Weekending XVI

Hi Friend! Its another Monday & another Weekending update. These are some of my favorite posts to write and reflect on the week/weekend.

A very lazy weekend went down over here and honestly it did the body good. Sometimes it’s good to just sit back, relax and do nothing! For the first time in a long time we had ZERO plans for the weekend, except the usual weekend tasks, and it was fantastic!

Friday night we went to the gym, did a great full body workout & put some sumo deadlifts back into my programming which were seriously difficult considering I haven’t been doing them regularly in foreverrrr.


After the gym we headed to the grocery store to get the basics for the week. Brent & I have returned to focusing on macro’s (macronutrients) and structuring our meals around a specific macro goal. We cycle in and out of counting macros when we feel like our bodies need a boost, we both are feeling a bit “fluffy” right now and just want to drop some of the fluff to look as strong/healthy as we feel!

Saturday was the ultimate couch potato day. We got up made breakfast and then lounged with the intention of letting breakfast digest and going to the gym… Then we started watching House… A marathon of House and before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was 4:30…. WHAT THE WHAT!?!?


We headed to Costco & then had an impromptu date night at Pei Wei, I hadn’t been in forever & it was a nice cheat meal, followed by some Fro-Yo because it was right next door and we couldn’t say no! We ended the night watching the proposal and continuing to be lazy bums…

Sunday started a bit slower as well, but when I got up I was UP & got straight to work. Sunday is meal prep day and that’s exactly what I did… I mixed a Spark, made & ate breakfast and then spent about 3.5 hours chopping, baking and measuring out food.

The nice thing about being macro conscious is that meals take less time to prep, there’s usually only one or two steps and not a lot of ingredients. The not so nice aspect is that measuring out the food (& being precise) takes a lot more time than casually scooping 1/2 cup here or there into bowls. But 3.5 hours is pretty typical and I was done before 2!


We relaxed a bit before getting to the gym where I STRUGGLED through a cardio workout. I haven’t done prolonged interval training in a long time, Tuesday I did 15second intervals, but Sunday I did 2 minutes at a fast pace & 4 minute recovery. I did my work rate at a 7:20pace and then recovered at a 12:00 pace (which was a fast walk) I did 6 rounds of this and you guys I was dying when on the treadmill. I don’t know if it’s because my legs are super sore or what but man it was a hard workout. I spent some time rolling out my legs before hitting the bar and doing some pull up negatives.


Sunday night we prepped turkey burgers for the week and ate them for dinner. I love turkey burgers, it’s been a delicious addition to our meals and makes me think of summer!!!

What did you guys do this weekend? Anyone else have a super lazy one like us?

Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!

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5 Core Exercises on your Foam Roll

Use your foam roll for more than rolling out your muscles… These 5 exercises are a great way to engage your CORE & get a whole body workout in! {VIDEO}

5 Core Exercises on Foam Roll

Happy Thursday!

One of the goals I set for 2016 was to post more FITNESS related content for you all! I have been feeling like this blog has gotten away from what my original intentions for it were and has become just a place for me to blabber about my life, which is fine but not ideal. I am going to make it a point to start feeding you all useful and practical fitness posts.

So today I am giving you 5 exercises to do with your foam roll… that ARENT rolling out your muscles!

I love using a foam roller & it is one of the most recommended fitness products that I recommend my patients to purchase, as they are generally not very expensive and a great tool! However your foam roller can be used for WAYYY more than just rolling out those sore muscles and it is a fantastic tool to amp up your body weight workout. PLUS that makes your $20 massage tool become a WORKOUT tool as well, and I am all about getting a bang for your buck! Also most gyms and fitness centers have foam rollers available for general use so if you have a gym membership but not a foam roller at home this works for you too.

This group of exercises focuses on your CORE as the predominant muscle group doing the work. Because of the cylindrical surface of the foam roll you get to really key into your deep core muscles (your Transverse Abdomens, ask my patients its my favorite muscle) and challenge them with a dynamic surface!

1. Plank Holds

The first exercise is a PLANK! Y’all this is a great way to spruce up your boring plank and get some extra activation in. Putting your hands on the foam roller will almost automatically kick in your Transverse Abs and make you stabilize extra hard. This is a DOUBLE whammy exercise because you are stabilizing through your shoulder girdle. Make sure you set your shoulders by externally rotating (try to bend the foam roll and try to rotate your shoulder blade back) which is an excellent way to strengthen those small shoulder girdle muscles important for stabilizing the shoulder during overhead and pressing exercises.

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 30 second holds
Make It Easier – drop to your knees and preform a modified plank on your knees
Make It Harder – perform it single legged, alternate between feet (10 alternations per set) or perform a set on each leg (30second holds)

2. Plank Walks

A foam roll walk is a great way to kick those shoulder stabilizers into high gear and again strengthen them for overhead and pressing tasks. For this exercise you’re going to get into a high plank and then squeezing your core and gluts tight walk one hand out and back then repeating on the second side.

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Adding a theraband kicks these up a notch!

Adding a theraband kicks these up a notch!

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 10 walks PER arm
Make It Easier – drop to your knees and preform in a modified plank on your knees
Make It Harder – add a theraband around your wrists to add resistance

{{Freebie}} Another way to amp up your plank is to perform a forearm plank roll out. Starting in a modified plank position (on your knees) and with your elbows on the foam roll, slowly start to flex your shoulders (bringing arm towards your ears) which will lower your abdomen towards the ground. At the point of maximal flexion start to pull your arms back so your elbows are under your shoulders by activating your lats and really focusing on keeping your core tight! It’s easy to let your back sag during this one, so FIGHT it!

these roll outs are LEGIT!!!

these roll outs are LEGIT!!!

3. Dead Bugs

Dead bugs are probably my patients least favorite exercise, they are tricky and look super goofy but are really effective in targeting my FAVORITE muscle and making you work to engage your transverse abs. When doing these on the foam roll you really have to dig deep and kick into your inner balance ninja!

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Using as little upper body support as possible, I used 1 finger of each hand, activate your core and elevate one leg to a 90-90deg position (90deg hip flexion & 90deg knee flexion) maintaining this position bring your other leg up to match before slowly lowering your legs back down one at a time in a controlled manner. Basically you are marching your legs, pausing in table top each time.

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 20 marches (up+up+down+down = 1)
Make It Easier – use more upper body support
Make It Harder – try to use 1 or NO upper body support, this is super hard and takes practice. If you can get NO upper body support try to maintain your feet in an elevated table top position without falling over!

4. Bridge Holds

Bridges are another of my favorite exercise, they are great for posterior chain strengthening and engaging your core (obvious trend!). Just like the plank hold, by putting your feet on the foam roll you are required to use more muscle activation and really keep everything tight!

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Make it harder by doing Single Leg Bridges

Make it harder by doing Single Leg Bridges

Recommendations – Perform 2 sets of 10 reps with a 10second hold at the top
Make It Easier – Do not elevate your hips as high, or support your hips with your elbows on the ground. If the foam roll continues to make it too challenging perform on the ground.
Make It Harder – perform it single legged, perform a 10second hold on each leg before switching to the next leg. Make it even harder by alternating without lowering your hips!

5. Hamstring Curls

These are a doozy!!! Starting in a bridge position with the balls of your feet supporting you, roll out into an extended leg posture while maintaining your elevated hip position, then in a controlled manner fire your hamstrings and pull your legs back toward your butt.

Start Position

Start Position

End Position

End Position

KEY TIP :: make sure you are towards to toe of your shoes so when you roll out the foam roll is rolling down your shoe towards your heel. ALSO make sure your core is rock hard and you are not arching your back when rolling out or back, this can lead to back pain and thats no bueno!

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 10 curls
Make It Easier – drop your hips and perform without the bridge position
Make It Harder – you can try single legged if these are too easy, however they are pretty tricky as is!

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Alright so there you have it! 5 killer foam roller exercises that don’t involve rolling out your muscles. These moves can easily be coupled together into one workout that will not only blast your core but recruit your whole body, or you can add one or two to your workout to spruce it up! I personally love adding the planks & plank walks to supplement a shoulder workout, and then adding the bridges & hamstring curls with a leg day. They are excellent supplemental exercises!

Hope you enjoy & let me know if you have any requests for future workouts/exercises!

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Weekending XV

Happy Monday & Happy Birthday Martin Luther King JR.

I loved learning about MLK when I was in school, for some reason I was fascinated with him. But it wasn’t until just a few days ago that I realized he was about the same age as my grandma!

I haven’t done a weekending post in forever so I thought I would do one today! This weekend we did a bit of everything. It was the first weekend in a while when we had plans in Illinois each day. We were excited to see friends and do some activities we haven’t done before.

On Friday night we had a going away party for my coworker who is moving to NYC. He actually has been done with working for us for the past two weeks so it was nice to get to see him again, see some coworkers who work in different clinics and areas of the company & spend time with my new work team outside of the clinic ((I moved to a new clinic, within the same company, a few months ago)).

my lovely coworkers rocking a group selfie!

my lovely coworkers rocking a group selfie!

My coworker Snay will be definitely missed, he has that personality that makes you feel 100% a part of the group and he is really pretty funny, not to mention a fantastic therapist. He will do amazing things in New York and has an amazing opportunity ahead of him there!

Saturday morning we got up and hit the gym. I did my full body workout from Marc Megna’s program, I focused on my form during the deadlifts & tried to key into the information I’ve been reading in Kelly Starrets book. And then hit the rest of my workout hard! It felt good to get a workout in before what I knew would likely be an indulgent afternoon.

Once we got ready we headed to the city to Revolution Brewery where we met up with our friends Brian & Gina for the afternoon. We did the brewery tour at Revolution which was great, the tour is FREE & you get a beer at the start 👍🏻 plus it’s cool to hear about the history and growth plans for this small and growing brewery.

Brian, Gina. Brent & I at Revolution Brewery!

Brian, Gina. Brent & I at Revolution Brewery!

After the tour we headed to Honey Butter Fried Chicken for a late lunch/early dinner. The resturant was cute and bustling for 4pm, but they turned the food & tables over really quickly and the staff was super friendly. Brent & I split  the chicken strips, an order of buffalo Mac, & a side of the kale slaw (because balance!) Everything was super tasty!

HBFC - a must try!

HBFC – a must try!

Then we headed to watch the Packers game with Brian & Gina before heading home for the night.
Sunday was much more relaxed. We got up and headed to mass & met up with our friends Rich & Agnes for breakfast. We hadn’t spent time with the two of them in a while so it was nice to meet up and catch up on life over some yummy breakfast!

weekend

A small roll of toilet paper is a must have at Church!

A small roll of toilet paper is a must have at Church!

We did a couple errands before going home where I promptly took a 2 hour nap. I have been dealing with a bit of a cold and was feeling really drained and exhausted from all our fun. The nap was much needed 😊

Now it’s the start of a new week and time to check things off that to do list! Have a great Monday!

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Fitness Lately – AMP Trainer

Happy Wednesday!

I thought I would update y’all on what my fitness routine has looked like lately. In the fall I started to feel pretty stagnant with my workout routine, I wasn’t loving what I was doing and felt pretty uninspired, you can read more on that here & here. When I still couldnt get my mojo back I decided to turn to Bodybuilding.com and see if there was a program that seemed to fit.

In December I did a 4 week program which was just what I needed to get out of my rut and change up my routine a bit. It was a good program but I wanted more variations, I felt like I was doing a lot of shoulders and wasn’t significantly challenged. Once I finished that program I decided to try a different program that was a bit longer.

Currently I am doing the Marc Megna AMP program from bodybuilding.com and I have been really enjoying it. I technically started on Dec. 28th but after a week of over indulging after the holidays I decided to restart it on Jan 4th. So I am on my second week right now.

Day 1: Marc Megna Trainer

Day 1: Marc Megna Trainer

What I am enjoying a lot is that the lifting days are FULL BODY which I have not done in foreverrrrr and then there are dedicated cardio days which has been a fun change. I really do not enjoy doing indoor cardio, and have to talk myself into outdoor cardio to be honest, so doing cardio after a lifting day almost never happens. Having a designated cardio day really helps me focus on getting it done.

Day 5: Marc Megna Trainer - AMPed up the Split Squat lift by elevating my rear foot & adding a 35# weight!

Day 5: Marc Megna Trainer – AMPed up the Split Squat lift by elevating my rear foot & adding a 35# weight!

I also like that the lifting days have been 5sets of 5reps so I am able to amp up my weight a bit and know that I “only” need 5 reps. It’s a fun change and challenge!

The lifting workouts take about 45-50minutes depending on the day and the bodybuilding.com body space app is a great companion at the gym, its on my phone and makes tracking the workouts, weights and time so easy! The app has definitely improved since the last time I tried it a couple years ago and its much more user friendly. I love that it tells me what weights I did last week so I 1. don’t slack and pick the lighter weight 2. I can remember where I was last week because I never remember!

Bodyspace app is a lifesaver!

Bodyspace app is a lifesaver!

 

The cardio days are 40-45minutes right now and I have been doing the elliptical since I’m dealing with some Achilles Tendonitis that is much worse with running, so the low impact of the elliptical is way better. I have been bringing my iPad and reading Kelley Starret’s “Becoming A Supple Leopard” while on the elliptical, the book is all about improved mobility, stabilizing your spine and properly engaging and stabilizing your muscles when working out or lifting. It’s a total PT nerd book and I love it! I never understood how or why people read when they were working out but it really does make the time go by and I can zone out, similarly to how I zone out when running outside.

Cardio day! Ending cardio session in the steam room is my favorite!!!

Cardio day! Ending cardio session in the steam room is my favorite!!!

Saturday & Sundays for me are rest days, I took advantage of not having a programed workout on Saturday and hit up a yoga class for some active rest. I was a little disappointed at first because the yoga teacher I thought was teaching was out of town and it was in a “normal” temp room rather than a hot room but it was still a really good class and I am starting to feel more comfortable being told “now flow yourself” because before that would just make me mad. I am trying to make getting to at least 1 yoga class a week a priority because my muscles and joints really need that active recovery that you get during a yoga class. Plus I always feel like a happier person after I get done!

Yoga & some ankle mobilizations to put some deposits back into myself and get a little extra out of each day!

Yoga & some ankle mobilizations to put some deposits back into myself and get a little extra out of each day!

We are all up to speed so I guess its time to head to the gym and get my full body lift on. Tell me what workout program you’re doing right now!

Happy Lifting!

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The Year of No Expectations

Happy 2016 Guys!

We are 11 days into 2016 and I hope you all are off to a great start! I have loved reading friends and families New Year’s goals and resolutions over the past week or so and it has got me thinking about goals of my own.

2015 was all about getting married and getting to June. Then the rest of the year was adjusting to our new normal and finding the right balance, which I don’t think I did at all but life is always about adjusting right?!

For 2015 I did not set a bunch of goals but rather I set a word for the year, to practice more SELF LOVE. While this word sort of went by the way-side as they year progressed looking back on 2015 I feel that I did a pretty good job of practicing this.

On Jan 2 of this year I went to a Yoga class at my gym and the instructor set our class intention as “No Expectations” and I thought that it was the perfect phrase for 2016.

The Year of No Expectations

I often find myself putting these grand expectations on myself and then when I am not able to live up to those expectations I feel defeated and it takes me a while to get back on my feet. I think that with the social media world and within the beautiful blogging community we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other and this can often put a lot of unnecessary stress and expectations on yourself. I know that I fall into this trap a lot!

SO for 2016 I am not setting any grand goals, I just hope to live this year doing my best and accomplishing the goals that I have in my head one day at a time without a timeline because this is the year of No Expectations. The year of achieving and doing t for ME and no other reason than that.

What are you going to achieve this year? What word or phrase resonates with you?

Cheers the happiest and healthiest 2016 possible, I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us all.

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