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2 Week Progress Report for #OperationRefocus

You may recall that I announced a couple of weeks ago on my facebook page that I hired John Romaniello to be my coach for the next 4 months (minimum) for some goals I have. Below is my 2 week progress check in!

  •  My Plan general overview from coach Roman: I’m in the middle of an “insulin reset” phase so my carbs are low (for me) on my 3 strength training days and almost non-existent on non-training and cardio days. I’m working out a total of 6 days – 3 strength, 1 bodyweight circuit, and 2 cardio/HIIT style workouts.
  •  My Successes: I was eating mostly nutrient dense, healthy foods before, so I haven’t had the headaches and dizziness that sometimes come with starting a new nutrition plan. In the gym, I feel really strong and love the new workouts. They are challenging but doable! I’ve never done stationary bike HIIT workouts but am LOVING those!
  •  My Struggles: I abhor the treadmill cardio portion! Lol. I’m running treadmill intervals on certain days and I’d much rather be outside running regular sprints. On the nutrition front, Roman has me tracking my macros to make sure I’m getting the correct amount of everything for this insulin reset period. That pretty much stinks and is time consuming. However, it helps me be accountable to everything I put in my mouth! I’m also having trouble eating enough food on my strength training days. The macros are pretty high for me on those days, so it’s a struggle to get in all the protein and fat.
  •  My Outcomes so far:
    • I’ve lost…
    •  in bodyweight – 1.6 pounds
    •  in body fat – 1% (no muscle gain or loss)
    •  in inches – 1/2″ from below my belly button, and about 1/4 of an inch from both my thigh and upper arm, no inches lost in the other areas I measured (waist, rib cage, hips)
  • PLUS….
  • I’m feeling more confident!
  • I’m feeling very focused! I’ve not been this focused on me and my own goals in over a year so it’s nice! 😀

That’s it for now. I plan to post every 2 weeks and fill you in on what’s going on!
Head over to the post below on facebook and share some of your progress as of late! I’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!!!

xo ~Jill

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New to Kettlebells? Here are the Top 7 Things You Need to Know

Kettlebell training changed my body. 

Even more, it changed my mind about how I should exercise for results AND how long I should exercise each day to get those results. But at one time, I was brand new to kettlebells.

Before I was introduced to kettlebells (and how to use them properly), they seemed scary and quite intimidating. I pictured some big ol’ Russian dude with a cartoon like weight lofted overhead! Ha!

Boy was I wrong! Once I used them successfully, I gained confidence that was previously lacking.

Just to clear up some of the confusion that I had in the beginning- I thought it beneficial to blog about some of the things I wish I had known from the beginning of my kettlebell journey. First of all- Starting something new doesn’t have to be scary! Because knowledge is POWER 🙂

New to Kettlebells? Here are the Top 7 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Kettlebell Training

  • What is a kettlebell?new to kettlebells

Kettlebells are essentially a “handheld gym.” It looks like a cannonball with a handle and is traditionally made from cast iron. According to Wikipedia, kettlebells have been around since the 1700’s. They were first used in Russia for weighing crops but were soon used as a strength training tool.

  • Why should I train with a kettlebell?

The kettlebell is a versatile tool! It can essentially replace nearly any other fitness tool. You no longer need dumbbells, barbells, cardio equipment, medicine balls, and more. You certainly can’t safely swing or snatch a dumbbell with the same effectiveness as a kettlebell! A dumbbell swing encourages you to raise your shoulders instead of keeping them down and back. No bueno!

This one simple tool can make you stronger, faster, and leaner, in LESS TIME than any other piece of fitness equipment. I don’t know about you, but I love ANY thing that is time efficient PLUS superior!

As a busy, homeschooling mom of 2 boys, a business owner, an involved church member, and a wife, I totally get that time is valuable! Kettlebell training allows me to workout no matter how tight my schedule gets. 🙂

It’s small enough to throw in the car and take anywhere- to the park, the beach, your friend’s house, or on vacation. I personally love the portability bonus!

Plus, you can NOT destroy the kettlebell. I can’t say the same for some of my other fitness equipment! Once you own a kettlebell, you’re good for life. In the beginning, you’ll really need just ONE. Having a variety of weights is nice, but you can get a super awesome workout with just one single bell. Down the road, you can decide whether or not to add to your kettlebell collection.

  • What size kettlebell should I purchase to start with?

It’s typically suggested that women start with an 18-pound kettlebell (8 kg) and men a 35-pound kettlebell (16 kg). If you are really strong already, as a female you could potentially decide on a 20 or 26-pound bell.

  • Where is the best place to purchase a kettlebell?

The most important aspect about the kettlebell and deciding which one to purchase is the handle! You want a smooth-ish handle, but not TOO smooth! There is a fine line!

Dragon Door is known for the selling the highest quality kettlebells on the market, so that is my top recommendation. You will not be a disappointed!

This MDUSA kettlebell is one I’ve used as well. My opinion is that they are really close to Dragon Door quality and definitely have better handles than the ones I’ve seen at local Sporting Goods stores. This MDUSA kettlebell has been my favorite, budget-friendly bell by far! (As of this writing, the MDUSA kettlebell line is widely available in less expensive than other bells of its quality.)  I have two 30 lb kettlebells from this brand. My husband and I both love them!

I have a few Apollos that I’m happy with, and CAP is a brand that is easier on the budget. It’s coated and tends to chip, but it’s a decent choice for the money.

  • How do I hold the kettlebell?

There are several ways to hold the kettlebell and it is completely dependent on the exercise you are performing.

1. Overhead hold (1 hand): This hold is used whenever the bell is over your head. Your thumb is under the handle and your fist is as parallel as possible to the ceiling. The handle is placed between your thumb and pointer finger and lays diagonally down your hand toward your wrist on your pinky finger side. Here is a great video demo of this hold. You keep a straight wrist (don’t let the bell pull your wrist backward). The overhead hold is used for shoulder presses, the Turkish Get Up, push presses, and basically any exercise where the kettlebell is over your head.

2. Handle hold (1 or 2 hands): This is when 1 or 2 hands are holding the top of handle for an exercise such as the swing, deadlift, or to carry the bell. Your thumbs are wrapped under the bell’s handle.

3. By the horns (2 hands): When you goblet squat or goblet clean, your hand position begins on the top of the handle while the kettlebell is on the ground. As you pull the bell up to chest level, your hands move around to the SIDES of the handle. This is called grabbing the bell “by the horns.”

There are certainly more advanced ways to hold a kettlebell such as a bottoms-up hold and a waiter hold, but I’ve given you the basic ways you’ll need to know to begin using kettlebells in your workout routine.

  • What types of exercises are performed with a kettlebell?

There are basically 2 types of exercises performed with a kettlebell- ballistics and grinds. Ballistic exercises are dynamic, speed movements like swings, cleans, and snatches. During these dynamic exercises, the shape and size of the kettlebell REQUIRE you stabilize to your core. This is one of the ways kettlebells work your core without doing daily ab work! (Bonus!)

Grinds are slower (strength) movements like squats, deadlifts, military presses, and Turkish Get Ups (TGUs). This will also require core stability while building strength and muscle. Grinds require full body tension while completing the exercise.

  • Can kettlebell training be effective AND fun?

Because of the kettlebell’s unique ability to train the entire body (strength and cardio), tighten your core, and encourage stability and flexibility in a short workout session, training with them is not only time efficient- it’s effective!

But is it fun?

I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly find kettlebell training super fun or I wouldn’t do it! I think it’s important to find a way to exercise that is SUSTAINABLE. Kettlebells training has become just that for me! I actually can find time to fit it in without it taking up hours of my day.

I also enjoy the challenge of getting stronger with certain exercises (like shoulder pressing a higher weight, swinging a heavier bell, etc.). I love meeting new goals that I never thought possible (like completing multiple sets of pull ups for several reps!). For me, the challenge is the fun!

The only way you’ll know if it’s fun for you is to give it a try!


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your pricing does not go up, but if you purchase through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

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Are You Using This Surprising Fat Loss Tool? It’s So EASY Your Dog Can Do It!

Years ago, I was a runner. That was my ONLY mode of exercise for a season. It was easy for me to look around the park at others who were *just* walking and (sad to say) get a little judge-y.

Me (in my head): “If you’re going to make an effort to get out and exercise, RUN! Or at least power walk.”

Well, I’m writing this post today with egg on my face! I’ve come full circle on leisure walking and see it as a MASSIVE yet surprising fat loss tool for living a lean and healthy lifestyle.

Walking is what humans were designed to do. Back in the days of my great-grandparents, most people were healthy and lean without the type of exercise we all do today. They didn’t count calories or take exercise classes…What they did do is walk…ALL.DAY.LONG. 🙂 We can certainly learn a thing or 2 from their example.

Leisure Walking.blog

Fat Loss Benefits of Leisure Walking, the Surprising Fat Loss Tool:
Your Action Steps:
  • Walk 30-60 minutes per day whenever possible. Go at a snail’s pace. 🙂
  • If you’re physically able to exercise, combine a leisure walking regimen with short duration, high-intensity workouts a few times each week. This is the perfect fat loss exercise combination.
  • ENJOY the quality time walking with friends, family members, or your furry friends! This is exactly what most of us need in our fast-paced society.
  • If you need support and guidance, join a group like the highly effective FASTer Way to Fat Loss, a 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting.

It’s SPRING, so get outside and start this wonderful lean lifestyle habit today!!

Head over to the Facebook post below and let me know YOUR favorite place to walk. Mine is, hands-down, THE BEACH! 😀

~Jill

 


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!
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5 Fat Loss Tips for Navigating a Barbecue

It’s summer time!!

Well not officially, but Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of summer where I come from. If you’re like me you’ll be hanging out with friends and family around the grill this weekend!

barbecue

Here are my top 5 fat-loss tips for navigating a barbecue:

1. Wake up 10 minutes early to fit in a quickie workout. This will get your metabolism revved up for the day and put your body in fat burning mode from the start. You do not need hours to benefit from exercise. In fact, if you can spend just 10-20 minutes and get a full workout completed!

Try this for 3 rounds:

* 1 minute of jump squats

* 1 minute of mountain climbers

* 1 minute of plyometric lunges

{Finisher} Once you’ve completed 3 rounds, do 1 minute of push ups

Enjoy the workout then carry on!

2. Don’t skip breakfast. Eat a protein-packed breakfast so you’re not famished at the cookout. You don’t want to be starved and eat everything in sight!

3. Fill your plate with lean meat and veggies first. Grilled lean meats are usually plentiful at summer family gatherings. Make sure to eat your meat sans bun! If you think that veggies will be lacking, bring a veggie tray to add to the pot-luck meal! Once your plate is full of these fat-loss friendly foods, add a few bites of a couple of things you enjoy that aren’t so fat-loss friendly. For me, that includes my momma’s baked beans!

4. Drink your water! Drinking water is ALWAYS important for fat loss. It’s the magic weight loss pill you’ve been looking for! On a hot day spent outside, it’s even more important to drink up. Shoot for 1/2 your body weight in ounces as a goal.

5. Be choosy about desserts. Have 3-5 bites of your favorite dessert that you only get at special gatherings such as your Memorial Day cookout. This time of year, my favorite dessert is homemade banana pudding! I’m hoping that my mom makes it this year. 🙂

Using these tips, you can avoid damaging your waistline while still enjoying the yummy foods available at your summertime barbecue!

Most importantly, I pause to remember those who have given their lives for our country. If you have lost a family member serving in the military, I pray that God blesses your family in a special way for the sacrifice your family has made. May God Bless America!

xo~Jill

 

 

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On Turning Forty

forty

Turning forty.  Age is just a number.

Today marks a day for me that most people seem to dread; I’m turning forty. I haven’t dreaded it at all. I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I’m more fit than I’ve ever been. I don’t plan for that to change because of a silly number! I can only hope that you, no matter your age, don’t hold back because you think it’s too late to get fit…IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! I didn’t start until I was 36 years old. There are many, many women older than me who are SUPER FIT and don’t let a number stop them! Join the group of STRONG women who are all equally as busy as you are. We are all given the SAME 24 hours each day. Each of us decides what’s important enough to spend those hours doing. Carve out a “weeee bit” of time for yourself!

As I embark on a new decade, I want to share 40 reflections and lessons I’ve learned over the last few years…

  • My thirties have been my best decade yet. I plan for my forties to be EVEN BETTER!!! Let’s get this party started! I celebrate turning forty!
  • A number doesn’t define what I can or can not do.
  • When I was 30 (or 20 or 15 for that matter), I couldn’t do one pull-up. At age 40, I can do pull-ups for reps and even weighted pull-ups with birthday balloons attached!
  • When I was 30, I didn’t know what “for reps” meant. Now I do. 😉
  • There are a number of things I can do besides pull-ups that my 30-year-old self couldn’t have imagined my 40-year-old self doing…. lots of strict push-ups, heavy military presses, heavy squats, running sprints, working on flexibility and stretching (that’s never been my strong point which is WHY I need to keep working on it!), and much, much more!
  • One thing I can do is snatch heavy kettlebells. Today, on the morning of my 40th birthday, I snatched a 40 pound kettlebell for 40 reps. Woot woot!! That’s a PR for me!
  • My body is worth honoring through my lifestyle. I’ve been given only one body to take care of. If I want to be able to live and serve others to the fullest capacity, I must take care of my body.
  • When I started making changes, I wanted to make sure I was a mom who was able to get down on the floor and play with my kids. I wanted to be able to run around at the park without feeling tired or out of breath. Mission accomplished! Now, I look MANY years down the road and want to say the same when I’m a grandma (Did I just say that??!!??).
  • Fitness is based on “lifestyle choices” not based on how old you are. I started my fitness journey at age 36….only 4 years ago.
  • My fitness journey has evolved. What I do and how I do it has changed over the last 4 years. I expect it to continue to change. Change is GOOD! (S/O to my friend, Brandi, who got me motivated to start 4 years ago! S/O to all of my coaches and mentors for all of their inspiration and guidance over the last couple of years!)
  • I can give myself the gift of health by eating good food and exercising. This is NOT selfish. It makes me a better wife and mom and sets the right example for my children!
  • With that said, I don’t have hours a day to do cardio, so I do my best to workout in the most efficient way possible. My goal: the least amount of effort for the maximum amount of results. Finding that place has been great!
  • It’s fine that I don’t have hours to do cardio. Running actually hurts my knees, makes me hungry, and doesn’t change the shape of my body at all.
  • Once you start working out, it’s hard to NOT workout. It becomes a habit just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
  • Being strong and healthy is different from skinny.
  • No matter how hard I workout, the excess skin from having babies will always be there. It’s a side effect from pregnancy that’s very much worth having!
  • Making this change for me was a CONSCIOUS choice. Lasting change doesn’t happen by accident.
  • Just start. Start somewhere, anywhere. If you don’t know where to start, ask for help.
  • There is nothing wrong with asking for help. No matter how much you know, there is always someone who knows more.
  • Accountability at some level is helpful for me and for most people.
  • Finding sustainable ways of eating and exercising are important. If I can’t see myself doing what I do in 5 years from now, then I need to stop. It won’t last anyway.
  • Body change victories go WAY BEYOND the scale. The scale is a liar.
  • Fat loss foods don’t have to be boring.
  • Although many people believe I deprive myself by eating healthy, they are wrong. Every morsel of food I put in my mouth is DELISH!
  • If I can’t eat a food responsibly, I HAVE to keep it out of my house! (ahem…almond butter!)
  • Life is about finding balance in all things…even in the way that I eat. I’m not a perfect eater 100% of the time.
  • Fat loss (body re-composition – more muscle, less fat, higher metabolism – WOOT!) and weight loss (less fat, less muscle, LOWER metabolism – YIKES!) are NOT the same things! Fat loss comes from proper nutrition and lifting heavy weights. Heavy weights don’t make women bulky. Body fat makes a woman bulky (See my “before” photo below taken before I knew that I needed to lift heavy!)
  • Sleep, recovery, and stress relief are just as important as diet and exercise.
  • MINDSET is the KEY to change.
  • Don’t complain. Take action and make changes.
  • Overcome fear and live out your dreams.
  • Failure is important for success. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again. This time, more intelligently.”
  • Negative self-talk does me NO GOOD! I continue to practice self-compassion, throwing myself a bone, and giving myself (and others) the benefit of the doubt.
  • Be me. I’m one-of-a-kind and am the only person on this earth that has my exact experiences. What I offer the world is TRULY unique to me!
  • Collaboration is always better than competition – in business and in life in general. There is enough success to go around for everyone! (S/O to 2 or my mentors Jill Coleman and Jillian Teta for those wise words!)
  • Getting out of my comfort zone is truly where the magic happens.
  • I’m doing my best to let go of what other people think. Old habits die hard! (Work in progress on this one!)
  • Being kind is more important than being right.
  • Dreaming BIG is important.
  • Having gratitude is MORE important!
Before turning forty

Lifting heavy doesn’t make a woman bulky. Having this added layer of body fat makes a woman bulky. Case in point….

 

I want to share with you what I looked like at age 36….25 pounds heavier than I am right now. Seeing pictures like the one to the right and the one below is what made me DETERMINED to make a change for the better. I wanted to look better and FEEL better! Now I do! 🙂 I only hope that I can inspire just ONE busy mom to make a change for the better. You’re worth it! Find a mentor if you don’t want to go at it alone. The results of making a positive lifestyle change include confidence, empowerment, strength, motivation beyond what you can imagine, and GAINING HEALTH! If you want it, start today. Pick one new thing to change, and JUST DO IT! 🙂 Make the choice.

turning forty

Just before I MADE A CHOICE to start making a change

turning forty

This is how I looked at 40… Bout to run hill sprints! 🙂

I choose to make the rest of my life, the best of my life. ~Louise Hay

p.s. Are you looking to improve your health? Join the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program next round! I’ve been through the program twice with Coach Amanda Tress and LOVE IT!!


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!