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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Gorgeous Gams

Legs. Thighs. Butt. For me this is my trouble spot. This is where I gain weight first and lose it last.

I do love my legs.. they have always maintained some muscularity, and they are pretty long so I can stretch out any weight gain and still look proportional but it can be frustruating when you are seeing great results everywhere else but the place you want to see go down the most is the most stubborn! For this reason... I never skip leg day! 

It is easy to put off things that are difficult to do.. and legs are certainly one of the most challenging areas to work becasue a lot of the exercises are big compound movements.. meaning that they use more then one joint. .often requiring your entire body. Boy oh Boy can these muscles burn when you ate really hitting them hard.

If you talk to anyone who knows anything about exercise, muscles, weights, you will be hard pressed find someone who, if asked "what is the one most beneficial leg exercise: ... the answer will 99.9999999% of the time with SQUATS

So.. lets focus on those. I think most people think squats and they think Squat Rack... lots of plates.. some grunting and yelling... and knee injuries. The majority of stereotypes about weight lifting are perpetuated by steroid injected muscle heads and yet the majority of people hitting the gym are very far from this.

The benefits of a proper squat is that it increases ↑↑↑↑↑↑↑ both the flexibility and strength in core, hips, and knees.

A basic body weight squat.. no rack, no barbell, no gym.. can completely transform your workouts and your body.. so lets focus on how to do it.

1- feet should be hip width or slightly wider and slightly turned out

2-back straight and core tight.. actually your whole body should be flexed

3-neck should not be looking at the floor or the ceiling. .this causes strain on your neck and spine..esp when you add a barbell. Keep your eyes and chin slightly up but you should be looking at the wall **this is a debate with body buildings and trainers as many think you should be looking skyward.. do some research, talk to your doctor even and make your own choice.

4-weight should be on your heels and some on the balls of your foot. You should be able to lift/move/wiggle your toes at all times throughout a squat.

5-when you squat down you should be pushing your hips back, keeping back straight and knees remain over the toes..never going past.

6-the weight lifting term "ass to grass" is when you squat all the way down so your calves and hammies are basically touching..and then push back. A full squat is when your hip bone comes parallel to your knees.. anything less is considered a partial squat.

7-when pushing back up you exhale, drive your hips up while clenching your butt.

Doing squats will help you with everyday tasks such as shovelling snow, avoiding injury,  keeping a lean body (glutes, quads, hamstrings burn a ton of calories so keep them in shape!)

See the pictures below for better understanding of how to properly work this amazing exercise. Take 5min while making supper...do 3 sets of 15 body squats every day and your bathing suit will thank you come summer :)

Rock the Squat!
Kara

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Staying on track when travelling

Soooooo... last week my local gym was closed (see previous post) and for the first four days I checked out another gym.

After that Maddy and I were on a road trip to see/meet her family and friends and host sone Arbonne parties.

We drove for 10hours through a storm and behind quite a few sets of plows.. needless to say our bodies were pretty stiff.

The weekend was a great success and we visited London,  Guelph and Kincardine.  I was able to meet all of the people she regularly talks about and we intorduced them to the incredible products and business model that Arbonne offers.

We also did a fair amount of socializing which included quite a few types of craft beer.... every night :/ ... a bit of moonshine (yikes!) And a good quantity of red wine. 

We ate pretty well as its natural for both of us to seek out healthy option when it comes to food.. but the only exercise was the significant amount of walking while shopping.

Here are some tip when travelling and out of your regular schedule to stay active and healthy:

-bring healthy snack with you! Nuts, dried fruits, protein balls, etc etc.. when you have options you will be less likely to pull into the hundreds of fast food places that tempt you along the roads

-choose tea over coffee.  Herbal and green teas are hydrating and satisfy that "need something hot" feeling.

-when eating out look for options! There is always a healthier (and very tasty!) Menus choices.

- dont forget WATER, WATER, WATER!

-trying new gyms are fun but there are many ways to add a bit of exercise into your time away.. walk the streets, see the city, park far away from the mall/restaurant, do some sit ups, jumping jacks and pushups in your room befor tou shower. . Etc etc.. find a few ways to get you moving..even a little.

-Alcohol  .. you be the judge here.. ;) only advice.. get a glass of water every time you get a drink. . Take at least a few sips as the night goes on.

Post weekend my body really needed water and the gym.

That bring us to thus week.

Monday was actually a great workout. I have extra strength from the longer rest time and I hit shoulders biceps and triceps going up in weight in all... my cardio was a different storey and I was dragging my butt mostly from lack of water.

Yesterday Maddy and I murdered our back and chest.. went all out and boy am I feeling it today! Cardio was great as I went back to my BF Jake (please see previous post "date with Jake" if you dont know that he is actually a cardio/ladder climbing machine that makes you S-W-E-A-T 

Getting back to the gym/getting on schedule can be hard when you have a few days off but dont miss it.....  the first day back you need to just do it.. laundry can wait, the messy house can wait..  or plan a differ time..whatever..just get there. Make it a non-negotiable. GET THERE.

Xo
Kara

Below are a few pics from the weekend.. fun times!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

New gym... new workouts

Soooooooooo ...   my regular gym is closed this week for a maintenance thing... Maddy and I ..along with many regulars we often see went searching out for other options. I have been to the local college, I have seen another gym in Cobalt (but they dont offer day pass), I have been to the Englehart gym, have worked out at home, outside and everywhere in between. This week im head in to Guelph and Kincardine and look forward to checking out gyms there too!  I would rather see a new gym then a new mall  ;) but thats a personal thing!

A small gym in Haileybury opened up this year and has a reasonable drop in rate and here are my thoughts (which I shared with the owner of course :) )

Cardio machines are great..treadmills, recumbent bike and eliptical, rowing machine and they also have a mountain climber which I totally L-O-V-E .. see pictures.

They also have a bowflex type machine that uses cables and can hit every muscle type. This isn't my first choice and prefer free weights but it gets the job done and change things up a bit.

Free weights are some small dumbbells.

They do have a boxing bag and speed ball.

So.. with the equipment provided Monday hit legs, tuesday chest/back and Wednesday shoulders/bis/tri's with Interval HIIT cardio as well.

Use what you have and get active...whether thats at home or at the gym.. gind a place where you are comfortable and burn some calories.

I do look forward to gping back to the Pool fitness center in Liskeard next week but hapoy I checked out another place.. and for $5 drop in rate...that mountain climber machine alone is worth it!

Live your best life, make good habits and be happy!
Xo
Kara

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Gym Rat ♡

GYM RAT → Is it a good term, or a derogatory one?

I would lovingly call my derby wife and I, along with the many regulars I see at the gym (you know who you are!) Gym rats.

Personally I think.. if you are going to be a "rat" at anything.. a gym rat would be the best possible kind.. significantly better then a bar rat, or DQ rat, or office rate right??? Agreed. So.. this got me thinking.. what exactly quantifies one as a quote unquote gym rat? Hours? Commitment? Personality? And here is basically my thoughts.

-time. Bottom line is that if you are not in the gym for a decent amount of time.. the label just doesnt apply. How much time??? Well.. depending on your intensity from 1-3hours a day 4-5 days a week. If you are putting in these numbers you most certainly earn the title. NoW .. if you are not hitting this but the next points speak right to your heart ♡ .. that trumps time in my opinion.

- your thoughts and actions about health, wellness and working out are borderline an addiction and the word "junkie" comes to mind.

- all free time is spent at the gym

-when you cannot be reached, loved ones know exactly where you are.. the free weight room

-you know the best times and the best order to work every machine

-have nicknames for your favorite cardio machines and equipment (see previous post about my crush on Jake)

-know all gym staff by name and possibly know their work schedules

-always bring your gym bag in the car "just in case" you get some extra time through the day

-would prefer a first date (or any date) to start at the gym.. I mean how can you date someone if you dont know what they press?  :P JK on the press.. but not on the date idea ;)

-entire social calender revolves around your workouts

-no need to schedule in your gym time or have a reminder for yourself to go.... its a non-negotiable

-you have more workout cloths in your laundry basket then "regular" ones.

-you constantly youtube exercise videos and for entertainment would rather videos on exercise fails then the latest block buster.

-you bypass the 3000 other magazines with 75lb models and go right to bodybuilding or oxygen mag showing 300lb men, ladies with biceps and round booty s & articles on how to eat more and build lean muscle.

-you know 99% of the other gym goers.. if not by name, then by head nod/smile/ and friendly "hey".

And finally, you know you are a gym rat if you are goal orientated, fast, strong, love pumping serious iron, burning calories and put your own health above all else.

Protein shake CHEERS to my fellow Gym Rats! ☆☆☆☆☆☆ Kara

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Measurements - December 3

Wow, I cant believe it has been two months since my first measurments! Time flys when you're having fun :)

My girl Deb and I got together post workout and I am really happy about my progress. If you can get the same person to measure you it is best.. and make sure they know what they are doing!!! If your not sure exactky where tou should be wrapping the tape.. checkout my previous post from end of September "measurements own it!"

 I knew I would see some pretty good losses becasue i was coming off injury (knee surgery, months in my hubbys lazy boy doing F all) .  So before I go into the numbers I wanted to mention some other benefits I have seen.

Energy levels are up, confidence is up, cloths definitely fit and feel better, I no longer get chills (what the heck was up with that!?!? ) probably becasue my metabolism is starting to really hum along. My cardio is significantly better as well as my flexibility. Oh.. ha! And I can use my right leg, bend it well with little swelling and although it is not 100% and I am still struggling with getting strength back.  It is getting better every day.. cant wait till I can squat more then I can bench press!! ;)

Ok.... here it is:

Chest 34 3/4 down 3/4" bye bye back fat :)

Bicep 10.5" down 1.5".. didnt realize I was pretty flabby there until looking at the numbers!

Waist 27.5" down 3"  holy this is awesome!

Hips 37.5" down 1/2"

Thighs 21.5"  down 3" woop woop

Calf 13 3/4" down 1 1/4"

This is SO rewarding and yes.. I do have a ways to go and no..  im not where I used to be.. but I am on my way!!! And here is the kicker and also why you need to do measurements rather then step on a  scale.. my weight hasn't changed!!!

↓fat ↑ muscle

Also just want to note that the only thing I have been changing is the workout/add-in exercise. I am certainly not on a diet of any kind and though I try to eat clean, I am not depriving myself of anything as yet. Conscious and aware .. yes .. cutting out carbs ..nope... no alcohol.. no way! Not yet! Occasional treats.... yes. :) .. 

Looking at these numbers makes me want to push myself even more.. and although my thigh measurement may be someone elses waist measurement or vise versa.. my hip meas. might be someones waist meas... none of that matters.  Sure im posting mine.. and I hope it helps to motivate you but not becasue you need to compare your numbers to mine.. only so that you realize the only person im trying to better is myself and I hope you can have the confidence to do the same.

Be the light for others!  Xo xoxox
Kara

Whats your crutch?

Whats your crutch? What can you absolutely,  positively,  not do without?

Hands down, mine is coffee. I can't pinpoint where and when exactly it became such a necessity..possibly the late nights in college..and no, not late becasue I was studying ;) .

I have managed to scale it back to black over the years and that certainly helps me justify it as it IS low in calories. It also often helps curb a craving for something sweet or more emotional eating where I just put on a cup of joe and all is well again.

When I feel like im a little over the limit in caffeine consumption I will swap in an herbal tea or an Arbonne fizz tab with guana that gives me a kick without the caffeine crash.

Indulging a little is ok as long as it doesnt derail your schedule and goals. With a diet plan we often incorporate a cheat meal once a week. With having that on the schedule it is easier to keep to clean eating for the remaining 6days.

Are you addicted to something that is keeping you from your dream body/state of health/personal fitness goals? (Like 4 donuts a day perhaps ;)  ) Commit to 30 days of going without..swapping in a healthy option. Habits are learned...good habits and bad habits... go thirty days and prove you can do it!!

Honestly, there are mornings when I feel like a crank junkie... hands shaking as I grind my morning coffee beans, mouth salivating at the thought of the rich dark liquid hitting my lips. .. coffee is my crutch. I either make a french press (see pic) or refill the reusable Keurig k-cup (see pic) but I always have the Kicking Horse coffee.. usually the kick ass variety as it is a dark blend and delicious.  This brand is organic (meeting all Canadian, US and EU standards) , fair trade, roasted in Canada, and they support the Canadian Nature Conservancy. Be aware when shopping and make choices that support the things you believe in.  Also with names like kick ass, half ass (their decaf blend) , 454 horsepower,  and grizzly claw.. I also get a bit of a chuckle in the am and can appreciate their look, brand and sense of humour.  www.kickinghorsecoffee.com

For now im keeping it. January 1 I will be starting Arbonnes 30 day fit challenge and that includes no caffeine.. I will keep you posted. 

Moderation my friends!
Kara

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Clean eating chicken balls

I love making recipes CLEAN ..

Basically that means that they have to follow all of the clean eating rules AND still taste great.. because food is fuel ..the better the fuel..the better your body will run...  but it is also one of lifes greatest pleasures..  im not interetsed in eating anything that tastes like cardboard or kleenex..

I am very much a meatetarian ..  meat and veges  is basically what I cook most often for supper. ~ lamb, steak, chicken, salmon, lean pork, lean hamburger,  ground chicken, turkey, tuna as well as any wild meat.. yummmmmm partridge.. and every vegetable under the sun.. also some clean carbs and occasionally pasta.

In all honesty, my cooking is much like my working out (and my life in general) .. I dont really plan what im going to cook and I definitely never cook the same thing in a month.. having Fridays as pizza day, wednesday as pot roast and monday as mac and cheese is not something that appeals to.me.. I also dont do leftovers
.. eat it.once... maaayyybee for mmmmm lunch or breakfast the next day but probably not.  So .. I go to the grocery store..se what looks fresh.. buy it and make supper that night. We keep staples on hand... greek yogurt, fruit, milk, eggs (always!) ans nuts.. small amount of pantry items like.peanut butter, olive oil, herbs & spices, honey, whole wheat bread, brown rice cakes etc etc.

Typically our meat comes froma  local Mennonite butcher. The cuts and quality are better then anyone else.. they make their own breakfast sausage and their bacon barely shribks with littlenamount of grease melting off.... seriously these will be a post all on their own. Today prime ground chicken was on special at the local Independent Grocer and so I went woth that.. got home and decided to make meatballs..... clean meatballs.

Im not a recipe kinda girl but here is approx so you can make them at home.

2lbs ground chicken, 1c ish oatmeal flour (basically throw oatmeal in bullet and shake and grind till four) , 2 eggs, sea salt and ground pepper..mix. I found it a little soft so I added a good handful of whole oatmeal too.

Mix with your hands, pull out balls and fry in a little cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.  use a pan that can go into the oven becasue once you get a nice golden yummy crust throw them into a 350° oven and cook 20ish minutes till no longer pink..this will depend on size of balls..best to check by splitting one open.

I made a sweet & sour sauce for the family but kept mine out ad they were delicious on thier own and I want to start dialing in my diet a little.  I had my sister in law, brother and their kiddos over too so I made some basmati rice, carrots and a salad of spinach, pomegranate (STOKED when these are back in season ..one of my absolute favorite fruits), almond slices, and feta with homemade balsamic dressing.. (please make your own dressing!!!!!) . 

Supper took little time, I have salad and chicken balls leftover for lunch, kids love anything that looks like a ball.. and they were easy to make, provided protein, were filling, healthy and low in fat.. perfect!

Take the time to eat at home. Make food. Know what you are adding and eating. Show your kids how to cook. Give your body the very best so it can perform the best.

Enjoy!
Kara

Going heavy Continued ...f.. yeah!

I am in LOVE with my current workout.. and though I will change it up a little from what is written (sorry Jeff!) .. I am totally into the regular set then heavy set.. like love love love. . ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

i have never hit the weights I have been doing these last couple weeks.. like EVER.

Today was chest and back (yep tuesday!!) And so Maddy and i pushed each other and were doing really heavy sh**. SO rewarding when you see such gaines.

Lat pull down we were doing 85 for 12 reps  and then 105 for 6 .. WHAAAAAT!?!?!  I have honestly never done triple digits. Seated row was the same weight. 

Though through all exercises we were up and feeling tired but totally pumped hitting new PB's (personal best) . With anything you do →always strive to better YOUR personal best.. not anyone else's.

What we did today: 

HIIT on the treadmill for 25min

Pull ups ..unassisted still at 6

Pushups

Chest fly machine

Lat pull downs

Chainsaw pulls

Row machine

Barbell row

Core

Keep pushing..in health and happiness :)

♥KARA


And yes.. sometimes I wear pigtails... and yes.. I am 35 ;) :P

Tis the Season

So.. there will be the regular.. how to stay on track at the holidays.... how to fit in your workouts... how to not drink too much eggnog and spiced rum. Etc etc.. but this is just a little post becasue #1 I saw the pic below, love the Grinch and thought it was funny.. and #2 .. for some reason my local gym is all about playing the Christmas tunes. Yeah yeah.. I know .. bahhhumbug :)

Hmmm..   super happy for my ipod!!! I do love Christmas music.. the kids and I sing them in the car all year round. We often google the words to know more then the first verse of many Carols and look forward to the Holiday season and all that goes along with it.... BUT .... there is nothing ... absolutely nothing about "Silent Night" that gets you pumped for a workout.. or how about "Ill be home for Christmas" to get you really amped up for some heavy lifting??? Ya....No.

Stoked I charged up my music... Rancid it is! 

And just as I was finishing up I was treated to a beautiful rendition of "my favorite thibgs"... you know the one.... "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.." .. so.. in honour I created my own "favorite things ~ gym version" .. keepthe tunes and sing along :)


Barbell and Kettlebells and feel in the burn

Intervals and supersets, no taking turns

Walking on stage with bikini and bling

These are a few of my favorite things.

Bulking and cutting and not eating carbs

Forced reps and hard sets in converse high tops

No sugar, white flour and no gin slings

But these are a few of my favorite things! :(

Lean body mass and hitting your peak

Pass on injections and being a juice freak

Racking up.plates and supplement stacking

These are a few of my favorite things!

When the glutes ache

When the calves sting

When my lungs are feeling had

I look at my pipes and know im the king

And then I dont feel so bad



****ya.. im a total geek like that :) enjoy!


~Happy December 1!

Xo
Kara

Monday, 1 December 2014

Tis the Season

So.. there will be the regular.. how to stay on track at the holidays.... how to fit in your workouts... how to not drink too much eggnog and spiced rum. Etc etc.. but this is just a little post becasue #1 I saw the pic below, love the Grinch and thought it was funny.. and #2 .. for some reason my local gym is all about playing the Christmas tunes.

Hmmm..   super happy for my ipod!!! I do love Christmas music.. the kids and I sing them in the car all year round. We often google words to know more then the first verse of many Carols and look forward to the Holiday season and all that goes along with it.... BUT .... there is nothing ... absolutely nothing about "Silent Night" that gets you pumped for a workout.. or how about "Ill be home for Christmas" to get you really amped up for some heavy lifting??? Ya....No.

Stoked I charged up my music... Rancid it is! ~Happy December 1!!

Xo
Kara