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Goals to Strive For in 2016

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By Christine Ardigo MSRD

Nutrition & Exercise Goals to Strive For in 2016

Okay, my friends. Holidays are over. Your week-long vacation is over. 2015 is over. Back to work and school tomorrow and a whole, fresh new year is ahead of us. This year will be your year to finally meet your goals. And, I’m right there with you. I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, Christine, how hard could it be for you? You live and breathe it every day, right? Well, no. Not in 2015 at all. Not so much in 2014 either. Why? What? Huh?

As most of you know, I published two books in the summer of 2014, and just completed editing book 3. Many people ask me how I can possibly work full time, raise two daughters, maintain a home, run a Nutrition & Exercise Website, and write books while keeping in shape. The answer is: I can’t. Impossible. (And, I NEED my 8 hours of sleep at night!) Something had to give and it did. My immaculate house is a little less clean, I spent less time with my daughters and friends, AND, exercising was constantly put on hold for my book. Eating healthy all the time, too.

Now granted, I did lift weights here and there, started running on a treadmill and outdoors, and rode my bike over the summer, but, compared to my 7 days a week of exercising, I was lucky if it was once a week.  My butt has left an impression in my desk chair. I’d write for hours, my stomach would growl, and I’d run upstairs and grab a cookie to shut it up. Not good.

I cannot tell you how much I wanted to just finish this book and be done with it. Most importantly, to get back in shape. Starting tomorrow, I am starting the:

21 Day No Junk Food Challenge!

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STEP #1:

I know what you’re thinking: Does Christine even eat this stuff? Well, over the past 2 years, yes. (Especially the chocolate part!) They say it take 3 weeks to break a habit so tomorrow it begins for me. You don’t realize how fast these calories add up, and it takes FOREVER to burn off. (Especially when you’re sitting on you hiney writing.) So, no more. Hopefully I wont crave chocolate anymore after this and less calories means less I have to work off. I have fallen in love with something else!

PicMonkey Collage

I love these suckers!  Plums and mandarins/clementines. I found that after I eat a meal, I hate that residual taste in my mouth, so I’d always reach for a cookie or something sweet to get rid of it. Now I grab one of these. They’re sweet and cleanse my palate and, even better: healthy, less calories, high in fiber. YUM! So, hopefully the added calories from junk will be gone. That is step one for me. Eating healthier, BUYING healthier food for the house, not eating junk.

Step #2

Exercise! I have belonged to gyms for 30 years, I love ’em. I love the music, the fellow exercisers that motivate me and give me great, new ideas, all the billions of machines. What’s not to like? When I transformed my body several years ago, I used to go to the gym on my lunch hour, and that truly was the best time for me with a 1 & 6 year old at home. I did this every single day for 3-4 years, then when I worked at a gym part time as their dietitian, I worked out there, too. I loved it and I was obsessed! But, after four years of rushing out on my lunch hour, and rushing back, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was draining me. My life had become stressful around then, and I just wanted to rest. Relax. Not run ANYWHERE. I switched to going to the gym after work and this worked for a while, too. Until I started writing my books.

I must say, I love trying new things, and when I fall in love with something, I only want to do that. Like weight lifting, rock climbing, running various races.

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(By the way, I was 41 years old on the left. No excuses!)

Writing became my new passion and that’s all I wanted to do. I’d have my gym clothes in the car, drive within a few blocks of the gym, and then say “No! I’d much rather go home and write that new scene I thought about today.” I tried everything. Working out on weekends. Going directly after work. Working out at home. Biking and running outside. But, nothing would get in the way of writing. Last year, hubby and I bought a home gym for the basement. This was it! We assembled it ourselves and the workout began. I felt great again. February, March, and April I pounded away at the weights. I had two huge reunions coming up in the summer and it was now or never.

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May came and my husband and I were doing so much gardening, ripping out things, relandscaping our entire backyard, and maintaining our pond, that the weights were put on hold. I argued with myself that I was burning so many calories outside, that it was the same as lifting weights. But, by June, I started editing my book. I truly just wanted to finish and get it published, so the weights were put on hold again. I supplemented with jogging and biking around the block. The muscles started to disappear. The muffin top started to appear. Throw in that lovely peri-menopausal “slowing metabolism, while your appetite sores through the roof even though you just ate” and I knew something had to give.

I have almost 3 published books under my belt, but I’ve been miserable. Maybe it was the lack of endorphins I was so used to. Maybe it was my jeans being tighter, my arms not looking as cut, reverting back to old ways of wearing baggy tops (hiding), not being as strong, running out of breath by doing simple things. Who knows, but I had enough. I plan to publish book 3 soon, and I think that will be it. At least for many years. I’ve lost my body, my good mood, time with my family and friends. I kinda want my life back.

So, to jump start my exercise, I had to make a choice. Go back to the gym? Hmm, at this point, winter is here again and I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back into that just yet. Start lifting weights with the full gym again? Sure. I have a great set up downstairs and with the book almost behind me, I have no excuses. But, I missed the atmosphere of the gym, and I know I desperately NEEDED cardio. I am so out of breath I’m angry with myself. I can’t even mop my wood floors without huffing and puffing. So, what did I do? I looked into exercise DVD’s. No, not the ones from the 80’s with leg warmers and 2 lb weights. I needed ones to fit my needs. Ones where they had cardio, but also heavier weights, and fun things like Kick Boxing, and Boot Camp. One without annoying background music or voices that after a while you have to turn the volume off, and play the stereo. Well, after much research I found it:

Cathe

http://shop.cathe.com/ICE-s/119.htm

I bought this 7 DVD collection for myself for Christmas and started doing it every day. Cathe ICE. I love Cathe so far, and she inspires me. The music is a techno sound, but low, and no singing. Her voice is motivating without being too smiley and annoying. There is always one girl in the background that does it with a slower, or less strenuous move. You can choose your own weights. They’re using twelve pounds? Use 3lbs. They’re using 3lbs? Use 10. You can do whatever level you’re at. I hurt my shoulder over the summer while gardening and I learned to not do any moves that involves lifting my arms out like I’m flying. My knees have started to hurt (probably from all the sitting) and I know that I need to do any squat/lunge moves slower. I also lose my breath constantly!  But, the great thing about a DVD? You can pause it and catch your breath as many times as you want. And, if that’s what I need to do in the beginning, I do. Also, if you don’t have time to do the full DVD, do as much as time allows and finish it later, of tomorrow. There are 7 DVD’s so I have 7 different workouts to do every week. Some DVD’s also have bonus tracks (like Ab specific) and you can do those too.

I’m not trying to sell anyone on anything. Just letting you know that there’s always another way, another avenue you can try. My goal is to do these every day and supplement with weights in the basement. I hope to have my body back by the summer. In case you don’t know, there are plenty of Youtube workouts you can do as well. When my legs were hurting really bad from all the sitting, I went to my TV upstairs and Googled “Yoga”, and found a ton to do on my giant screen TV.

As a present to you guys, I pledge to post more often. I went from twice a month, to once a month, and now I haven’t posted in almost 2 months. I miss it and I think it will motivate you and me. I might even post quick, short ones here and there to keep you on your toes. If you’d like daily motivational tips, please join my Facebook Page, where I post a little something EVERY day.

So, what are your Healthy Goals for 2016? Share some on here so we can all be motivated. Do you have specific ones? Any tricks any tips?

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

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1 Jay Walking Tour Banner

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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