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Health & Fitness

WIOW: Will’s Lower Body Workout

Last week I shared Will’s current upper body program. Today I’m sharing his lower body workout!

This is what he’ll be doing for the next couple months.

When crafting his workouts, Will was very specific- no squats (he hurt his back badly from doing them when he was younger and has to watch it ever since), and heavy on machines. He also gave me a few things he wanted incorporated.

Whenever I craft workouts for friends (completely with their understanding I’m not a “certified” trainer, mind you), I like to stretch them a little past their comfort zone.

However, with Will, the goal is to just get him inside the doors of a gym.

You want to do the leg press machine and nothing else? Fine by me, dear. I just want you here!

So yeah, the workout lacks some creativity, but it’s basic and works (and Will was gassed by the end).

Plus it’s short.

Just like the upper workout, this one focuses on multiple sets performed back to back without stopping. Once you complete a set, rest for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat two more times. Then move onto the next set.

Just like last week, Will did 3 sets of 10 reps.

Make this a workout! Push yourself a little. Even though this is an easy-ish workout in terms of complexity, it can be easily modified and made more difficult but adjusting resistance and reps.smile

Here we go!

Set one
Sled machine (leg press)
Calve raises on sled machine
Ball crunches

Set two
Leg extension machine
Standing calve raises (one set regular, one set toes pointed inward, one set toes pointed outward)
Russian twists

Set three
Hamstring curl machine
Seated calve raise machine
Ball crunches

Set Four
Step-ups
Russian twists
Standing calve raises

Done and done!

Check in next week for another workout!

Food this Week

Let’s talk food this week.

And how I’m up to my elbows in Perkins mammoth muffins.

I hate to love those things.

Actually, that’s a lie.

I wish I hated to love those things.

I simply love them.

In terms of loving anything inanimate, of course.

I had a strawberry cream one Saturday that kind of blew my mind. Gah!

The remaining ones (which are much fewer than I originally anticipated) are tucked away in the freezer for this weekend and (hopefully) next weekend. Now I’m back to normal eating.

I figured I’d use today to share what we’re doing this week.

I always always always start my morning with a green monster. Protein, greens powder, chia, a little avocado, a dab of coconut oil, spinach, almond milk, and ice.

For my “second” breakfast this week I’m having two boiled eggs. Bor-ing. Last week I had a piece of toast with a dab of coconut oil and scrambled egg whites which I would have preferred, but this was faster.

Lunch this week is Greek salad with homemade dressing. So so good! I always enjoy Greek salad but rarely make it myself. P made some over Memorial Day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Instead of adding some sort of green salad base, I ditched that and doubled the cucumber and tomatoes. I also used fresh basil from my aerogarden!

Snacks are chopped carrots and celery with natural peanut butter and honey.

Dinner is where things have the potential to fall apart. Not because of eating unhealthy usually, but because of too much snacking before!

Snacking often involves a spoon and a heaping tablespoon of natural peanut butter. Real life.

This week we’re having breakfast for dinner- scrambled egg whites with one whole egg, and veggies for me (and probably a biscuit with a little white gravy because I’m weak and can’t resist when I make it for Will).

We’re also having spicy black bean and potato burritos.

Finally, we’re making brown rice bowls the last part of week. I cook some meat with salsa in the crockpot for Will. We top our rice with corn, black beans, tomatoes, jalapeños, and Greek yogurt. Will also adds in his salsa chicken and cheese.

I end every night with plain Greek yogurt, stevia, and PB2. If I’ve had a particularly good day of eating, I’ll have my yogurt with a little honey and brown sugar instead.

And there you have it! A week of eating with the B-Love family.

Check in tomorrow! 

Will’s Upper Body Workout

Guess what!?

My sweet husband made the decision to start working out!

If you’ve read a long time, you know this is huge.

I’m trying not to act too excited around him, in fear I just might scare him off.

Instead, I’ll let out a big scream of glee here on the blog where he can’t see.

YAY!!!!

Ok, moving on!

Will is a natural athlete, and it kills me. He can go ages without physical exertion and pick up like he never even stopped. Last year’s softball season is a perfect example.

He asked me to put together an upper-lower body split and I was thrilled to oblige.

I’m put together a basic upper body workout that hits all the major groups without going overboard.

Will specifically asked for 3 sets of 10 of whatever exercises he did, so I configured three giant sets done back to back without stopping. After one set, he rests and repeats two more times before moving onto the next giant set.

I wanted to share his upper body program this week (and lower next!) because I believe it’s a great program for people that want to do more in the weight room without it occupying your entire life.

This workout can be done in about 35 minutes and will punish your muscles in the best way possible. smile

You’re doing 3 giant sets. Each giant set consists of the exercises you repeat three times.

Confused yet? smile

Each rep consists of sets 10 reps each, so make them count. The last two reps should be hard, but should be in good form.

Ready?

Let’s get to work!

Set One
Lat pull down
Bench press (set one: regular incline, set two: decline, set three: incline)
Biceps curls

Set Two
Row machine
Bench flies (set one: regular incline, set two: decline, set three: incline)
Shoulder flies

Set Three
Close grip lat pull down
Bench press OR fly machine
Triceps push down

Yay for hitting all the major muscles without going too crazy and spending a year in the gym.

And most of all yay for my Will working out!!

Check in next week for his lower body workout! 

WIOW: The 400 Workout

Last Wednesday I shared a lower body workout that kicked my butt.

I planned on doing it again last Saturday, but I got up later than I wanted and the gym was too busy to dominate all the various equipment needed.

I did some quick thinking and decided to stick to a small space off on my own where all I needed was a barbell.

Yep, all you’ll need for this lower body burner workout is a barbell and low-medium weight plates.

I love the simplicity.

Today is a high rep workout that should completely exhaust your legs and have them begging for mercy! It will help lean out legs and burn serious fat.

The goal is to complete 100 reps of each exercise listed below.

I broke mine up into 20-25 rep sets, however toward the end my legs were seriously fatigued, so I did 15-20 some of the time.

The tricky thing is finding the right weight.

Too heavy and you’ll tire too quickly (and risk injury). Too light and it’s not a workout.

Assuming you’re cleared by a doctor to workout, give this one a try.

After a proper warmup and stretch, complete 100 reps of the following exercises, breaking them up into manageable sets (5 sets of 20, for example).

Insert your favorite ab and calve exercises between each set.

Complete all 100 reps before moving to the next exercise.

Ready? Go!

Stiff legged deadlift
Regular deadlift
Split leg deadlift
Squats with weight plate

I realize it’s very basic, but trust me, my legs were still sore even yesterday.

I love it.

I’m going to definitely make time to incorporate last week’s and this week’s leg work into my summer workout plan.

Give it a go and let me know what you think! 

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 5.20.2015

WIOW: Lower Body Work

Last week was upper body, this week is all about the lower body.

I switched up my leg routine last weekend and enjoyed the workout so much I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget (and share!).

I’ve posted a few lower body workouts over the years (just search those words if you’re curious), but this one is new and fresh and more advanced.

Plus it left me sore for days ("Good" sore, not hurt sore!).

Winner.

(Assuming you’re cleared to workout) Don’t go easy on yourself in this circuit. It’s a workout.

Push yourself and have fun.

Somewhat like last week, this workout is multiple rounds, with three sets per round.

Last week we did three supersets with three sets per round, for a total of 27 sets to target our entire upper body.

Today?

We’re kicking it up a notch.

Legs need a little extra oomph and attention when it comes to targeting them. That means we’re doing 5 rounds of supersets, and three sets per round for a total of 45 sets to target hips, thighs, and our glute muscles!

Lots of squats, lots of deadlifts. Hello toned legs!

Each round gets repeated three times before moving onto the next.

Take rests between each round as needed.

On your mark! Get set! Go!

Round One
2 warmup sets & and first three “real” sets:
Leg press machine, start with light weight, and steadily increase heaviness with each set.

Round Two Superset

Leg press machine (yes, again!)
Stiff legged deadlift
Calve raises
Lying leg raises

Round Three Superset
Deadlift
Goblet squat
Weighted calve raises
Weighted Russian twists

Round Four Superset
Romanian deadlift
Squats immediately followed by good mornings
One legged calf raises
In & Outs

Round Five Superset
Walking side lunges
Squat jacks
Weighted calve raises
Decline crunches

Whew! I’m tired just typing.  smile

I’ll be doing this workout Saturday and would love for you to join me!

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 5.13.2015

WIOW: Upper Body Circuit #1

Short sleeve season is alive and well here in OKC.

I don’t stress too much about creating an entirely different gym regimen during the hotter months. I make small adjustments here and there and up my cardio, but that’s about it.

As previously mentioned, my gym time is limited on my longer work weeks. That means I have to train with an upper and lower split instead of more targeted sessions that hit each body part.

The good news is, upper-lower training is a great way to melt calories and fat, and reveal beautiful muscle!

I did a variation of this workout last week, and wanted to share. I actually did a 4th round at the end because I had more time, but figured the below was more than worthy of being a solid workout.

This workout is three rounds, with three sets per round. Essentially, you’ll be doing 27 sets to target you’re entire upper body. Woo hoo!

Let’s get going!

Upper Body Blast #1

3 rounds, 3 sets per round

Round One
Each of these moves is completed with a weight plate in your hand. You may need to switch out the weights, depending on how heavy or light you need each move, but a weight plate should be in your hands at all times!

Bent over rows
Bench press
Triceps press
Biceps curls
Front raises
Russian twists

Round Two
I use the bench on the row machine for all these exercises

Row machine
Lying Cable curls
Barbell bench press
Skull crushers
Shoulder press
Lying leg raises

Round Three
One arm rows
Bench flies
Lateral raises
In & Out curls
Triceps rope pull down
Scissor kicks

Done and done!
I’d love for you to give this a try and let me know what you think and how we might be able to make it even better.

Check in next week for another workout! 

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 5.06.2015

WIOW: An MMA Inspired Workout for Regular Gals

Let’s put on some gritty punching gloves and battle it out MMA style.

No?

Okay, I get it.

Besides, there’s no way I’d be up for that kind of workout anyway.

Instead, let’s take some of the elements these freaky fit ladies use in the octagon and apply them to a routine regular gals like you and I can use everyday without busting up a lip or bloodying a nose.

Sounds good to me.

Last week we explore some lessons we can learn from MMA workouts, and today we’re going to put together a workout for ourselves.

Because of the intense demands of the sports, MMA workouts are typically centered around explosive compound movements.

These types of workouts are excellent for us regular girls because they offer a major bang for our buck- a high level total body blast in a short amount of time.

Enough chatter- it’s time to get our game face (octagon face? I have no idea) on and get to work!

Warm up, stretch, and perform 20 reps of each exercise and repeat 4 times.

Workout

We made it to Wednesday! Downhill slope. smile

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 4.29.2015

WIOW: Mixed Martial Arts (For Regular Girls)

Mixed martial arts seem to be all the rage these days.

Love it or hate it, it certainly is popular.

Is this a fad that will soon pass, or is there something we can learn from this form of exercise in our own personal quest for fitness?

Let’s find out!

Is MMA just another new fad? A quick history!

Believe it or not, MMA was around long before Joe Rogan and Fox cameras were broadcasting sweaty men and women brawling in the octagon.

Mixed martial arts traces its roots back to the Classic Greek era. While there was no cage, the fights were similar to what we see today, featuring a combination of grappling and striking (Little & Wong, 2000). The sport eventually spread throughout Europe.

The 1800s brought a slightly more modified version. A free for all where anything went!

You know the movie scenes we’ve watched with the large mobs of men in the back alleys of bars, basements, or warehouses crowded around cheering “professional” fighters beating each other’s brains out?

We can thank the evolution from the 1800s for that.

While I’m sure the street brawls were quite entertaining, modern MMA technique and history is traced to Asia and Europe which focused on a variety of styles centered around knockdowns and submissions (Journal of Combative Sport).<- and yes, there's actually a journal for it. Ha!

MMA gained even more notoriety when Bruce Lee came on the scene.

What young boy didn't want to be him back then?!

Lee believed it wasn't the dog in the fight, it was the fight in the dog.

In essence, the best fighters might not be those mastered in only one skill, but rather those able to adapt to any fighting style.

The sport continued to evolve, and in 1993 the UFC formed, which brought the world the MMA they know and love (or hate) today.

Ufc
(UFC.com)

As we can see, MMA is much more publicized and than ever before because of mass media, but it’s certainly not a new sport.

Beneficial Tools for Functional Workouts

Now that we know a quick, albeit watered down, history of MMA as more than a sport born overnight, I thought it’d be interesting to consider valuable lessons we could glean!

I believe most every major form of exercise can offer helpful practices for everyday fitness lovers.

While I doubt any of us will be going into a ring to punch the lights out of someone anytime soon, there are actually some incredibly helpful disciplines we can learn from MMA athletes.

1.Endurance

Ever done HIIT training?

I tend to think of MMA like HIIT on steroids. Totally setting all the crazy jabs and punched aside, the amount of endurance and conditioning a fighter needs to endure a fight is beyond fierce!

A high level MMA fighter has to be able to go five five-minute rounds against equally trained opponents.

I get exhausted just thinking about it!

Not only do they have to have the endurance to have that level of intensity, but they must have the patience and discipline to execute well.

That means mental focus, energy, and stamina.

Okay, so maybe we don’t need that kind of endurance in our lives, but it sure would be nice to power through our own challenges without wanting to die, right!?

Aaaand as an aside, many of them can jump rope for.ev.er.

I’m totally jealous of this.

Mainly because of the aforementioned “wanting to die” as we tackle our own challenges.

Ufc
(RondaRousey.net)

2. The importance of cross training

MMA athletes are strong in a variety of areas.

Um, you kinda have to be when someone is coming at you, ready to clobber your face!

From boxing, to wrestling, and karate, MMA fighters have an all around athleticism that benefits them both in and out of be ring (talk about seriously caloric after burn with those intense workouts!).

To make it a little more practical for the average gal like you and me, it would definitely do us good to change things up and get better in a weak area.

Not only that, but increasing athleticism in one area could lead to major gains in another.

If you hit nothing but the cardio machines all the time, add some weights. If you long distance run, add some high intensity sprints to awaken those slow twitch muscles.

Zumba it up and nothing else?

How about a kickboxing class? Hey, we don’t have to be MMA fighters to benefit from emulating their well rounded training techniques! wink

3. The benefit of body weight

Let’s be real, most MMA fighters are ripped.

If you’ve ever watched them train outside the octagon, they do some serious body weight resistance work.

Push-ups, pull-ups, ab work…

Fit.as.fiddles.

4.  How to throw a mean punch

Okay, okay, this one doesn’t exactly have much to do with fitness per say, but I think some of us Minnie Mouse dainty girls sure could use a thing or two about throwing a bow.

Ha!

I just said “throwing a bow.” I crack myself up.

I want to tell myself never to say that again, but I can’t make any promises.

Ufc
(Pixgood.com)

So yeah. I think there’s heaps of valuable tips we can glean from the men and women brave crazy enough to step into the cage.

Check in next week for an MMA inspired workout for regular old gals like you and me!

More to come ❤️

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 4.22.2015

WIOW: All About Metabolisims

Since we talked 30s yesterday, I thought we’d carry it into today, too.

Let’s talk metabolism, gals.

And how it’s not getting any faster as we age.

In fact, quite the opposite! Some researchers suggest the average person’s metabolism can slow by 1% a year after 30 (Gannet).

Not only that, many of us sit behind a desk all day, have kids, commute forever, and eat on the go.

Many of us aren’t as active as we used to be, but our lifestyles haven’t changed to accommodate.

We eat the same way we did when we were 22, but move far less.

WHY ARENT OUR PANTS FITTING!?

That’s a big reason why.

Things seem grim, but before we swear off exercise and start pounding cronuts, there’s hope.

Here are a few contributors to slow metabolisms, as well as ways to keep them revved. Definitely worth discussing at your next doctor appointment.

Some reasons our metabolisms slow

1. Hormones

No surprise here.

They get blamed for everything!

A study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center noted a natural lack of estrogen receptors in the brain due to aging caused mice to gain weight without consuming more calories.

Apparently they also concluded the same principle could apply to humans. Yikes! People often add as much as 10% of their body weight per decade because of how our hormones change with age.

The fix?
Definitely something to discuss at our next doctor visit if we feel we might be affected by this one!

They can offer sound advice and treatment based on hormone levels.

2. Stress

Another one that’s not surprising.

I’m sure we’ve all heard it a million times, especially if you watch late night infomercials trying to sell the next miracle drug- stress leads to weight gain.

Stress increases cortisol, which harms our metabolisms. It contributes to increased belly fat and its signal can also cause overeating.

Overrating leads to weight gain.

Weight gain leads to slowed metabolisms.

It’s a terrible cycle.

The fix?
This is another one to discuss win our docs.

Additionally, managing our stress is so important. Easier said than done, right!?

Things like plenty of sleep, good nutrition, exercise, prayer, community, and avoiding negative situations can all help us better manage the stress in our lives.

3. Sitting

I have no idea if this is credible, but someone told me it takes just 20 minutes in any fixed position to slow the metabolism.

I’ve read and been told dozens of times sitting is the new smoking.  It definitely affects our health, so I’m sort of inclined to error on the safe side and believe it!

The fix?
Get up and move!

Muscle mass is out biggest ally for keeping metabolisms up because muscle stays active even long after we’ve hit the gym.

We cannot underestimate the importance of resistance training when it comes to continued caloric burn and a revved metabolism.

When we’re at the office, it’s also important to get up once an hour, or even just stand during phone calls!

4. Not enough zzzz

According to a joint German and Swiss study, not sleeping enough reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest, resulting in slower metabolic functions and caloric burn.

Not only that, but when I’m tired from the night before, my workouts either suffer, or are nonexistent. That’s not helping my metabolism either!

The fix?
Create an environment for sleep. Remove distractions. Turn off all media at least 30 minutes before bed. Keep your rook dark and cool. I’ve also heard essential oils can work wonders in assisting with relaxation and better sleep. I’m for all of the above!

5. Not eating enough OR eating too much.
Both can mess with a person’s metabolism. When you drastically reduce calories, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down to conserve the available energy. Eating too much doesn’t do much better, especially when it’s coupled with no exercise or motivation to burn off the extra caloric intake.

The fix?
Eat mindfully. Bring snacks to avoid “hanger” and binges later. For goodness sake, eat breakfast, too! I don’t think we need to cover this one too much.

Obviously there are tons more we could list here, but I just found it helpful to create a consolidated spot of these things. It will help me be more mindful! Especially the sitting part.

As I continue to get older and my metabolism slows, I want to stay mindful of combatting the pitfalls and staying on my game.  smile

That’s it for today, friends! Here’s to healthier metabolisms!

Check in tomorrow for more fun, my dearies. 

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 4.15.2015

WIOW: Spring Playlist!

I love keeping things fresh with my workout playlists, and lucky for us there’s always lots of good and positive music continually released!

I’ve talked about the influence of music in my life, and one major way for me to stay focused is through listening to uplifting music during my workout.

I wanted to share my current workout playlist in hopes it might inspire an excellent workout the next time you hit the gym. Not only that, but it also might leave you feeling more positive too!

Playlist

Stop by tomorrow for Thursday Things. All the randomness. 

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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