Category Archives: Workouts

New Year, New Home

Guess what?!?!

Today I begin a new adventure!  Actually it’s two adventures!

Today is the start of the last year of my 20′s!  Happy birthday to meeeeeee!

It’s also my first full day in my new home – Tucson, AZ!  Woohoo!

(I just  accepted a new job at BASF and had to move for it)

While I’m very excited about everything, I’m not gonna lie – it makes for quite the melting pot of emotions.

On one hand, I’m sad to leave new York city because I had a fantastic time living there. It was an experience unlike any other.

In the 9 months I was there, I….

…..made some good friends and was reunited with others.

…..got lessons from VERY unexpected places (read about my encounter with a drunk here).

…..ate tons of amazing food (some of it good for me and some of it not).

…..AND I survived mass transit and a 3-4 hour daily commute. BOOM!

 

On the other hand, I have many exciting things waiting for me here in Arizona.

Things like….

…being in the same time zone (and eventually state) as my man
….getting to live on the West Coast
….a cool new job
….gorgeous weather (well for most of the year)
….tons of hiking!
….significantly lower cost of living  (my new place is 3x the size of my NYC studio and half the rent!! ah!!!)

As you can see, there will be lots of things to miss but so much to look forward to, so it’s hard to decide on a single emotion :)

No matter how I’m feeling though, I think it’s probably a good idea to get a workout in today.

Now y’all probably know by now how I feel about working out, but I’m starting to notice that a good workout really helps me process my shit and any emotions I’ve tried to stuff away recently.

More on that in the future….

Anyway, since all my workout equipment is on a truck somewhere between here and New York AND I don’t have a gym membership yet, I am gonna have to kick my own ass some other way.

Enter this Coast to Coast workout I designed just for today.

 

C2C Workout
 Click on the photo to get the deets :)

I feel the title represents both the spirit of the celebrations today AND the workout itself.  Don’t ya think??

Of course I’d never want to deprive you of a good butt-kicking, which makes sharing it here the right thing to do.

So here’s to a crazy 29 years and the new adventures (and sore muscles) this day brings!

<3 Lauren

P.S. I couldn’t be more grateful to celebrate this day with you all. Thanks for being a part of it!

The Best Headband Ever

Q:  What is the most annoying thing that happens to Lauren almost every time she works out?

A:  Her headband doesn’t stay in place and snaps off the back of her head.

Ugh.  So frustrating!!  Have you ever had this happen to you??  If you have, you know how it goes…

The Headband Problem

You’re in the middle of burpees and notice fly-aways that you earlier tamed with a headband are now sticking to your face, getting in your eyes, and annoying the hell out of you!  So you stop and reach back to re-position the band only to find that it’s barely hanging on to your ponytail.

This same cycle happens multiple times over the course of a workout – position band, move for a few minutes, notice band is out of place, stop workout, reposition headband.

Unfortunately this is not a new problem.  I’ve never been able to get headbands to stay in place, and while I know my big head is largely to blame, it’s hard to believe there’s not a headband out there that can outlast my short 20 minute workouts.

The Under Armour Solution

Enter Birchbox and Under Armour.

As chance would have it, this month in my Birchbox I got a “Lifestyle Extra” which just happened to be an Under Armour headband.  I was pretty pumped to try a new brand’s band but was secretly dreading the moment it would pop off my head mid-workout like every other headband in the universe.

photo-22
Excitement and skepticism filled me when I opened up my
January Birchbox and found an Under Armour headband inside.

It was tempting to just toss it out with the empty box, but figured I could at least test it in one workout.

Well, I am ecstatic to report that this puppy is the BEST headband I’ve ever used!  And I’ve tried some quality headbands over the past few years!

While it initially felt a tad too snug, I quickly realized that this is one of two primary reasons the headband stays in place.

photo-26 Seriously, this headband did not move from this
spot for the entire workout!  And I thought you might
want a special photo of my ear…

Why the Braids Work

The single headband is made of 3 separate bands woven together.  These braided bands make for a tight fit without any discomfort.

photo-24 Three of their “mini” bands are woven together to create one thicker band.

The second reason the band stays in place is that each band is rubberized on one side.  These two elements, separately, have failed miserably in other brands’ bands that I’ve tried.  However, Under Armour’s combination is spot on!  You gotta give these a try!

photo-25 The flip side is rubberized and what keeps it in place.  Hallelujah!!

If you were one of the players that had pre-wrap popping off her head every practice OR who these days is always losing her headband at the gym, then give these Under Armour headbands a go.  They’re not cheap but they’re absolutely worth it!

Like I said, I know I’m not the only one out there with headband problems.  Leave a Y for “yup that’s me!” in the comments if you’ve ever experienced headband woes.  :)

<3 Lauren

How the NYC Sanitation Department can help you with your New Year’s resolutions

It was so exciting to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC this year!  While I did NOT stand with roughly 1 million people in Times Square in the 25 degree weather to watch the ball drop, I did get to see the whole area in its before and after states.

The before state wasn’t all that bad.  There were tons of barricades everywhere and NYPD’s finest were out en masse at every corner.  The streets were in their typical “clean” state, so there was some trash but not all that much.

 Times Square before
This is what Times Square normally looks like. On NYE,
they also had barricades and a stage (photo courtesy of bustler.net).

However as I walked home at about 2am on January 1st, the picture was pretty different.  The barricades were being picked up, and there were still plenty of cops out.  The trash situation though was VERY different.  There was confetti EVERYWHERE and garbage all over the place.

The garbage was piling up in the stairs for the subway’s entrance, all over the sidewalks and blowing down the street.  It was food bags and cups, beer cans and bottles, and plastic bags and food containers from any restaurant you can think of.

 Times Square after
This is just some of the leftover mess after the NYE party
in Times Square (photo courtesy of mikeip.com).

It was pretty astonishing the amount of trash that people left on the street.

Even more astonishing though was what I saw when I went to the corner market about 6 hours later….

The city looked normal again!!  The barricades were gone, the number of cops out was back to normal, and all the trash was gone!

I learned later on the news that crews had spent the early hours of 2014 cleaning up 50 MILLION POUNDS of TRASH!  That’s a whole lotta garbage picked up super super fast.

Seeing all the garbage and how quickly it was cleaned up got me thinking about how we tend to perceive the holidays and New Year’s resolutions, in general.

We guilt about how we indulged in treats and drinks and skipping workouts during the holidays.

Because of this guilt, we feel bad and want to get “back on track” as quickly as possible and clean up the trash in our lives.

So what do we do?  We overhaul everything in our life at all once via New Year’s resolutions - what we eat, how we’re working out, how we budget/spend our money, etc etc etc – we change it all.

I call this the “pre-season perspective”. 

In order to completely overhaul so many aspects of your life, you’d have to have a pre-season perspective where you do nothing but think about the things you’re trying to change.

The problem is that we’re not on a team anymore where we have the luxury of quitting everything else in our life while we get our eating on track or while we re-ignite our gym routine.

We can’t put all our energy to these new habits anymore cause we also have families, jobs, friends, and a myriad of other demands on our willpower.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t have more than 1 goal for the year.

I am suggesting that you take a strategic approach to accomplishing those goals for the year.

If you’ve signed up for my email newsletter (did you know you get a free gift when you sign up that includes a workout, a meal plan, and stress reducing tips??), you know that I’m all about focusing on making one change in your life at a time.

Why is this?  The research shows that when you focus on making a single change in your life (i.e. incorportating 1 new habit), the chance that you’ll successfully implement the change is around 80%!   Those are some damn good odds!!

Interesting thing is, when you try to incorporate two changes at once that are both new to you (like 2 New Year’s resolutions), the chances that you’ll actually create a habit for either one drops to 30%.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, just stop reading.  [No no, don't do that.  The point is, that should reeeeeally make you think about how you go about making big changes in your life.]

Here are some examples of how to successfully implement common New Year’s resolutions.

Resolution:  I want to eat better.

Steps to success

-Start with observing/recording everything you eat and drink for one week.  Don’t make any changes, just observe.

-Pick 1 meal to change.  Maybe swap your sandwich at lunch for a salad, fast for 12 hours overnight (don’t eat from 8pm-8am), instead of cereal make a protein shake for breakfast, eat mainly lean protein and veggies at dinner, etc.

-Do that single action/swap till you’re doing it without really thinking about it, until it’s effortless.  This could take a few weeks, so be patient with yourself.

-Add the next change (different meal, more water, extra veggies at a meal, snacking on veggies and nuts instead of chips or crackers, etc.).  Keep making changes in this way until you’re eating the way you want to be eating and that works for YOU.

 

Resolution:  I’m gonna workout more.

Steps to success

-Start with observing – how often are you working out now each week?

-Schedule an additional 1-2 days working out at most, and pick an activity you like to do.  If you don’t know what you like to do, you could sign up for classes to try something out for a few weeks.  You could also try the workouts in my GET SMART workout program.  It’s 4 weeks worth of workouts that need minimal equipment (read: no gym membership).  Check it out here!

-Workout these extra days for a few weeks until it’s easy and it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.

-At this point, add another day or a different type of workout until that becomes effortless, too.  Continue making changes this way until you’ve got the workout schedule you like and will do!

 

So before you decide to adopt the pre-season perspective and go all-out to clean up the figurative 50 million pounds of trash overnight, step back and take a moment to pick the most important thing to you.   Work on that change first.

Leave a comment below with what you decide to focus on changing first!

<3 Lauren

 

Six Ways to Spice Up your Workouts

I’ll be honest with you, my workouts are not the highlight of my day.  I do them ONLY to conserve muscle and maintain my health.  On the other hand, some people can’t wait to workout, and if you’re one of them that’s great!

Once I get going I usually enjoy the workout (especially the wave of endorphins that inevitably follows), but it’s that initial push to get to the gym or start the workout at home that I struggle with most.

Seeing as how this isn’t a new challenge for me, I’ve developed a few strategies over the years that encourage me to get going and make my workouts something I can kinda look forward to!

So if you’re not too fond of exercise or if you just aren’t particularly motivated to workout right now, you might want to spice up your workouts with one or two of the following tips.

1.  Change up your playlist.

Music is a HUGE factor in my workout, so I like to change up my playlist frequently.  If you don’t want to purchase more music, you can always try a new Pandora station or download Spotify.

2.  Try a new location.

I know that routines can be very helpful and productive, but sometimes I just get sick of the SAME. THING. EVERY. DAY.  When I start feeling like this, exercising in a different location can really help increase my motivation.  If you normally workout at home, try an outdoor session or head to a gym.  If you’re normally at a gym, getting sweaty at home can lower the effort it takes to start your workout (no more of the “I have to drive all the way to the gym and then drive all the way home after” excuse).

3.  New workout gear.

When I’m  in a rut, sometimes new workout capris or a colorful sports bra is just what the doctor ordered to boost my motivation.  It may be short-lived, but it definitely helps add a little pizzazz to my workout.  My favorite option for a workout pick-me-up is C9 by Champion at Target, but when I want to splurge, I’ll head to Athleta or Lululemon.

Fun workout capris
This is the pattern on my newest capris from Athleta.
I absolutely LOVE them!  Get em here.

 

4.  Different types of exercise.

I’ve found that changing up what I do at the gym helps me look forward to my sweat sessions a bit more.  If I’ve been doing a lot of interval sessions, I add in more weights.  If I’ve done mainly weights, I add in some intervals or bodyweight exercises.  If you’re looking for some ideas, check out my workout program.  It gives you 4 weeks worth of workouts that don’t require any equipment – just some space and your body.  How’s that for different?

5.  Trick yourself into getting started.

Yeah I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but it works!  There are some days that I am fighting myself tooth and nail. (imagine a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum – “but I don’t WANT to workouuuuuutttt!”)   On those days I say “Hight, all you gotta do is get yo’ ass moving for 5 minutes!  That’s all!  Then you can quit and flop on the couch…”  And you know it’s the strangest thing – by the time I’m through those first 5 minutes, I usually am feeling great and want to finish the workout.

6.  Get a gym buddy.

Knowing that someone is going to be counting on you to show up at the gym is SO helpful in the motivation department.  Plus it makes your workouts way more entertaining!  I remember back in grad school I worked out with my friend Abby on several occasions, and we have a lot of fond memories from those early morning lifting sessions.  :)  Find someone that has similar goals as you do, then hold each other accountable to show up at the gym each time.

 

I know with the New Year right around the corner and the holidays upon us, it’s tempting to say “I’ll go to the gym consistently once January 1st rolls around.”    But here’s an idea — I’m suggesting that you NOT wait until the ball drops to start a routine.   If your motivation is low right now, then you can use these strategies to make working out a more attractive option and stave off the holiday poundage.

Oh obviously, these are only a few ways people can get motivated to go to the gym.  How do you motivate yourself to workout when you’re feeling not so jazzed about it?  Leave your ideas in the comments please!

<3 Lauren

 

4 Reasons to Quit your Cardio Routine

I have a bone to pick with the world today, and it relates to running.

As athletes and even as a society, we rely way too damn much on “cardio” to get us fit.

Seriously, when did we decide that “cardio” was the best way to get back in shape?  Sure, long duration cardio is good for your heart health, but the negative effects completely outweigh the positives when you’re looking to FIRM and TONE your body (read “lose the fluff off your midsection or tighten up those thighs”).

4 Reasons to Quit Doing so Much Cardio

4.  It requires tons of foot-strikes per workout.  Running a mile can mean your feet hit the ground 1300-1500 times in that 10 minutes.  This pounding really adds up!  Ouch!  Your poor joints!!!

3.  The “after burn” effect of steady-pace cardio is pretty crappy.  It’s especially awful compared to lifting where the “after burn” lasts up to 24-36 hours after the workout is over or even sprints.

2.  Over time too much cardio puts undue stress on the body.  Any workout stresses the body, but this moderate intensity/long duration BS that everyone is doing creates a high stress environment in the body.  This can KEEP you from losing weight or even make you gain weight!

HINT: If you look a little puffy or water-logged all the time and you’re doing a lot of cardio? You might be in this stressed state.

And the #1 reason to quit cardio???

1.  You have to do more and more to continue to see results!   Your body isn’t stupid.  It adapts quickly to new challenges.  Every time it adapts, you have to lengthen your workouts to see results.  Who the hell has time for that??

I go into more detail in my DIY workout program, but if you want to get back in shape – if you want a tighter bod – then you have to stop doing so much damn cardio!!

For all you doubters….

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Sorry Lauren, but there’s no way I’m giving up cardio.”

To you I say this – I know it’s scary to think about NOT running or biking or ellipticizing every day…

But I’m not telling you to quit working out; I’m telling you to ease up on cardio so that you have time and energy for more efficient workouts.

All this cardio is NOT helping you reach your goal of a hotter bod, so to get different results you gotta DO something different.

Baby steps towards this “less cardio” goal will work, too.  You can get in an effective cardio session in by trying a workout like this on the cardio machine of your choice…

(best in “Manual” mode)

-Warm up for 5 min
Part A
-Go as fast as you can for 20 sec (increase resistance as needed)
-Go extremely slow (aka recover) with low resistance for 40 seconds
–Repeat 4 more times
Part B
-Go as fast as you can for 30 sec (increase resistance as needed)
-Recover for 30 seconds
–Repeat 4 more times
Complete Part A and B once more each
-Cool down for 5 min

Total workout time: 30 min

Here’s the beauty of sprints, aka high intensity interval training (HIIT) – the total time you’re “working” in this session is barely over 8:00, but you gotta realize that in those minutes, you’re working WAY harder than you ever did during a regular bout on the elliptical.

Why?  Because when you’re pedaling for 30 min at a steady pace, you can’t keep up a super high intensity… not like when you’re sprinting.

This makes the training extremely efficient, and it’s also extremely effective.  Not to mention that as your body adapts, all you have to do is increase the resistance on the machine or sprint faster.  You don’t have to keep increasing your workout time… just the intensity!!  Isn’t that awesome?!?

Now that you have all this information on why boring cardio is killing your “get in shape” efforts, I’m going to challenge you to a duel!

Juuuuust kidding.  It’s not a duel!   That would be kinda fun though… except that I’m not really into violence… so scratch that…  Though I’m sure we could put our heads together and come up with a non-violent duel.  Hmmmmm

Anyway…

Your challenge for the week

Substitute the sprints above for at least half of your cardio sessions this week, and let me know how it goes.  

I will say you’re gonna have a tough time watching TV or reading a book if that’s what you usually do during cardio.  So put that thought out of your mind right now.  It’s gonna be 30 min of actual WORK.

Can’t wait to hear what you think of sprints!  Love em or hate em, I want to hear from you.  Ok??  Good!

Until next week!!

<3 Lauren

P.S. – In my Survive the Holidays workout program, our training sessions will get your heart pumping like cardio but take half the time that you normally spend working out – and I can guarantee you’ll be just as exhausted by the end.

If you haven’t signed up for this FREE program yet, click this link to do it.  Clock’s a tickin’ so don’t delay!

6 Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles

This week I started a new set of workouts. For the past several weeks, well months really, I’ve been doing mainly my killer bodyweight exercises from the program I designed. Why you ask?

Well for one thing, I don’t have a gym membership right now. There’s a gym at my office but I don’t know… It’s a little strange to me working out at the same time as some of the senior execs. To me, the gym isn’t really a place to socialize while I’m working out anyway. The gym is more of a place to #gsd and get my butt in shape.

[#gsd = get stuff (or whatever version of "stuff" you choose) done]

The other thing? The gyms in the city that are in my budget that I’ve seen are pretty nasty looking. And the nice ones are all waaaaaay out of my price range.

Plus, I haven’t had tons of time to devote to my workouts, so the 15 min workouts in that program have been perfect for my schedule recently.

This all means that my apartment and the surrounding sidewalks/playgrounds/Central Park are now my gym. And seeing as how I have less than 100 sq ft in my apartment to workout in, I’ve had to get creative with bodyweight exercises.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s been fun making up workouts that I can do basically anywhere, but the whole not using dumbbells recently is getting to me.

I miss lifting heavy things!

So I’ve embarked on a new set of workouts over the last week that made use of my PowerBlocks (freaking awesome adjustable dumbbells) and creative use of my apartment space.

And ooo wow! The workouts have kicked my butt and made my body, especially legs, ridiculously sore! The reason for the sore body is largely because I’m using dumbbells suddenly after quite the dumbbell hiatus AND because I’m challenging my body in different ways than I have the past several months.  Wins all around!

My guess is that my body started to adapt to those “no equipment necessary” workouts since I hadn’t really changed it up in a few months. So it’s a good thing I switched up my workouts!

Sore Muscle Relief

By switching things up, not only am I employing the power of muscle confusion to help aid body change, but I also have a real sense of accomplishment after I lift. Especially after I lift something heavier than I thought I could! If you have never lifted weights before (or only done the light weights for 20-30 reps at a time) you are MAJORLY missing out on all sorts of physical and mental benefits.

But anyway… :)

Oh!  In case you hadn’t heard of it before – muscle confusion is a training approach that helps avoid plateaus when your body has adjusted to workouts. By changing up workouts frequently, you keep your body guessing as to what challenges it will have to overcome next. This helps you avoid plateaus in your body change goals – be it fat loss or muscle gain.

But anyway, my muscles are so sore from these new workouts that I’m feeling the pain in my legs within 24 hours. And if you have ever done any sort of weight lifting you know that the pain/soreness usually peaks at about 48 hours out from the workout. So when you’re extremely sore at only 24 hours out, you know you’re gonna be hurting bigtime at 48 hours!

But why? Why is that new movements create such discomfort in the body? (As a chemist, I tend to always ask “why”. It’s helpful for science related things sure, but not always for other stuff like people and relationships, lol… but that’s a discussion for another time…)

Back in college, I remember a common explanation for ridiculously sore muscles, that I felt like I always had during preseason, was the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue. Another explanation for sore muscles was – “micro-tears” occur in the muscles leading to painful inflammation.

But you know what? The actual causes of DOMS at the cellular level are relatively unknown.

Let’s pause here and talk a bit more about DOMS for a minute. DOMS is short for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It is a soreness that creeps into muscles usually 24-48 hours after muscles have been worked in ways that are different that what they’re accustomed to and tends to last for several days – sometimes up to a week.

The types of movements that lead to DOMS can be active, passive, and can also be the result of pressure (this is why you might feel sore after a deep tissue massage – hurts so good, right?). But often for us former athletes (and really anyone), it is initiated by movements that involve contraction of muscles while the muscle is actually stretched or lengthened.

Now as much as I hate being so sore that I can hardly walk down stairs, or have to plop into my chair from a high altitude, or stifle shrieks of pain as I gingerly make my way down the stairs, and struggling to stand up from the toilet (sorry for the visual but it’s true, isn’t it?!?!), I have to admit I really like knowing that I challenged my body in a new way.  I EARNED this pain, baby! :D

But after a few days, the soreness is annoying and I’m tired of hurting. Too many days of pain and it’ll be more than just my muscles that are suffering. The intensity and frequency of my workouts might suffer, too.  And less intense workouts are the last thing that I want when keeping my workouts under 30 minutes!

To get around this, recovering faster and reducing soreness are key.  That way, I’m able to go “all out” in my workouts as soon as possible.

What are the solutions for sore muscles? Back as a student athlete, they made us sit in an ice bath for 20 minutes after each preseason training session, but I can’t quite do the whole ice bath thing anymore for 2 reasons. 1- I don’t have the time to sit in an ice bath after I workout and 2- I don’t have a giant tub and unlimited ice to make one with!!

So what’s a former athlete to do??

6 WAYS TO RELIEVE SORE MUSCLES

1. Get moving even if you’re super sore and the last thing your muscles want to do is MOVE.
Resist the urge to not do anything because you’re crazy sore.  Go out for a 30 min walk or a light intensity jog or spin on the bike.  Getting the blood flowing will help circulate the nutrients your body needs to recover and flush out any toxins that are chilling in the muscle fibers.

2.  Drink plenty of water.
In case you’re not already drinking tons of water, you should definitely do it when you’re really sore.  Technically, your muscles are injured after a workout, and your body needs more fluids when sick or injured.  Adequate water intake means your body is well-hydrated and your circulatory system is effectively running on all cylinders moving blood throughout the body.  It’s going to be able to get rid of any metabolic byproducts that might have resulted from an intense session at the gym.  This is the main reason your massage therapist tells you to drink plenty of water after a deep tissues massage.  Gotta flush out the garbage!

3. Stretch after your workout.
It doesn’t hurt to take about 10-15 minutes while your muscles are still warm to do a bit of stretching.  While lifting, your muscles are doing all sorts of contracting.  Why not do a little lengthening, too?  You know, yin and yang??  Contract and stretch?  Get it?  J

4. Supplement with L-glutamine and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).
Supplementing with amino acids can be a huge help in aiding muscle recovery and decreasing soreness.  In fact, I wish I’d known about these supplements back in college!  They would’ve been a lifesaver!  If you’re already drinking a protein shake post-workout, you may already be taking in enough L-glutamine and BCAAs in the protein powder itself.  If not, consider adding them to your post- or even pre-workout routine.

I prefer BCAAs pre-workout for the little jump of energy they give me.  The L-glutamine?  I like to take it post-workout because it’s especially helpful with muscle recovery.  You can typically buy these online or at any vitamin or health shop.  I usually just get the unflavored kind of both then stir into water with a couple squeezes of fresh lime or lemon juice and chug.  Not the most pleasant flavor but they get the job done!   And don’t forget that the key to supplements is CONSISTENCY.  I don’t notice an effect from the L-glutamine if I take it one day, but if I take it 3 days in a row, then I totally notice.

5. Foam rolling.
You’re gonna hate me for this one but I promise it’s effective once you get past the pain.  What you’ll want to do is grab a foam roller – pick one up on Amazon or TJ Maxx for a high quality roller at a good price.  Put the roller on the floor and the sore muscle in contact with the roller.  Then you’ll use your body weight to push down on the muscle (this is why it’s soooo painful – cause sore muscles don’t like pressure!) and roll the muscle BETWEEN the joints over the roller.  Do not roll OVER any joints.

Repeat a down/back process usually about 10-15 times per sore muscle, and you can repeat this several times a day.  It’s not comfortable at first but I find it most helpful before and after a workout.  Essentially it’s a deep tissues massage, so that’s why it’s probably not comfortable….  If you’ve never done this before, there are tons of great resources on the web.  Just google that!

6. Epsom salt bath
I absolutely LOVE a good soak in a steaming hot bath.  One of the few “must-haves” when I searched for my NYC apartment was a full size tub that I could sink into at the end of a long day.  And these hot soaks come in particularly handy when I’ve got sore muscles.  The hot water helps circulate blood to muscles that are trying to recover (therefore bringing nutrients and getting rid of any garbage), and the Epsom salt is a great source of magnesium, a mineral that also aids muscle recovery.  So next time you’re crazy sore, turn on some steaming hot water (don’t burn yourself though!) and throw in a half cup of Epsom salt while the water’s still running.  Sink in and relax for the next 30 minutes… you’ll be so glad you did!

 

Hopefully, you all love the workouts currently on your calendar.  But if they’re leaving you with DOMS of any kind, then consider trying at least one of the techniques above and let me know how it works for you by leaving a comment or sending me a message on Facebook or Twitter.

And by the way, it’s perfectly fine to use ALL of those techniques at once…  Ok, well I don’t recommend trying to foam roll in the tub… I see that ending in disaster!  But anyway, you get what I mean!  Combining all of my suggestions can be even more beneficial than any one on its own.  But the important thing is to do what works for you!

<3, Lauren

5 Fat Loss Lessons from “The Croods”

This weekend I went to see the most recent DreamWorks spectacular called “The Croods.”  Yeah, I’m 9 years old at heart :)  It got a 65% on Rottentomatoes.com, and I (generally) tend to agree with the reviews on there.

5 Fat Loss Lessons from The Croods

I’m glad I went because I enjoyed it!  It was funny (think Ice Age type humor) for kids and adults. Even though there wasn’t as much adult humor as say Shrek had, the cast did a great job (Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds :) ), and there were some really sweet parts – especially father/daughter stuff — I might have shed a tear or two in my popcorn….

Anyway….

I realized later that “The Croods” also had a few lessons for me about fat loss and living a lifestyle that supports fat loss (known by many as the “fat loss lifestyle” or FLL).  Huh?!  I know, right?! I’m just as surprised as you are!

What are these lessons?  Here are the tidbits I picked up…

1.  The cavemen knew what they were doing when it comes to physical activity and balance in energy expenditure.  These people alternated between times of HIGH intensity energy expenditure (you know, running for their lives from some sort of prehistoric tiger OR chasing down their own dinner) and times of LOW or NO energy expenditure.

It was either a dead sprint or a leisure pace.

[I'm also pretty sure cavemen never decided to go do an hour of steady state cardio. :) ]

So, the caveman’s favorite “cardio” would have probably been HIIT (high intensity interval  training), and it’s also my favorite way to approach cardio equipment.  On the elliptical, I go all out for a minute and rest till I’m ready to go again for 15-20 min and wow! I am dripping sweat and feel all sorts of muscles burning!  

2.  Cavemen did a LOT of walking, and walking is a big part of living the FLL.  I don’t mean power-walking either.  The walking I’m talking about is slow, leisurely, and RELAXING.

If you’re on a treadmill, I mean a pace of 2-3 mph.

Walking is a great way to lower cortisol while still moving your body (most exercise actually   releases cortisol which is a good thing when you’re working out!  but chronically high cortisol is not good, so we gotta find things that help us relax and lower cortisol when we’re not working out).

Incorporating 30-60 minutes of leisure walking a day can be a huge benefit for anyone!

3.  Don’t let yourself get ridiculously hungry- cause then you overeat!  There’s a scene where the family hasn’t eaten in a while, then they finally catch some huge bird thing and they devour it all in about 30 seconds.

I know if I don’t eat enough during the day, I become the incredible eating woman when I get home from work.

Eating meals/snacks high in lean protein and fibrous veggies at regular intervals throughout the day often helps many people to control their hunger, energy and cravings (HEC) <– When these get out of whack (i.e. low energy, high cravings, high hunger) it’s easy to over-indulge.

4.  Caveman Guy says to girl, “You’re SO heavy.”  Girl says, “Thank you!!!”  Remember ladies, muscle weighs more than fat.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but don’t forget it when you step on the scale.

As a former athlete, there’s a good chance that you still have quite a bit of muscle on your frame, so don’t fret if you and your girlfriend are both a size 8 but you’ve got a good 15 lbs on her – that’s the muscle!

Avoid the scale. I vote pictures and circumference measurements for keeping track of progress!

5.  Don’t “never not be afraid.”  This is the opposite of what Father Caveman taught his
family in the movie initially (I think his name was Grug but whatevs).  He told his family “Never not be afraid.”

Well, I’m saying to do the opposite.  DON’T be afraid.

How does this relate to FLL?  Cause living a FLL requires changing up how you live your life if you want fat loss results to stick.

And change can be scary.  But don’t be afraid.

Make one manageable change at a time, and these little changes will add up to the FLL over time.

So there they are!  The 5 Lessons I got from The Croods :)  Leave a little love (<3) in the
comments if you’re like me and are psyched when you find lessons in unexpected places!