Monthly Archives: October 2011

Don’t Rush Into Anything

When my first child was born, I was in my late twenties. I decided to wait until I was no longer selfish and actually wanted to be a mother before making this decision and, as it turned out, that was the best decision I ever made—for them and for me.

As a newly married woman, I wasn’t sure the type of wife I was going to be, much less mother.

My parents marriage ended in divorce—due mostly to issues with my father’s health—and I didn’t have any positive relationships around me to learn from, or pocket away the examples of until I was ready to love and marry a husband of my own.

Plain and simple, I didn’t have a clue what made a relationship work.

Eventually, I found a mate who was my equal in every way, and once I did, I wanted him to myself for as long as possible. I wanted to drink him in and enjoy being married and in love—hence my being nearer to 30 than 20 when our first child was born.

The point of this is to say that it’s important to assess your readiness when making life-changing decisions. Don’t rely on what you think is acceptable to those around you, or what you feel is the right thing based on what you’ve seen others do.

Rely on your instincts and your heart where such decisions are concerned if for no other reason than, once said choice has been made, it cannot be taken back.

Be aware of who you are,what you want, and what works for you and always listen closely to that still, small voice.

Tuesday Triumph: Two Workouts Down, Three To Go

After pushing through my Monday routine, it was nice to feel energetic and ready to take on another, more focused, one today—it was all about the arms and shoulders this time.

The one thing I’m willing to guess most every woman loves to have are those nicely toned, beautifully sculpted, arms to flaunt when wearing that sleeveless top or dress. But those things don’t come easy and you have to be willing to put in the time to get those showstoppers.

Here’s a small sample of my routine from this morning. Using 25lb dumbbells (lighter is fine, too, just increase your reps):

Standing Dumbbell Shrugs (4 sets of 12): lots of women scoff at this exercise because it seems like such a “man” thing. However, it does wonders for helping to build that sleek neckline and accentuate the collarbone (or clavicle) which gives most women that “hey, I DO work for this body” look.

Standing Alternating Hammer Dumbbell Curls (4 sets of 10): I love curls! I’m obsessed with them, quite frankly, and I try to incorporate a set into nearly every routine—no matter what I’m working on that particular day. It’s a phenomenal exercise for the biceps and a must do in my opinion.

Standing Overhead Tricep Press (4 sets of 8): My cousin used to comment that the one thing she didn’t want to have was “flabby arms”—somehow having them just made wearing a tank top seem pointless to her.

Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raises (4 sets of 10): I transition back to my 5 lb dumbbells for this one because my focus is more on form than repetitions. You really want to make sure you’re giving your deltoids (that muscle just along the back ridge of your shoulders) a good workout.

Strengthening the deltoids can not only give your upper body a more statuesque look but also aids in forming great posture.

Aside from that, cardio is always a must for me. I never know what kind of mood I’ll be in when it gets to that point, though, because I detest cardio—DETEST! I’ve never been a runner (although I have a great deal of respect for those who can do it on a regular basis) and biking is only fun if you’re in a scenic landscape.

That said, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, high knee runs, lateral hops, wall sits, and other such exercises can be every bit as challenging, particularly when done in quick succession, and don’t require much beyond a few feet of space and your own body weight to get the job done. 

Lastly, the abs. I’m on a mission to get the tummy as lean and flat as possible and that means a lot of attention to every muscle hidden within.

I stopped relying on crunches long ago to get the job done and, instead, look to a number of different exercises to target the various points in the abdominal area. As of now, I do a cocktail of reverse crunches (lower abs/side obliques), plank poses (both side and basic), boat crunches (lower abs), etc., but there are literally hundreds of exercise that can help you strengthen you core.

Start here for ideas and then just keep being creative and mixing them up.

Well, that’s me for today—what are you going to do to get moving?

Monday Morning Workout: Where’s My Motivation?

Monday’s are the hardest day of the week for me. I typically eschew all exercise on the weekends in favor of family time. So, when Monday rolls back around, I have to remind myself again why I spend so much time doing the things I do to keep the body I have as healthy and fit as possible. 

One thing that I’ve found that works for me is easing back into my routine by introducing my body to a less challenging version of my routine at the start of the week.

For example, today I elected to do only 45 minutes of cardio, followed by 8-10 minutes of ab work, and a circuit-set of weights (usually 8-10 sets of 12-15 reps) involving the upper body only—mainly arms, back, and shoulders.

By doing this, I give my body a chance to readjust to the rigors of a full routine, making tomorrow’s workout seem significantly less daunting.

It works for me because I usually feel the results of whatever I do almost immediately and the attitude that drives me in the first place is reawakened via those feelings. It’s a win-win.

The point is to get moving again. Yes, it’s Monday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all bad.

Monday Morning Workout:

45 minutes of cardio—your choice. I tend to rotate between 45 minutes on the bike or a personally tailored cardio burst routine that includes multiple sets of the following exercises:

50 jumping jacks x 3-5 sets
froggers (30 seconds) x 3-5 sets
mountain climbers (30 seconds) x 3-5 sets
high knee runs (30 second intervals) x 3-5 sets
10 Push-ups x 3-5 sets
10 inch worms x 3-5 sets
10 burpees x 3-5 sets
ski jumps (30 second intervals) x 3-5 sets

I try and mix in other exercises like those above whenever possible just to keep things fresh, and I alternate the amount of sets done of each just to keep my body guessing.

Like I said, this usually works for me and gets my mind right for a bigger and better challenge on Day 2.