Why you should incorporate weight-training into your fitness regimen!

Crossfit-and-Marriage-photo-by (1)

There are many reasons why you should incorporate weight lifting into your fitness regimen. Weight lifting is not only beneficial when it comes to aesthetics but it also helps ward off disease, relieve stress, and blast away belly fat! You don’t have to hit the gym hard like the hulk to gain the benefits of weight lifting. By incorporating as little as 30 minutes of weight training a day you will be able to lose the weight and keep the muscle! (Something a treadmill can’t offer).

Below is a list of a few of the benefits of incorporating weight training into your fitness regimen!

  1. Constant calorie burn following training
    • For up to 36 hours after your weight training session, your metabolism remains high allowing your body to keep burning calories.

postworkout

  1. Long – term metabolic increase
    • Weight training allows for the growth of lean muscle mass. Lean muscle is what serves as a fire to burn calories and fat in the body.
    • Naturally for women it is more difficult to gain muscle where men can easily gain lean muscle mass allowing them to consume more food.
    • Lean muscle boosts your basal metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories when lying or sitting still). In other words, the more lean muscle you have on your body the higher this rate will be, resulting in a higher amount of calories to be burned over a 24 hour period.

sleep1

  1. Body Re-shaping
    • Unlike cardio training, weight training allows you to change the overall look of your body.
    • Cardio will help you lose weight but it will be a combo of a loss in fat AND muscle. You will lose weight but you will also lose the natural curves of your body.
    • Weight training allows you to melt away fat AND build upon these natural curves
    • Ladies, there is a common misconception that lifting weights, especially heavier weights, will cause you to look bulky or too muscular. This is simply not accurate because women do NOT produce enough testosterone naturally to support a large amount of muscularity.

ashley-kaltwasser-14151314708gkn4

Conclusion:       

The health benefits differ between cardio and weight lifting. Cardio provides great cardiovascular training resulting in warding off high blood pressure, heart and cardiovascular disease. Weight lifting not only strengthens bones but allows your body to continue burning fat even after your training session. I believe a fitness regimen that makes room for both weight lifting AND cardio is the perfect plan of action.

-mk

Advertisements

T.G.I.M: Is the fear of failure slowing you down?

you-realize-that-being-paralyzed-by-fear-of-failure-is-worse-than-failure-arnold-schwarzenegger

A Letter to Failure

Dear Failure,

What if I told you that every experience I have in life,

that every sacrifice I make in life is a victory in itself?

What if I did not measure my success in life by my wins and my losses,

but by my will to persist, my triumph over slumber,

my focus to prepare, and my courage to contend.

What if I told you I win every morning I open my eyes?

Failure, you will not triumph over me because

I’m Possible.

quote-Winston-Churchill-success-is-not-final-failure-is-not-88382

Confidence from within is key.

Start your day willing to do what it takes to achieve success.

Work harder than you have ever worked before.

Train longer than you have ever needed to before.

Life is a continuous learning experience regardless if you win or lose.

You have the choice to either stay down or stand back up,

The only thing standing between you and your goals is YOU. 

-mk

nelson-mandela-inspirational-quotes

How fitness can impact your relationship!

Studies show that fitness can make relationships stronger. It can create a fun environment for couples to challenge and motivate each-other while spending time together; building strength not only physically but strengthening the relationship as a whole.

Couples-Fitness

Below are 5 takeaways of couples living an active lifestyle together!

  1. Unbreakable Bond – Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body is very important when it comes to living a healthy and strong life; it’s even better when your significant other is dedicated to health and fitness just like you. It allows you two to spend time together pushing and motivating each-other in ways you never thought possible.
  2. Great Motivation – Talk about some great motivation! When you two are both interested in fitness and have goals you are trying to meet, one of the most motivating factors in your life can be your significant other. For me my boyfriend pushes me and tests my limits in ways I never could do for myself. When couples train together the motivation levels increase dramatically!
  3. Confidence Boost – One of the most important results fitness gives you is self-confidence. Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body makes you feel like you are in control. You can change your body with exercise and nutrition and for some people this change brings on an amazing confidence boost! When you are confident in your own skin that light will shine in your relationship!
  4. Improved Patience and Understanding – We all know that training times can range from very short to pretty dang long! Couples who train together understand that some training days may be longer than others and sometimes training has to come before movie dates and dinners. This understanding improves the level of patience in a relationship.
  5. Improved Sex Life – Your active lifestyle in the gym can improve your active lifestyle in bed! Exercise improves your energy, stamina, and flexibility. It also gets your blood pumping and raises testosterone levels. The confidence you get from fitness will give that added boost of confidence and sex appeal under the sheets!

local_07_temp-1392101831-52f9c9c7-620x348

One of the biggest keys to success is motivation. Whether it is self motivation or motivation from an outside source, it is important for your significant other to be there for you and motivate you in working towards your goals. That is what strengthens and bonds relationships.

Below are a couple of comments my readers left on my blog when I asked how fitness has impacted their relationship!

“Fitness has become a big part of my life in the last 3 years. Robb my boyfriend of the last 3 years has definitely contributed to getting me in the gym especially weight lifting rather than my usual cardio. He bought me a gym membership (which I took no offense too lol) our first Christmas together so that we could workout together at his gym Fitness 19. He made me enjoy the gym and helped me learn how to lift weights. It has never affected our relationship in a negative way, it brings us closer and is just another hobby we have together. Health and nutrition also plays a huge role in our household and we educate each other on how to be healthy and fit together. The gym has definitely helped me with anxiety issues that I have. Some days the gym is therapy for me and I know it’s the same for Robb as well. Nothing is more of a turn on in a relationship than dedication and motivation on yourself and appearance.” – Lauren

With her boyfriend motivating her along the way Lauren is able to live a stronger more healthy life. Proof that fitness can certainly bond two people in a relationship and bring them closer together!

Another reader said,

“I think working out is a fun and healthy way to spend time together. It’s definitely an important part of my relationship with my fiancé considering I have a hard time motivating myself to go alone. It’s good to remember to keep it fun and not take it too seriously, whether working out together or alone. Don’t ever obsess over your body or your significant other’s body which be detrimental to the relationship. Just be happy, love and enjoy each other.” – Shalimar

It seems like the biggest factor that comes into play is motivation. When your significant other is able to motivate you and encourage you to do what you enjoy, your relationship naturally strengthens. When he/she is constantly frustrated with your fitness hobbies motivation can diminish drastically.

So, what if you are someone whose significant other is less than motivated in the gym? I know it can be truly frustrating but you can’t sacrifice your own happiness for someone else’s. If living a healthy and fit lifestyle is something you enjoy, I say take the time you need to satisfy that part of you!

Below are a few ways you can still enjoy fitness when your significant other is less than interested!

maxresdefault

  1. Outdoors Activities – There are many, many ways you can stay fit with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I am a huge fan of hiking. I would recommend researching hiking trails in your area that you two can take a day and visit together. My favorite is Amicalola Falls in Georgia. The hike ranges from beginner to experienced. What makes the trip so much more rewarding is the breathtaking view of the waterfall at the end of the hike!
  2. Races – Races like the Savage race or Warrior Dash are fun way to get involved in fitness outside of the gym. If your significant other despises lifting weights in a room, try suggesting you two take part in a race like this! They are fun, motivating, and the sense of community is truly inspirational!
  3. Walks – Taking walks is not only a great way to refresh and reboot you mentally but is also a great way for couples to bond. I suggest going in the evening or morning and leaving behind any technology. This allows you two to engage in meaningful conversation!

There are always ways around not living a healthy and fit life. I know from experience that it can be frustrating and it can drastically diminish your individual motivation when your loved one doesn’t care about health and exercise; but, it doesn’t have to!

Don’t sacrifice your own happiness and individual needs for someone else’s. Communication is key. Talk to your significant other about your feelings and hopefully you two will be able to meet in the middle.

-mk

5 Types of Fat Shredding Cardio

First let me say that I am not one of those religious cardio bunnies you see sweating their life away for an hour on the treadmill. Unless you’re main goal is to shred tons of fat, and even then it’s questionable, I don’t feel like steady state cardio is as much of a necessity as weight lifting; but everyone is different. However, I do believe that various types of cardio or cardiovascular training are extremely important about 5 days a week. Cardio keeps your heart strong and healthy and also keeps your body fat down.

Below is a list of five different types of cardio and what they can do for your body!

  1. Steady State Training

treadmill

  • Involves training at the same workload OR the same speed & level for an extended period of time ranging from about 20 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • Steady state cardio is constant; there are no moments of rest.
  • Steady state cardio will burn fat AND muscle. Those of you more focused on building muscle might want to avoid steady state training.
  • An example would be jogging at speed level 7 for 30 minutes on a treadmill or using the Stairmaster at level 4 for 30 minutes.
  • This type of cardio training is great for all fitness levels especially beginners.
  1. HIIT: High Intensity Interval training (my favorite!)hiit
  • HIIT requires you to train at a high level for a short period of time followed by a relaxed recovery period.
  • The switch from a higher intensity to a lower intensity really heats things up and confuses the body.
  • This type of training is great for all fitness levels.
  • For those of you who are focused on burning fat without eating away at the muscle you have worked so hard to build, I would recommend utilizing HIIT. It allows the body to burn fat while holding on to muscle.
  • An example would be training on theStairmaster beginning at level 4 for the first 4 minutes. Bump it up 2 levels to level 6 for 2 minutes. Bump it up 2 more levels to level 8 for 2 minutes then bump it up to level 9 for the last-minute. Repeat this process 1 – 2 more times to complete the training sequence.
    • You can adjust levels/speeds to your fitness level. Beginners may start at level 3 instead of 4.
  1. Fartlek Training – My brother introduced me to this type of cardio training after he received his PT certification.

fartlek

  • Fartlek training is very similar to HIIT.
  • Traditional Fartlek training is unstructured and is performed by surging from one landmark to another.
  • It can also be structured. What I mean by that is you can train by determining what speed and time to perform at; basically creating a routine.
  • This type of training is very demanding, therefore is recommended for people who are experienced with running and fitness.
  • For more information on Fartlek training and sample Fartlek training workouts click the link below.

http://running.competitor.com/2012/03/training/workout-of-the-week-fartlek-session_49932

  1. Circuit Training or Super Circuit Trainingdeadlift
  • Traditional circuit training involves rotating through pre-determined exercises for a certain amount of time or rounds.
  • Super Circuit Training is aerobic training that involves a combination of anaerobic exercises like resistance training with short periods of cardio.
  • An example of this would be to perform 3 minutes on the treadmill followed by 1 minute of squats then immediately performing 3 minutes on the elliptical followed by 1 minute of leg presses, so on and so forth.
  • This type of training is perfect for those of you trying to squeeze maximum training into a short period of time.
  • Super Circuit training is also great for those of you competing in anesthetic competitions like body building. It allows you to burn the fat without wasting precious muscle mass.
  1. Cross Trainingcrosstraining
  • When I do decide to train cardio, I am a huge fan of cross training. I get bored easily so I like to switch it up to keep my motivation high.
  • Cross training is simply switching from different cardio machines remaining on one machine for a certain amount of time and then switching to another for a certain amount of time.
  • An example of this type of training would be performing 10 minutes on the treadmill, switch to 10 minutes on the arc trainer, and then 10 minutes on the stationary bike.
  • You can also choose to switch machines each day: stationary bike one day, treadmill the next day, etc.

Frequency, Duration, & Intensity

  • 3 – 5 sessions a week is recommended
  • 20 – 60 minute sessions
  • 55% – 90% of your max heart rate

These numbers can change. We aren’t robots therefore we are not all the same and do not require the same times, intensities, and frequencies. Consult with your doctor or personal trainer to determine what your body needs.

Not one type of cardio is better than the other though each one yields very different results. When determining which type of cardio training is best for you I recommend utilizing one that you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy cardio at all HIIT or Super Circuit Training might be right up your ally. If you are a book-worm and don’t mind reading while doing steady state cardio then by all means give it a whirl!

You need to find the type of physical activity you enjoy doing to keep your body and mind as healthy as possible. If you don’t enjoy it, do you think you’ll be motivated to do it 3 – 5 times a week? My guess is probably not; I wouldn’t.

Be healthy. Be happy.

-mk

Does fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship?

I am putting together some ideas for a future blog post and I need YOUR help. I have actually seen a couple posts about relationships and fitness but I really wanted to find out for myself from all of you!

Here is my question:

833ce5029bc78a4f2f82a24c3b1c7106

  • Does health and/or fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship? Whether it is yes or no, can you explain why?

Fitness and health play huge roles in my relationship. My boyfriend Joey trains in Jiu Jitsu about 4 – 5 days a week. I weight-lift about the same amount of days. We both encourage and motivate each-other to work hard doing what we enjoy. He is okay with the time I take to weight-lift and I am okay with the time he takes to train. Two people in a relationship should be able to take time to do what they enjoy even if it involves being apart. Don’t get me wrong we workout together too! 😉

Please comment and leave me your thoughts and opinions. Your comments will help me write my next blog post on Fitness and how it impacts relationships!

-mk

Achieving Balance in an Unbalanced World: Is it possible?

Is balance possible? In a world where we are constantly juggling responsibilities is it truly possible to achieve perfect balance in our lives?

balance

We are constantly being pulled in so many different directions: work reports, deadlines, children’s play dates, hobbies, school, part-time jobs, etc. The list goes on and on … and on. Even your house is calling your name! The front door needs to be fixed, there’s a leak in your bathroom, and you have to paint the living room walls because your children “ran out of paper”. Yikes! You think, “Gosh, there’s not enough time in a day!” A strenuous work load and  having to make time for your family along with household chores is difficult to balance. You feel absolutely exhausted even though you’re not pushing forward or making any progress with anything. Why do you feel this way? Because you are trying to balance everything in your life.

If balance is so impossible to achieve then what are we doing every day to make time for the different responsibilities in our life?

It’s called counterbalance.

Work-Life-Balance41

Counterbalancing is simply prioritizing. It is the constant shift of our attention from one thing to another to make time for everything in our lives. This will naturally force you off-balance. That’s okay, as long as it is done so for the right reasons. Sometimes you have to be at the top, the bottom, or to the extreme left or right side in order to give your attention to your priorities.

There are two parts of your life that you will continually attempt to balance out:

  1. Work and life
  2. Within work and within life separately

There will be times at work where you may feel like you are being pulled in different directions. Priorities at work are ever-changing which is completely normal. You will be at extreme ends of the scale much of the time.

In order to counter balance your life there are three things that need constant attention:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Body and spirit
  3. Personal needs

balance3

Family and Friends

  • Make time to spend time with those close to you, especially family; even if it involves putting household chores, work responsibilities, and hobbies on the back burner. Just be sure when doing so, it doesn’t produce negative effects. You have to pick and choose what needs to be taken care of and what can be put off.

Body and Spirit

  • I am a huge advocate for taking care of your body and spirit. Whatever direction you choose to take for physical activity: yoga, weight lifting, running, walking, etc. It is truly important to take of yourself. When it comes to spirit everyone has different beliefs. You can take care of your spirit by joining a church, meditating, giving back to the community, etc. Exercising your body and spirit is important to living a healthy lifestyle. Stress relief will naturally help balance your life.

Personal Needs

  • Let’s face it. We just don’t put aside time for ourselves. When you work full-time and have a family to take care of, it’s easy to put your own needs on the back burner. The thing is, setting aside time for yourself is very important. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes every morning before the kids get up or on your lunch break from work … 5 – 10 minutes alone to reflect will relieve so much built up stress! Go get your nails done, a massage, go for a walk, read a book, go to the gym, go shopping, go to a gun range, meditate, participate in yoga, etc. We don’t utilize these things as often as we should.
  • Not only should you set aside time for what you love but you should take care of yourself just as well as you take of your family. If you have a family, I’m sure you are strict in making sure your family eats three meals a day but do you, yes you as an individual, make time to eat? Probably not. Here’s an example; my mother played such a huge roll in my health when I was growing up. She made sure my brother and I ate 3 meals a day, that’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The problem? She doesn’t eat breakfast, never has, and rarely eats lunch, if she does its very small maybe a granola bar. She is such a hard worker that she puts her work and family needs before her own. I am sure she is not the only one that does this. You, the one reading this, probably falls into this same routine. You have to make time to nourish your body.

Below are a  few simple ways you can satisfy your own personal needs at home and/or at work. 

  1. Snacks – If you are a person who doesn’t eat enough or your work doesn’t allow you take very long breaks, buy snacks specifically designated for your office. You go to the grocery store for your family right? Well, buy your own snacks you can take with you to work. You can also meal prep if you have the time to cook your meals for the week.
  2. Music – Music is extremely underutilized as a stress reliever. Maybe your office doesn’t allow you to play music. That’s okay. Bring some headphones with you. When you go on your break walk outside, sit down, plug-in and relax. Whatever music relaxes you is what I recommend. When I am trying to clear my mind I use an app called Spotify and type in “Relaxing Music” in the search bar. It brings up different playlists I can choose from. I choose one, sit back, and chill.
  3. Meditation – This may require some practice but once you learn how to meditate and clear your mind it works wonders! There are also apps out there that will walk you through the meditation and breathing process.
  4. Reading – Reading a book is an easy way to escape the real world. Whatever interests you, fiction, science, fantasy, romance, etc, bring your favorite book with you and read on your break. It will refresh your mind and allow you to escape reality!
  5. Manicures & Pedicures – I am targeting mostly women with this one, not saying that there aren’t men out there who love these, but a large majority of women are fans of manicures and pedicures. This is such a great way to clean yourself up, especially if it’s been a long week planting or playing with your kids. The plus is that it’s relaxing! (They have massage chairs that will make you feel like jello) ;).
  6. Date Night – Let’s face it, when you have a family it’s difficult to designate time for dates but I think it is a necessity. Now, you obviously can’t go on a date at work but you can certainly make time for it. Making time for date night with your significant other is very important not only for you as an individual but for your relationship. It’s refreshing to get that alone time and chances are you probably need that “connection” (you pickin’ up what im puttin’ down?)
  7. Set aside alone time in the morning or at night – Talk to your family or significant other and just let them know that you want ten minutes alone just to relax and de-stress. It can be in the morning before your kids wake up or at night after they go to bed. For those of you who don’t have families to take care of setting aside time should be easier! No excuses! 😉 Setting aside mental time will help you rejuvenate and recharge.
  8. Lists – Now, I know some of you are list people. If there are multiple things you need to take care of make a list AND prioritize; key word being PRIORITIZE. That is how you truly counterbalance.

Join the conversation

  • Do you think it is possible to achieve true balance in life? Or, are we constantly shifting from one side to the other counterbalancing our work responsibilities and life responsibilities?
  • What are some things you do to either counterbalance or achieve true balance within your own life?

-mk

Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? – Part. 2

Dieting-vs.-Exercising-Which-Works-More-For-Weight-Loss

Not only is nutrition vital in living a healthy lifestyle but so is exercise. Exercise should be as much of a necessity as good nutrition for many reasons. One of the most important is that it helps to treat and prevent bone diseases like Osteoporosis.

Exercise also helps build and improve:

  • Muscle strength
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Overall health

Exercise is my absolute favorite part of my day! It’s all I think about when I am at work all the way up until I walk through my gym’s doors. But not everyone enjoys exercise like I do. Below are a few statistics I found on www.fitness.gov about Americans and exercise:

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, video games, computer).

http://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/

I don’t know about you, but I am appalled! I am pretty sure I scared my mother with the sound my jaw made when it hit the ground (okay, not really, but it was a pretty good visual!) I can and can’t believe the percentage of adults that participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day: 5%! That’s it?!

Did you know that by participating in 30 minutes of cardio vascular training and weightlifting you can:

  • Help prevent heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #5 killer of Americans.
  • Achieve greater peak bone mass
    • Bone is living tissue, like muscle, that gets stronger as a result of being put under pressure. Bone mass typically peaks in the third decade of life. After this time, bone deteriorates
    • The best exercise for building strong bones is the weight-bearing kind (i.e. weight lifting, hiking, jogging, tennis, and dancing). Swimming and bicycling are not weight-bearing forms of exercise although they are great for cardiovascular training.
    • Improve balance, coordination, and muscle strength.

Remember: always consult your doctor before starting any form of training, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, diabetes or obesity.

A great example as to why diet and exercise go hand in hand is bone diseases like Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the bones where they become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help prevent and/or manage osteoporosis. Also, regular physical activity strengthens the bone as a result of being put under pressure (weight bearing exercise).

Nutrition alone cannot help prevent and manage bone disease and vice versa. Both exercise and nutrition are needed. Physically active people hold calcium in their bones, while sedentary people tend to lose calcium. Weight bearing exercises are recommended for people at any age.

As you can see both exercise and nutrition are needed to successfully help prevent and manage not only Osteoporosis but your over-all health.

Now that you know why you should exercise, maybe you don’t know where to start. Below are some recommendations I came up with to help you get started:

  • Join a gym: A sense of community can be very motivating.
  • Get an accountability partner: It’s easier to stay motivated when you are held accountable.
  • Do your own research: There are various kinds of exercise tutorials all over the internet. Check out bodybuilding.com, you-tube, and instagram for help with learning new exercises or diet tips.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/training.html

https://www.youtube.com/

https://instagram.com/fitlife.mk/

  • Begin with a personal trainer. Personal trainers can be a huge help or can be a huge disaster. Be picky in choosing who you work with, and trust your gut. If you are not comfortable with the way he/she trains, ask for someone else. Do not ever put your well being on the line. You can learn a lot from personal trainers. If you start out training with a personal trainer for a few months, chances are you will learn some knowledge that will give a foundation to build upon and get you started on your own. For example, I started training with my brother. He was certified at the time and knew much more than I did. That was three years ago. Now, I workout on my own. I do my own research and put together my own workouts.
  • Utilize Technology: we live in a very technologically advanced world. Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you track nutrition and exercise. You can also use fitness bracelets like FitBit. The only warning I give with utilizing apps and bracelets is that they should not be the sole form of tracking your physical activity/nutrition. They should be supplemental, or used along with tracking your fitness manually. They are not 100% accurate and are likely to malfunction at any time (psh, technology, right?).
  • Keep a fitness journal: This was another thing I used to get started in fitness. All you need is a blank notebook and a pen. Jot down the date and what muscle group you are training. Underneath this you simply write down the exercises you want to do along with how many sets and repetitions. Also, write down the weight you did for each exercise. The reason for this is so that you have something you can refer back to in the future. In order to get stronger you have to move up in weight. Having a visual record helps you judge how much to bump up your weight.

Below is an example of how you would write out your routine:

6/9/15 – Back and Bis

  1. Lat Pull Down – 10 x 4 (10 repetitions for 4 sets) – 50lbs (the weight you used)
  2. Barbell Row – 10 x 4 – 45lbs
  3. Close Grip Row – 10 x 4 – 40lbs
  4. Pull-ups – 10 x 4 – body weight

Nutrition and exercise are vital to living a healthy lifestyle. I truly believe you cannot have one without the other unless you are a person with disabilities that hinder you from participating in physical exercise like people who are paralyzed. In this situation, nutrition would be most important.

If living a healthy lifestyle is a goal of yours or if you are looking to turn your life around only YOU can make that decision. Only YOU can take that first step. No one is going to do it for you. It will be hard, it will be frustrating. You will have days where you want to give up, but guess what? You will have many more days of feeling successful; Days where the blood, sweat, and tears are worth it. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment truly trumps the feeling of failure.

It’s time to make your move towards living a healthy life!

Follow my blog to help inspire and motivate you towards living a FitLife.

-mk