your favorite dance-inspired workouts – I’m always looking for new ones to try!

 

 

Weeknight Kitchen Hack: Super Moist Chicken Breast

We all have those weeknights where we get home super late and still have to scramble to get dinner together. Luckily, as a Newbie Chef, I’m pretty familiar with how to throw together the most basic of meals with the least amount of effort.

On nights when I’ve come home from a long workout and need a hearty, nutrient-packed meal, I go for baked chicken breast. Now, I basically used to be President of the Chicken Fingers Fan Club. I thought chicken that wasn’t breaded and deep fried was just for Grandma!

Suffice it to say, I’ve discovered that oven chicken is not only ridiculously easy to make, but actually tastes amazing. You can pair it with a veggie side dish that slow-simmers or steams while the chicken bakes and you catch u on other things – laundry, dishes, shower, whatever!

Kitchen Hack: Perfect Juicy Oven Poached Chicken with Parchment Paper

Gone are the days of dry, chewy chicken. This chicken is so tender and moist, you won’t even need a knife to cut it.

First tip – Buy organic, cage-free chicken if available. I’ve seen one too many documentaries about Chicken Jail. Picture windowless rooms packed wall-to-wall with obese corn-fed chickens that have lost their ability to even walk. NOT COOL. Chickens that roam free and eat grass and bugs are happy, healthy chickens – which makes a happy, healthy you. Also – it tastes SO MUCH BETTER.

Second tip – Chicken breast doesn’t have a lot of natural fat in it, so it tends to dry out when baking. The solution is to create a sort of ‘false skin’ for the chicken, which helps to keep all the juices inside rather than spilling out and evaporating in your oven. This is called dry poaching, and can be done with Parchment Paper.

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Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Pour about 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a baking or casserole dish
  3. Wash your boneless skinless chicken breast in room temp water. Pat with paper towel to dry.
  4. Place chicken in dish and rub it around in the oil to spread the oil evenly. Flip it once to coat both sides of the chicken.
  5. Add your seasonings to the chicken. You can pretty much go any direction here. I usually add a hearty squirt of lemon juice. For a kick, try cayenne pepper, seasoning salt, curry or chili powder. Or, go the herbal route with basil, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
  6. You can also add veggies, onions, apricots, peaches and just about anything to the dish itself.
  7. Once the chicken is seasoned, take a square of parchment paper that’s small enough to fit within the dish. Press the parchment paper into the oily residue at the bottom of the dish to soak it up and coat the paper.
  8. Lay the paper atop the chicken and tuck the edges into the dish.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes and then test with a meat thermometer. Perfect temp is around 170 – 175.
  10. If it needs additional cook, return to the oven without the parchment paper.

In the picture below, I’ve paired my chicken with some super simple steamed brussels sprouts steamed in a microwavable bag. (Added bonus: I was able to use the leftover sprouts as a salad base the next day).

chic

 

 

 

 

Dear Laur: Don’t Sweat It! Fitness Fashion For All Figures

Dear Laur,

Workout clothes are a fun way to stay motivated! Especially as you start to see results, it’s empowering to show off your hot new bod in hot new gear.

But until you get there, I can understand the frustration. Nobody wants to spend their entire workout class comparing her body to the 90 pound stick in a crop top who is kicking everyone’s butts with a heavier set of weights.

But baggy tees and sweatpants are not the solution. Instead, choose workout clothes that are cute but also flattering for your body unique body shape. Whether that be Lululemon or less pricey, there are plenty of options out there. Check out some of my favorites below!

For shorties:

Although your first instinct may be to try a cropped legging (no hemming or rolling required!), longer styles are actually best to lengthen legs. Just like with hair, an ombre effect gives the illusion of mile high legs. On top, stay away from looser fabrics and opt for a structured, fitted look instead. One with a built in bra-top will fill out a small bust.

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Fabletics Lilac Tank // Athleta High Rise Fadeout Chaturanga Tight

For athletes: 

If you’re athletically built, have some fun – embrace bright colors and bold prints! They will draw attention to your toned top or bottom and help break up a more straight up and down shape. For me, my legs are my favorite asset, so I like to show them off with a loud printed cropped legging. Worked hard to get that lean, muscular back? Show it off in an open back style.

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Fabletics Femina Tank // Calvin Klein Performance Printed Cropped Leggings

For full-figured: 

No need to hide in the back corner! If you’re more curvy, keep your cool in bottoms with wide waist bands to tuck your tummy. Choose monochrome, darker colors with subtly slimming vertical lines. Or if you’re finding it hard to let go of your old pair of sweats, try a pant style with a comfy waist band in a slimming style. On top, go with a looser fitting tank or a structured tee over a sports bra with wide straps and an underwire for extra support. Constantly pulling your shirt down? Try a style with a cinched bottom to keep everything in place. Now get up front and center and show those skinny b*@#*e$ who’s boss!

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LVR Shark Bite Tank // Panache Ultimate Maximum Control Sports Bra

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Fila Sport Colorblock Performance Tee // Zella Inspire Capris

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Old Navy Compression Tank // Athleta Relay Tight

For long and lean: 

First of all, as a short girl, I will never understand how having supermodel proportions would ever be a bad thing. But if you’re frustrated with finding the perfect fit, try a pant with extra length or foldover option and flare to give your line more shape. Go bold with a vibrant, color block top and your bod will be anything but boring.

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Athleta Chi Tank Bold Stripe // Under Armour Perfect Studio Pant

Now sis, how about a trip out to NYC for some shopping?

Yours truly,

Meg

 

To see Laur’s Dear Sis post, click here.

Vegan Flourless Creamy Mushroom Soup

I had a hankering for one of my pre-diet favorites: cream of mushroom soup. I decided to go straight vegan vs. raw because I’m wary of the environmental and microbial contaminations when it comes to fungi. It also turns out that the cooking process helps break down the fungi cell walls, thus releasing more nutrients into your food.

After some browsing, I decided to try Leanne Vogol’s variation, which uses starchy cauliflower as a thickening agent in place of flour. As I went along, I made some tweaks here and there. (My recipe is below).

Continue reading “Vegan Flourless Creamy Mushroom Soup”

Dear Meg: Help, I Need Workout Clothes

Dear Meg,

The time was come for me to apologize for all the times I rolled my eyes and pouted while you dragged me through Lululemon. Right now – I need your help.

Before, I was totally fine hiding my frumpy folds in T-shirts and sweatpants while at the gym and dance class. Now that I’m stepping it up a notch, I see what I’ve been missing.

Today in BC, I was the only girl in the class whose boobs were hitting her in the face during her jumping jacks. I have yet to find a sports bra that can hold in these triple D’s without smushing them together into one giant beachball.

As for the tops and bottoms, I’ve generally aimed for things that hide my bulges. Now, I’m actually trying to sculpt nice bulges, so I kind of need the visual feedback. At the same time, I still want something that doesn’t make me look like 170 pounds of sausage stuffed into a cocktail wiener.

The biggest thing is, when I’m working out, I don’t want to look like a 10 year old boy fighting off an attack of bees. I want to look like a strong, sexy, curvaceous woman who is on track to becoming toned and tight. I feel like stepping up my look will help build the confidence and enthusiasm I need to keep pushing myself further.

Sis, in all your fitness fashion wisdom, can you set me on the right track?

Yours truly,

Laur

 

Carbs & Exercise: BFFS For Life??

Why does going to the gym make you feel so exhausted? That’s a good question, because the truth is: it shouldn’t.

Working out generally gives people a jolt of energy and mental clarity that lasts long into the day. Yeah, you might feel some muscle aches and stiffness, but you shouldn’t feel beat down and listless for hours after you get home.

I’ve never really had that problem – until I started a new diet. Now, instead of coming home from workouts high as a kite, I was ready to fall into bed.

After some research, I realized my mistake. I’d recently started banning carbs. Like restricting all carbs – not just bread and rice and the obvious picks. Barring some other medical condition, this was likely my problem.

As it turns out, this came with some very good news. At certain times of day and with a little help from our friend The Gym, turns out that Me and Carbs can get along just fine.

Continue reading “Carbs & Exercise: BFFS For Life??”

Finding Your One True Gym

Finding a good gym is kind of like getting into a relationship. Facts and figures aside, you need to find a match for your personality. Note: your actual personality. NOT the person you imagine you’ll be once you’re in shape. Chances are, if you and Gym aren’t getting along off the bat, you’ll break up LONG before you reach that stage.

So what are the signs that a Gym is right for you?

First off, don’t go into this expecting that just because you’re a Gym Virgin, you’re walking into some 50 Shades of Grey sadomasochistic nightmare. People don’t stick with Gym because Gym handcuffed them to the treadmill. People walk freely back into Gym because they either love it, or at the very least, it allows them to be successful without having to become something they’re not. (Be yourself!)

Here’s 10 Personality Factors to keep in mind when browsing for your Gym Match.

Continue reading “Finding Your One True Gym”