Plexus Day 5


First Mix: 10:15
Off to a late start this morning! I had breakfast before I took my slim because I was too hungry to wait 30 minutes. Still not a fan of the taste.


I was exhausted most of the day but slept well. It was a rainy summer day, perfect for being sleepy. But I didn’t succumb to the urge to nap.
I worked, did errands and worked out before dinner.
Again, I did not take the second slim. I had the tiniest hint of a headache after my first slim today, so perhaps tomorrow afternoon I will add the second slim back in.

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Home Workout 4

Here’s another home workout you can do sans equipment! Just you and the comfort of your own home. No excuses! If you have questions on the exercises, leave a comment!

Perform each exercise for 12 reps or 40s where indicated*, straight through the set.
Rest as needed, or 2 min at end.
Repeat for 3 sets.

  • Single leg step ups (12 on each side) – use a chair or sturdy chest.
  • Inchworm – keep feet planted, walk hands out to straight arm plank, hold, walk feet back in towards hands and repeat.
  • Jumping jacks*
  • Forward lunges w arms up (12 on each side)
  • Push ups
  • Forearm plank

Good luck!

Recipe of the Month! [Tuna]

Tuna Salad

There once was a time I couldn’t even stand the smell of tuna once the can was cracked, but those days are long gone. Now, I love tuna. Tuna melts, tuna salad, plain tuna, you name it.

I grew up eating whatever type of tuna my dad mixed up, which typically consisted of white tuna, celery and a whole bunch of mayonnaise.

Now that I’ve been to school, studied nutrition, and been focused on a healthier lifestyle, I can’t stomach mayonnaise on anything.

So I substitute his 2 tbsp of mayonnaise for 3 tbsp of Greek yogurt instead! It tastes, in my opinion, even better. Instead of making the tuna taste too sweet, it gives it a little tang which goes nicely with the celery.

Photo Jun 11, 1 55 56 PM

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt – I typically use plain Oikos or Chobani
  • 1 can of tuna – I typically go for white, dolphin safe tuna

*Note: I make the entire can at once and eat it over the course of a few days, as it lasts just fine in the refrigerator!

Looking for more nutrition facts on this recipe:

celeryoikos nutrition tuna

*For nutrition information, just look at the labels! Or, this website is super helpful in helping calculate calories and macros. [CalorieCount.com]

So all in all, this is a pretty light snack. Throw it on some whole wheat bread if you want with a slice of Swiss cheese for a more satisfying tuna melt. Or do it like I do – straight from the tupperware container with a little bit of pepper!

Photo Jun 11, 1 55 26 PM

Hope you like this substitution. It’s healthier and just as delicious. If you don’t like tuna, give it a try anyway to mix up your diet. Enjoy!

Dear Coach: Losing Weight

Clients: You’re lucky you’re so skinny/toned/small/etc/etc/etc……..
Me: It’s not luck!!!


As a personal trainer, I think it’s really important to be able to relate to my clients when it comes to fitness goals. Most of my clients assume I’m just one of those special, lucky people who are naturally thin and fit without even trying – one of those extremely blessed people who can eat literally anything they want, as much of it as they want, and not gain a pound. But that isn’t me. While my weight loss total wasn’t over the top or as significant as most, it still counts and it certainly gave me insight on how difficult it is to lose weight!

When I was a senior in high school, I gained about ten pounds. Part of this was travelling abroad and experiencing Spain’s diverse foods to the fullest and part of it was not continuing to exercise when my team sports seasons ended. A big part of this was being social all summer with my friends, going out for ice cream every chance we got before jetting off to college.

My freshman year of college at UMass Amherst, I gained even more weight. The “Freshman Fifteen” is real people – especially at a school like UMass where the dining is delicious and all you can eat. Not to mention that if you want it to be, the drinking scene can be heavy.

By the time I was heading into sophomore year of college (I transferred to Gordon at this time), I was over 135 pounds. I had never weighed more than 120 in my life. I’m not extremely tall, about 5’6″, so 135 is on the upper end of an average weight. But I was clearly not muscular, not toned, and definitely not fitting into my old jeans.

That spring, I really took to the gym and started eating healthier. I lost about 5 pounds over break and came back feeling awesome about it. So that summer, I decided to forego all ice cream excursions and dedicate myself to getting my cardio in every week. It wasn’t just one thing I changed, but my whole lifestyle. I slowly cut out junk food to the point where I didn’t even crave it anymore. The gym became a haven where I could de-stress and love the work my body could do. The roads of my town became my treadmill and I revelled in making it farther and farther on each run.

By the time I went back for my junior year, I lost all the weight I had put on and then some. I fluctuated between 115-120, but continued my healthy eating habits and exercise routines. Maybe losing 15-20 pounds doesn’t sound like much. But it was a lot to me! I could see the difference and feel the difference physically, emotionally, and mentally. I had more energy, was happier and more focused, and I felt more confident and motivated in other aspects of my life.

Photo Jun 20, 6 52 52 AM Photo Jun 20, 6 53 52 AM

[After freshman year of college (2011) I was at my heaviest (left photos). Most notable is the weight in my face (chubby cheeks!) and arms. Right photos are 2014 and 2012 respectively.]

Photo Jun 20, 6 55 34 AM Photo Jun 20, 6 57 34 AM

[Again, left photos are all 2010-2011. Right photos are 2012 and 2014. Again, the weight in my cheeks and arms is most notable, but I also lost quite a few inches around my waist and stomach.]

No matter what your fitness goal is, it’s important to do it for YOU and only you. Be determined and love yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve when you get closer to your goal. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen over night. Surround yourself with people who understand what it’s like – what it’s like to strive toward your goal, what it’s like to slip up and fall off track, what it’s like to lose motivation and get down on yourself, what it’s like to crave dessert, what it’s like to feel your body burn during your workout, what it’s like to achieve that goal.

I always tell my clients that I certainly did NOT always look the way I do now. And I still have fitness goals I want to achieve. There is a reason I always refer to your fitness journey as a journey, and it’s because you’ll never be “done”. Even when you achieve your goal, there’s always another one to strive for, or at least maintain.

I was really discouraged when I finally realized I had put on 20 pounds and could barely do a push up or run a decent mile. But I’m glad I went through that journey because it’s allowed me to relate to all my clients who have weight loss goals and struggles. I can get personal and honestly say, “I’ve been there, I GET IT.” It’s hard, and it takes time and dedication, but it’s a day to day process. We’ll get there.

  

 [Present. 2015]

-Coach A

Get Back on the Bike

Today, I want you to go into your shed, garage, or other storage unit and wipe the dust off your old bicycle. Fill those old tires up with some air. Adjust the seat, because you’re not twelve anymore and probably have a few extra feet on your frame.

But just because you aren’t a kid anymore, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get back on the bicycle. In fact, this is one bandwagon you should definitely hop back on!

Bike riding is a phenomenal workout. And with the gorgeous summer weather here, there’s no reason you should be doing your boring cardio routines on a stationary machine in a stingy gym.’

Here’s why bike riding is so great.

First of all, there’s these things called bike lanes on most roads now. So, it’s not as dangerous as you think to be out cycling on the roads. If you’re at a busy intersection, just cross as a car and follow regular traffic rules. As a rule, I always wear a helmet too. This doubles as protection and a visor from the sun. Now, to the stuff you’re really interested in…

Why biking is so good for you.

You get a full body workout. Yes, you’re primarily working your legs to propel the bike, so your glutes, hamstrings, and calves will look great. But working the handlebars also gives tone to your arms. Plus overall, you’re burning tons of calories while riding – which contributes to fat loss and therefore, overall slimming and toning effects. Going for an hour bike ride, even at a slow or moderate pace, can burn hundreds of calories. And since you’re biking outside, taking in the changing scenery and paying attention to the roads and traffic, you’ll barely notice the time passing!

If you choose to incorporate some hills into your ride, you can up the intensity and overall workout you’ll get by standing and pedaling out of the saddle. This engages your arms even more as you grip the handlebars, as well as activates your core to keep you stable as you climb.

Additionally, biking gives your joints a break. Biking is considered a low impact form of cardio. Spare your knees for a change and switch from running, walking, hiking, etc., to biking. When you’re running, your knees are receiving the impact from hitting the ground, but since you’re smoothly cycling the pedals around instead, your joints are spared.

To make sure your knees won’t get sore or irritated from this low impact, albeit repetitive, movement, make sure your bike is fitted properly for your height. There should be just a slight bend in your knee when it’s fully extended on a downward pedal.

And finally, you’ll reap the usual benefits of doing cardio in general. Your heart will be stronger, you’ll reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, feel better about yourself and be more alert. You’ll de-stress by working out and you’ll get to enjoy the great outdoors. So do yourself a favor, and get back on the bike.

Exercising in the Heat

Is warmer weather finally approaching? Is it time for a tropical vacation? Do you still want to get some exercise in and stay on top of your routine? If so, here are a few things you should understand about exercising in the heat to stay safe and maximize your workout.

Various body adaptations occur as we adjust to warmer temperatures during exercise. Some things happen immediately, while other adaptations occur over time as you continue to get used to exercising in warmer temperatures. Here are the basic, major adaptations that occur.

HEART RATE, STROKE VOLUME, & BLOOD VOLUME

Short Term: Initially, your heart will work harder when you begin exercising in the heat as it attempts to maintain homeostasis. You may feel more sluggish exercising at the same intensities in the heat than you do at lower temperatures. This is because your body is working harder to stay cool and fuel your muscles in the heat.

Long Term: Once you adapt to the higher temperatures, your heart will be under less stress. Your heart rate will actually decrease but you’ll still be able to work at higher intensities. This allows you to perform better because as your heart rate decreases, your stroke volume, which is the amount of blood sent out with each contraction of your ventricles, increases.

Additionally, with an increased plasma volume, your body will be able to send more blood to the skin’s surface to cool you down, and also more can be sent to the muscles to allow them to work at their best.

BLOOD VESSELS, SKIN, SWEATING, & IONS

Short Term: Your body will immediately begin to sweat more in the heat, as your core temperature rises. Sweating is how your body tries to maintain homeostasis. In this case, homeostasis looks like your body attempting to stay within the ideal core temperature range. To do this, your body will sweat more as it tries to cool itself down.

In order to sweat, your body will increase skin and muscle vasodilation. This means your blood vessels widen, or dilate, in order to allow more blood to flow near the skin’s surface, where heat can be lost via convection, evaporation, and radiation.

Initially, sweating more than normal leads to a lot of water loss, which can lead to dehydration. You can lose more than 3 liters of water per hour while exercising in the heat, depending on duration and intensity. If you aren’t careful about drinking a lot of water or another beverage containing some electrolytes before and after a workout, this dehydration can lead to hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a serious issue wherein your body is unable to cool itself. You might become dizzy, faint, and nauseous.

Long Term: Sweat is a mixture of mostly water and some salt. As your body adapts more to exercising in the heat, your kidneys will get better at holding onto the salt and excreting mostly just the water. This is a good adaptation because if you sweat a lot and lose too much salt, it can cause ion imbalances which can lead to cramping in your muscles.

The temperature at which you begin to sweat will lower as well. This allows your blood vessels to dilate sooner and your body to begin sweating, and cooling itself, sooner. This maximizes the benefits of sweating and lets you cool faster.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

If you are competing in higher temperatures that you are used to, you might want to give your body a week or two to adjust so that you can perform safely at your best. Your body makes most of these important adaptations in just one week, then results begin to plateau around two weeks.

Wear appropriate clothing that is light or designed to aid in evaporation, like compression clothing.

Additionally, wearing sunscreen will protect you in the sun and help prevent cancer and other skin issues. Wearing sunglasses or a hat is also a good idea to minimize squinting in the sunlight, which can cause headaches and wrinkles if done for a prolonged period of time.

And of course, if you know you’ll be exercising for a while in the heat, be prepared and pack plenty of fluids!

REVIEW

Short & Long Term Adaptations:
1. Blood volume and plasma volume increase
2. Heart rate decreases
3. Vasodilation of blood vessels
4. Sweating more, sooner
5. Retaining salt

Things to Remember:
6. Sun screen
7. Sunglasses/hat
8. Light weight/compression clothes
9. Water/gatorade

Next time you jet off on a tropical vacation or summer comes around and you want to exercise, you need to be smart! Think of how your body works to keep you safe and at your best in warm weather, then respect those limitations and needs, and take care of yourself.