Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gravity - Don’t Let it Get You Down

By: Emily Fonnesbeck

As you probably know, gravity is the force that pulls you towards the earth. At a rate of 32.2 ft/s², gravity can be your friend and sometimes your enemy. Tripping on your four-inch heels as you maneuver the stairs? Enemy. Working out? Friend! Confused? Ok, let me explain.
When you work out, and especially when you lift weights, opposing forces help you get the job done. Learning a simple concept can maximize your work out and allow gravity to help you in the best possible way.

Concentric vs. Eccentric Motion
A concentric motion is a motion that closes the joint angle. For example, in a bicep curl, the concentric motion is the one that brings your forearm closer to your body, thus closing that 90 to 180 degree angle. The girl on the right (B) has just finished her concentric movement, bringing the bar close to her.

Conversely, the girl on the left (A) has just finished her eccentric motion, or the motion that makes the joint angle larger. Easy enough, right? Concentric in, eccentric away. Now that you understand the concentric and eccentric motions, you can do something with that little golden nugget of knowledge I have just planted in your brain.
Since we have an illustration, we will use the bicep curl for an example. When the average person does a bicep curl, they tend to curl up (concentrically) fast and hard, and then let gravity take the weight down quickly in the eccentric motion. This is easy to do, and a common mistake, but yes, it is a mistake. This is why: you build more muscle in the eccentric motion than in the concentric motion! Let me rephrase. In the bicep curl, you build more muscle and burn more fat when you concentrate on the “down” portion of the exercise.
            This concept applies to all weight training exercises, and can really make a difference in your training. So, next time you lift weights, really concentrate on what you are doing. Make sure that both the concentric and eccentric motions are slow and controlled, especially on the eccentric. Don’t let gravity pull that weight down! If you have to do a fast motion, make it the motion on the way up, and make the motion on the way down the one that counts.
As always, be careful not to hurt yourself or burn yourself out. A strength training regimen is the like the Prince Charming of your Cinderella weight-loss plan, so make those hours in the gym count!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Being sick

Being sick sucks but it sucks even more when it derails your workout plan. I've been doing well with Tom and eating better. Last week I had a great work out with Tom on Tuesday and felt good. Wednesday morning I got up and was sore, but in a manageable way. But as the day dragged on, it got worse and that's when I knew I had gotten Bridget's cold.

The next few days passed in a blur of the chills, fevers, horrible coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes, ect... And the trees dropping all that pollen isn't helping either. With my asthma and allergies, every cold is worse. It takes me a minimum of a week to get over it. I hate it. PA says that since she's lost her weight she gets over colds faster. I hope the same goes for me.

Now it's Tuesday, May 10. I was supposed to work out with Tom today and weigh in. It was my first milestone week, three weeks since I started with him. I woke up feeling pretty good but still coughing and wheezing. I'm hoping that by staying off the dairy products (it clogs up my lungs) and being diligent in my eating and sleeping patterns, I hope that by Thursday or Friday and I can kick this.

I miss working out (Lord, I never that that would come out of my mouth). Although it's only been a few weeks, I miss that feeling after I've walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes or survived a workout with Tom. Is this what I've been missing all these years? I miss it and I'm going to get back to it this week.

I will keep you posted on how I'm feeling. My goal is to get back to the gym by Thursday and meeting with Tom on Friday. Keep me in your prayers!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turning a bad day into a good one.

Today I woke up deflated. It felt as though nothing would go right. There is a list of things that made me uber depressed this morning, but I can honestly say now I am feeling better. Why you might ask? Because I think I have turned the corner. The old me would have said eff the diet, but the new me picked myself off the floor, hopped on my trusty wii fit then ate a yummy and healthy breakfast. (Special K Oats and Honey with fresh strawberries. 204 calories and 6g fiber! That was even with 2% milk.)

That bad mood suddenly is gone, replaced by an excitement and desire for my new life. The old me would have eaten whatever I wanted, thinking it was going to make me feel better. But in turn all it really would do is throw me into a spiral of utter guilt. Now I feel wonderful and guilt free. Yay me.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy (Healthy) Cinco de Mayo!

Hello friends! Happy Cinco de Mayo! I am not sure what makes Cinco de Mayo such a happy occasion (because I have been told that people in Mexico don't actually celebrate it!) but it is a fun reason to make yummy Mexican food!!! Now Mexican food and diet usually don't play for the same team, but today they do! I have modified one of my most favorite recipes to a much "skinner" version. Now here is a warning...this recipe does look a bit intense, and it is. There are a lot of steps, but I promise it will be worth it in the end. It is so delish and so good for you! I personally like to serve this smothered burrito style with black beans (hello fiber) and a touch of shredded cheese and sour cream. Don't go crazy with the cheese and sour cream though. Just a tiny bit will do the trick. You can also eat this as a delish soup like I have pictured below.

CAUTION: If you are getting your green chiles from New Mexico they are a hell of a lot hotter that your average Anahiem Chiles. I learned this the hard way. But if you don't mind the spice then go for it. You can also add another jalapeno if you really want to bring the heat. Oh and one last point, you can make this recipe with pork, which is 100% delightful. It does add about 90 calories per serving though.

Skinny Chicken Chile Verde

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 jalapeno pepper
5 Anaheim or Poblano Chile Peppers
1 bunch cilantro leaves
4 lbs chicken breast cut into 1-2 inch cubes
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2 yellow onions
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp of fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp dried oregano
Pinch of ground cloves
1 Tbsp cumin
Large can of diced tomatoes
Chicken Stock

Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, onto a baking sheet. Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Roast fresh Anahiem or Poblano peppers over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a ziplock bag, remove the skins, seeds and stems.

Place tomatillos, roasted peppers & peeled roasted garlic into blender and pulse until incorporated. Chop jalapeno, removing the ribs and seeds, and add to blender along with the cilantro.

Season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and brown on all sides. Work in batches so the chicken will not be crowded in the pan. Place chicken in a crockpot or large saucepan.

Cook the onions and garlic in the same skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic mixture to the chicken. Add the oregano, cumin, cloves, tomatoes and tomatillo mixture to the chicken. Add just enough chicken stock to cover the meat.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours or until the chicken is tender.

I really hope you will try this recipe out and let us know how you like it!


OH and PS! Our blog is going to be getting a fancy smanchy new facelift and blog address starting on Monday. We are so excited about the changes we have coming! xoxo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Plus size announcement and quick exercises to burn the fat!

I'm sore. Tom kicked my trash yesterday and my thighs are on fire. Oy. But oddly enough, I feel good. I'm 2-for-2 this week in the exercise front and feeling good. Going to go later today and I'm actually looking forward to it.

So while that's very thrilling for all of you I'm sure, I have even bigger news!

Tonya and I have a huge announcement to make and we are both so excited! 

I'm not going to spill the beans yet (no, we're not pregnant) but its going to be huge! Come back and see us tomorrow, you won't be disapointed.

I don't want to leave you hanging so I'll share with you some quick and easy tips you can do in the office to burn some calories, courtesy of Golds Gym!

Gold's Gym Fitness Institute members and New York City–based personal trainers, Sue Fleming and Nikki Kimbrough, are pros at making exercise plans for busy clientele. They designed a 10-step sweat-free workout that fits into any schedule and burns up to 350 calories, i.e. one serving of macaroni and cheese.
And they explain how to increase that number to 500 calories when you do make it to your local Gold's Gym. That extra effort could help you lose up to one pound per week according to the National Institute of Health.
So stop making excuses and use that office downtime to up your fitness level. All you need is a resistance band and a few extra minutes throughout the day.
Mountain Climber 1. Mountain Climber
3 sets of 15-20 reps on each leg
Anywhere: Stand facing a desk or counter an arm's length away. Rest your hands on the edge, palms down, and fingers forward and slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lean in, then walk your feet out in back. Lower your hips slightly so that your body forms a diagonal line. Balancing on your toes, bring your right knee toward your chest. Alternate legs continuously.
Calories burned: 30
At the gym: Start in a plank position, with hands just wider than shoulder width apart, body straight out, core tight. While balancing on toes, bring your right knee toward your chest, then alternate legs as if you were running continuously.
Calories burned: 50

"Really focus on keeping your core tight," Kimbrough says. "When you lift your leg, focus on the lower abdominal region and use those muscles to bring that knee up." The more you use your abdominals, the less strain you feel in your back.
Stand-Up Hands-Up 2. Stand-up Hands-Up
3 sets of 10 reps
Anywhere: Stand with feet hip width apart. Place a resistance band under your feet while gripping one end in each hand. Lower your hips to a squat position and slowly stand up. Next, curl your hands up to your shoulders like you're doing a bicep curl, then raise your hands above your head. Lower your arms. Repeat.
Calories burned: 30
At the gym: Replace the resistance band with barbells or a weighted fitness bar.
Calories burned: 45

Make sure to keep your elbows close to your sides as you curl your arms to your shoulders. Keep your back straight and your core tight when you raise your hands above your head. "This is great for a midday energy burst because you are working more than three muscle groups with one exercise," Fleming says.
3. Stair Climb
2 sets of 5 minutes
Anywhere: Almost every office building has a set of stairs, take them instead of the elevator to a meeting or take an afternoon break and do a full 10 minutes. Take two steps at once if you're feeling extra energetic.
Calories: 90
At the Gym: Use the stair climber and increase resistance when you can. Add back leg kicks and side steps for an even better leg workout.
Calories: 130

It's a well-known, but highly effective fitness step: Take the stairs whenever you can.
4. Lower-Back Extensions
3 sets of 20 reps
Anywhere: Sitting in a chair, lift your arms above your head. Lean over and curl your back over your knees until your fingers almost touch the ground. Pause. Raise your arms again above your head. Repeat.
Calories burned: 15
At the gym: Grab a stability ball and balance on it with your stomach on top and your toes on the ground. Let your torso fall over the ball, and relax your arms by your sides. Starting with the head and upper back, slowly lift your spine until it's straight.
Calories burned: 30

Cubicle-bound office workers should put this move on their to-do list. "People who work at a desk tend to hunch over," Fleming points out. "A strong lower back helps you maintain good posture and avoid back injuries."
In-and-Outs 5. In-and-Outs
3 sets of 10 reps
Anywhere: Sit on the front edge of a chair (without wheels). Place your hands along the sides of your body, holding the sides of the chair. Kick your legs straight out in front of you, toes flexed, and lean back in the chair as far as you can while keeping your back straight. Then simultaneously bring your knees and chest toward each other as close as you can. Return to starting point, and repeat.
Calories burned: 30
At the gym: Sitting on a bench, repeat exercise above. Stabilize your body by holding the sides of the bench. For an even better burn, remove your hands from the bench and cross your arms over your chest.
Calories burned: 40

This move may seem tough at first, so Kimbrough advises beginners to start by keeping one leg on the floor and lifting the other knee up, then alternating. And last but not least, take your time when you do these. "Too many people try to rush it," she says.
workout-clock 6. 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock
3 sets of 15 reps on each side
Anywhere: Tie a resistance band around a doorknob and close the door. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your body at a 90-degree angle from the door (start on your right or left side). Grab the band with both hands and hold it at shoulder height. Pivot on your feet to turn your body away from the door while pulling the band across your body. Switch sides.
Calories burned: 20
At the gym: Repeat the exercise while holding dumbbells.
Calories burned: 30

"This works your obliques (the muscles on the side of your stomach) and shoulders, which are often overlooked," Fleming says. You can increase the intensity of the move by walking farther from the door to pull the resistance band tighter.
7. Chest Press
3 sets of 10 reps
Anywhere: Lie on the ground with the resistance band behind your back. With elbows straight out from the shoulders, lift your hands straight into the air, then bring them together above your chest. Pause. Then lower hands back down.
Calories burned: 10
At the gym: Replace resistance band with dumbbells or a barbell and lie down on your back on a bench.
Calories burned: 15

"If you want to increase the difficulty, just loop the band around your hand a few times to shorten it," Fleming explains. A daily dose of this exercise will help you perform better pushups or, for the yoga devotee, chaturanga dandasana.
8. 10-Minute Walk
2 sets
Anywhere: Take a lunch stroll and a brisk evening walk to get an easy dose of burned calories.
Calories burned: 75
At the gym: Add a boost by walking on an inclined treadmill or walking with ankle weights.
Calories burned: 90

"Buy a pedometer," Fleming suggests. Studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps per day can increase your metabolism, and Fleming has found that being able to check her daily count pushes her to walk more. "If I'm at 8,000 at the end of the day," she says, "sometimes I'll just walk around the block or stay on the treadmill until I hit that goal."
9. Bent-Leg Step-Ups
3 sets of 12 reps on each leg
Anywhere: Stand in front of a step or chair. Put your left leg on the step in a bent position at all times. (Do not straighten leg.) Keep your right leg on the floor. While your left leg is still and bent, quickly raise your right leg and tap the ball of your foot on the step, then lower your foot to the floor. Switch legs and repeat.
Calories burned: 30
At the gym: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and repeat the exercise above.
Calories burned: 40

"This move might seem familiar to people who use the stair machine, but the difference here is you have to keep the nonmoving leg at a bent position, and that really gets your quads working," Kimbrough explains. The burn in your quads will get your heart rate up and can push you through a late-afternoon energy slump.
10. Wall Sits
3 sets of 3 reps
Anywhere: Place your back against the wall with your feet hip width apart. Slide down until your legs form a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knees are directly above your ankles and the back of your head is against the wall. Begin holding for 10 seconds, then increase your hold time when you can.
Calories burned: 20
At the gym: Place a stability ball between your back and the wall and repeat the exercise above. For an even better burn, add 10 dumbbell curls per wall sit.
Calories burned: 30

"The great thing about this move is that all you need is a wall and a little time," Fleming says. "Do it while you wait for an appointment, or for the commuter train to pull in." People might look at you funny, but you will look better in the end.
Disclaimer: The calories burned in each of these fitness moves was calculated for a 150 pound person exercising at a moderate to vigorous level.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Getting inspiration from the most humbling and embarrassing situation

Last weekend I was in LA shooting a wonderfully gorgeous wedding. One of the things I love most about my job is that I am always behind the camera, and in turn I never have to see pictures of my fat ass. One could say I am in a bit of denial. Well last week at the wedding the bride and groom requested a picture with the whole table we were sitting at. That meant me passing my camera to the wedding planner and taking my seat. Say cheese! The result is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life. Huge is a gross understatement. I know some readers will think I should be talking like this. I honestly don't have a self esteem issue. Yes I don't look the way I want to, but I love myself. I am confident and brave enough to lay the issues on the table. I am fat. I need to change. This picture did more for me that anything else possible could. And of course I have to share it with you all. Like I said the the last few posts...I need to be accountable to other people. Enough is enough.

Uggh. This is embarrassing.

Just for is a picture of me 100 lbs lighter 10 years ago. Proving that I could be super hot. Thick still? Yes. But that just comes from being a Ballou. And I am fine with that.

If that isn't motivation to go to the gym and eat better I don't think anything will. So I am off to the gym. Loves to all!