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From Couch to Gym: An Author’s Path to Fitness!

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Today, I bring you a special guest. My good friend and author, Tracy Krimmer. She has a brand new romance novel that revolves around Nutrition & Exercise and she’s excited to tell you about it. I loved her first book: Caching In, and I especially love how all her books have a fitness related theme. You know I’m all over that! Because of that, and her inspirational story, I bring you her tale of Positive Change:

“Thunder Thighs, Thunder Thighs. Here comes Thunder Thighs! Boom! Boom! Boom!”

I was in sixth grade and Sal (named changed for some reason to protect the jerk) was the new kid on the block – and apparently thought I was fat.

I grew up in a small town and my parents lived in a tiny neighborhood. Often I would take walks to the grocery store or gas station to spend my allowance on little stuff. Whenever I approached Sal’s house, these words exploded from his mouth. He laughed hysterically. Sure, funny for him. Not so much for a twelve-year-old girl.

elephantI’ll be honest. In grade school and high school I wasn’t overweight. Through my teen years, my five foot two (barely) frame hovered around 120-125 pounds. Most of the weight I carried found home on my backside. It still lives there, having formed a community of fat and cellulite. In my twenties, my weight started fluctuating all the way up to 175 (a little over 200 if you include pregnancy weight).

Sal’s comments bothered me, but never to a point I created a dangerous situation of dieting or not eating at all. I came to terms with my weight and it wasn’t until years later I got serious about my fitness and nutrition. But it wasn’t on anyone else’s terms other than mine. I won’t lie – Sal’s words hurt me, but I didn’t get fit because of one jerk.

If I had to pinpoint when it all began, I’d say 2009. Over the years, I had been in and out of “moments” of working out. I’d commit for a week or join Curves for a month, maybe try Jazzercise with a friend. It wasn’t until my husband introduced me to P90X and Beachbody that I found something I loved.

Fast forward to today and I’ve completed P90X, P90X3, Bikini Body Mommy 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 and now I’m in the depths of Slim in 6. In between there I’ve done workouts with Sharon Mann, Jillian Michaels, Gilad, and a few others. I completed one round of C25K as well. I also lost over twenty pounds doing Weight Watchers and learned so much about portion control.

A lovely chicken & strawberry salad my husband made me.

A lovely chicken & strawberry salad my husband made me.

These days I’m working out and focusing on nutrition. I have a FitBit, which I love, and also record my meals. I eat much more chicken and fish than in the past, and no longer eat macaroni and cheese. I used to be able to eat almost an entire box of it!

A lot of people compliment me on my commitment to working out, but it comes easily to me now. It’s something I love to do and feel out of sorts if I don’t do it, much like my writing. When I wrote my new book, Jay Walking, I wanted the book to be about a mom finding her passion for fitness while still loving herself. I’m well aware I have a kangaroo pouch and I probably always will. My stomach is tattooed with stretch marks, and I really don’t care. I care that I’m fit, healthy, and setting a good example. I can choose to sit on the sidelines, or I can get up off the couch and move. It wasn’t always easy for me, and some say working out isn’t for them. That’s fine. Our passions are different. The most important thing about all this is commitment. Find something you love and commit, and you’ll be happy you did. I promise.

And Thunder Thighs? She’s still here. Just stronger.

jaywalking_cover_loveYou can purchase my new book, Jay Walking, for only $2.99 during the book tour. On August 16th, the price goes to $3.99.

Synopsis:

Chelsea Wyatt, a single mom trying to build a life for her and her son, is sick of the body she sees in the mirror. A daily diet of Cookie Crisp cereal is not doing wonders for her mood or her figure, and it’s time for a change. Setting out to get fit, she commits herself to a daily walking plan, forcing herself to give up her all-sugar and carb diet, a difficult task at her donut obsessed job.

But her plan goes sideways when a stumble on the ice puts her in the arms of Jay, an attractive young man out on a run. They grab coffee together, and Chelsea finds herself thinking about him long after their short meeting. The thought of dating again hadn’t crossed her mind in years, and she doesn’t even know if Jay is available, or if he would be interested in her despite her unfit body.

Just when she has a handle on her new routine, her past catches up with her, throwing her blossoming relationship with Jay and the rest of her life into chaos. Can Chelsea hold onto the people she loves most, or will a wrong turn set her up for failure?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

There’s also a giveaway! Enter here to win a signed paperback copy of Caching In, the first Pastime Pursuits novel, and a Wilson headband:

Enter the Rafflecopter to win! US Residents only!

Enter the Rafflecopter to win! US Residents only!

Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Tracy Krimmer:

Tracy’s love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She’s been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her first romance novel, Pieces of it All, released in May 2014 followed in December with Caching In, a romance mixed with the hobby of geocaching. She also has written several short stories.

Find her online at www.tracykrimmer.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

Thank you so much, Tracy.
Any questions for her? You know I love hearing from you!

Christine Ardigo – Author of Cheating to Survive, Every Five Years, and part of the Peace, Love & Romance Anthology

Both_Books_3D_Facebook_Cover_Art REAL ONE

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HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training. What it is and Why You Should be Doing It

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Photo taken at 12:58 Register for Rugged Maniac at www.ruggedmaniac.com

Trying to Lose Weight By Doing Cardio?

Not getting anywhere fast? Many people that struggle with weight loss spend a lot of time doing cardio. In fact, the Cardio section of my gym is always packed. The problem is how they’re going about it. You rarely see anyone doing HIIT training. Usually it’s a slow walk/jog on the treadmill, or a casual ride on a bike, and a slow pull on the rowing machine. Rather than increase your time that you spend exercising, it’s better to increase intensity, while keeping the time the same.

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT Training is an exercise program alternating periods of short intense exercise periods, with less-intense recovery periods, in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, rest periods/sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. You can read more about it here:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=621

It consists of a warm up period, followed by 3 to 10 repetitions of a high intensity exercise, separated by slower intensity exercise for recovery, and ending with a cool down. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The slower one should be about half the intensity.

Most people don’t try it because from across the room it looks so easy: Sprinting for a mere 30 seconds and then walking?  Ha Ha! They laugh. If done correctly, it’s tough and can only be done for a short amount of time. HIIT burns more calories and more fat than the boring, steady rate exercises, for the same length of time!

Ignore those “fat burning” modes on the treadmill. If walking with that little intensity worked, you’d be melting off the fat while walking around the mall! Also, you’ll have an elevated metabolic rate long after the HIIT exercise session is over.

HIIT basically involves going All-Out, as fast as you can possibly go, for 30 seconds, and up to 2 minutes time, and then for 1 to 2 minutes you should slow down and recover.

To give you an example as to why you burn more fat and calories with a faster pace than the slow, ‘fat-burning’ mode, check out this equation:

4444Photo courtesy of Ashley Herkommer

Let’s say ASHLEY walked on the treadmill in the ‘fat-burning’ mode and burned off 200 calories. The mode tells her she was burning up 85% fat while she worked out. Sounds great, right? Okay, so if you do the math, she burned off 200 calories and 160 of those calories would come from fat. Woo hoo!

Now let’s say AUTUMN did a HIIT training session on the treadmill in the same amount of time, alternating sprinting and walking. She is only burning 65% of fat though, at this high intensity. You laugh at her and say “Ha Ha!” But wait. AUTUMN burned a total of 400 calories and multiply that by the 65% and it works out to 260 FAT calories. Who burned more? Who got a better bang for their workout?

 

HIIT Training Examples

RUNNING
denise1
Start with a warm-up, then when you feel you are ready, sprint all out, as fast as you can, for as long as you can. Stop running, and then walk for a good 1-2 minutes to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. D0 this routine again and again.

 

BIKING
colleen
Typically, sitting down decreases the intensity, so you may need to ride longer or increase the tension on the bike. After a warm-up, try to pedal as hard and fast as you can for as long as you can. Then slow down and pedal very slow to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. Do this routine again and again. Make sure to cool down when you are finished.

 

SWIMMING
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After a warm-up, swim hard and fast for 25 meters, then swim slowly for another 25 meters. Try to make every swim-sprint a little tougher than the one before. Make sure to rest and cool down once you are finished.

 

WALKING
kasey1
Yes! You can do this with walking as well. After a warm up, walk hard and fast for as long as you can with long strides. If you are doing this on a treadmill, you can increase the elevation to make it tougher. Then, slow your pace and walk slow to recover for 1-2 minutes. Cool down.

The Benefits

You definitely get great results over a short period of time and it will improve your cardiovascular fitness levels. Talk to your doctor first about your capabilities and tailor it to your exercise level. With intense exercise bursts like this, injuries are always possible, so make sure you start slow, and then work your way up. Initially your sprints can be for a mere 5 – 10 seconds, Make sure you have enough rest and recovery after the workout.

Even without HIIT, the higher speeds burn more calories. For instance, did you know:

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Have you ever tried a HIIT workout? What did you think? Will you try one the next time you do cardio? If so, let me know how it goes!
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Exercise: Do You Really Know What You’re Doing?

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What on Earth Are You Doing?

My last blogpost, Why You Won’t Lose Weight From Exercise Alone, sparked the next series of questions: If you are exercising, are you even doing it correctly? My comment about: “I won’t even get into the ones that pig out all day and then casually stroll around the block every evening after dinner,” got a lot of people to ask: that’s not enough? Yeesh.

No, a casual stroll will do nothing. Especially if you’re talking on your cell phone while doing it. Also, slowly pedaling on a stationary bicycle while leaning back and reading a book: Not Exercise. The proper way to know if you’re getting a real, good workout, is to exercise in your target heart rate. A simple equation is:

220 minus your age. So let’s say you’re 47 years old, your MAXIMUM heart rate should be around 173 beats per minute.

To determine your heart rate while you’re exercising: take a quick break, check your pulse and count the beats per a 60 second time period. (or you can do a 10 second time period, and then multiply it by 6.) This chart will show you how hard you’re working. It will also show you how out of shape you are. If a casual stroll around the block has your heart rate at 180 beats per minute, you are Out of Shape! On the other hand, very conditioned athletes may have lower than average heart rates because their hearts have learned how to adapt and work more efficiently. Therefore, everyone is different and you need to know what YOUR max heart rate is, and what range you need to exercise in.

Heart_rate_chart                                       Image Courtesy of http://www.cybexintl.com/ 

Range of Heart Rate determines where you should be at certain times. You should not be at your max heart rate all the time, actually it’s impossible to be there for more than a few minutes. But you should test your heart rate to see where you normally are. If you’re always at the 50% range, you may not be working hard enough. If you’re always at the 85% range: is that too high? Or are you out of shape and any exercise you do, drives your heart rate up? You should vary your workouts though, so that some are high intensity and some are low. Mix it up.

Another way to determine if you’re exercising hard enough, is to gauge your breathing. You should be ABLE to talk, but feel that you don’t really want to.

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If you’re weightlifting, and don’t rest between sets (and text your friends) you can get your heart rate up pretty high, as well. (Yes, you can get a cardio workout from lifting weights. Test your heart rate and see). But, if you want to know if you’re lifting heavy enough to build muscle, then once you’ve lifted weights long enough to be comfortable with your routine, you can test this out: You should NOT be able to lift the weight or push the weight, for more than 10 reps. If you are lifting a pretty pink weight 18 times, it’s too light. Trust me.

Here is another graph displaying where you should be according to your level of fitness. You want to start slow, but then make sure you make improvements!

target-hearrate-chart      Image Courtesy of ACEFitness.com

How Much Do You Need to Exercise?

It depends what your goals are. If you’re trying to lose weight, then 1-2 lbs of weight loss per week is recommended for slow, healthy weight loss. 3500 calories = 1 pound of fat. So divide that by 7 (days in a week) and you would need to get rid of 500 calories a day to lose 1 lb a week. So, you can burn (exercise) off 500 calories a day, eat 500 calories less a day, OR a combination of both (eat 250 calories less and burn off 250 calories a day).

Want to lose it faster? Then eat a lot less and exercise a lot more.

If you find you’re losing weight in the beginning, but then it slows down, look at your exercise routine. If you’ve been doing the SAME routine for weeks, then you’re burning less calories now because it becomes easier and you exert less energy. Also, when your body is more conditioned, it gets used to your exercise routine, so you need to do MORE to continue to lose weight.

Or, again, you can eat less. If you’re already eating very little, (1,000 calories a day) then you cannot eat any less, so you will need to exercise more.

As for how long and how many times per week should you exercise? Read this for more detailed information on that: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/exercise-frequency/

How many of you frequently check your heart rate? Do you push yourself at each workout? Do you mix it up to get your heart rate up to different levels?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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