Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Homemade Protein Shake

*All you pregnant women out there who need some extra protein in your diet and cannot use your beloved protein powder anymore...this article is for you!!!

EASY HOMEMADE PROTEIN SHAKE

-1 frozen banana (no reason to throw browned bananas away, I always break them in half and stick them in a freezer bag for these shakes).

-About 1/4 C Peanut butter (or any type of nut butter..i love almond).

-1 T flax seed (optional).

-1 T wheat germ (optional).

-About 1 C of oats (not quick oats).

-Handful of walnuts

-About 2 C of milk (1%, soy, almond, etc.)

-Sometimes I will add 1 T of cocoa powder or about 8 chocolate chips for a sweeter shake.

That is it!!! Super easy ingredients that are always around the house.  Just blend them all up and guzzle it down!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

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Monday, November 11, 2013

How To's of Bikram Yoga!

For all you yogis out there who do Ashtanga, Power, or even Jivamukti. For all you half-yogis who just do a few moves here an there with a few random classes. For all you non-yogis that have never done a yoga pose in your life. Have you done Bikram?

I went into a Groupon month pass somewhat unknowing and cocky. My thoughts were prideful in a way. I had done a lot of yoga and figured it would be similar to any normal yoga class, but  most likely boring since it is the same exact routine every time. I can now tell you after 1 month of regularly attending .....WRONG!!!

After my first 90 minutes stuck (yes it is a sin to leave the room) in 105 degree farhenheits of sweaty humidified air, I "did not like" AT ALL bikram yoga. I wasted my money and warned all friends and family, who I thought would maybe ever want to try it, to NEVER set foot in a room (or at least not sign up for more than 1 day).

If I was not a money saver I probably would never have set foot back. Or maybe it was the advice pamphlet handed out to first timers that made it sound very important to go the following day and as frequent as possible following that. Whatever the reason was, I took it as a challenge to conquer the art and get my money's worth.  There I was back in the same room the very next day (less than 24hrs).

There were ups and downs throughout the 4 weeks. First day down, second day up, third day down, etc.. I learned to never go to class thinking it would be an easy day. There is something about that heat that you will never know how your body will handle it that day and time.

After the first week, I started seeing benefits, and enjoying my extra workout of the day.  My core was stronger, pores cleaner, more flexibility, increased mood, easier to kick cravings of chocolate, and started drinking more water.

This last paragraph may put my fellow yogi partners in heart attacks (since they listened to my venting sessions for most of the month, while we were  holding dripping towels, clothes, and well just dripping pretty much everywhere you can imagine). I am going to MISS my month pass and am trying to figure out a way to fit this workout in my schedule and budget. YES, it is safe to say I am addicted to bikram yoga.

So after saying this. Here is my pre warning advice before taking a bikram class.

1. Take a huge towel plus your mat. Not a sweat towel, a beach towel. It will be dripping with your sweat after.
2. Take a huge cold water bottle. I would advice a Nalgene size or bigger.
3. Drink tons and tons and tons before (days, hours, after and before). You cannot drink too much in your daily life of doing bikram regularly.
4. Wear as little clothing as you want. No matter how self conscious you might be. If you choose sports bras and speedos, you will not be alone.
5. Give it one month. If you go once you will most likely hate it. *This might not apply if you enjoy feeling like your dying and in the burning red place beneath the earth that no one wants to go to(couldn't get myself to spit out the word, but you know what I mean).
6. Be aware you might get addicted to the workout and beware of the costs that lie ahead in your future addiction (good thing to put $ towards don't get me wrong).
7. This style of yoga is a group class, you will be pressured to do the exact pose, do the exact timing etc.
8. This style of yoga seems to enjoy seeing people in pain. I wish I had counted how many times I heard "pain or hurt", maybe I will next time.
9. Once you are in the floor series it is not easy(as many would like to think). Be prepared to be hugging a furnace and maybe pass out continuing the hard workout.
10. Some of the poses may seem easy if you look them up before hand, but jut imagine trying to grip with gallons of water caked over your body. Pretty slippery to say the least ...but "do not lose the grip".
11. You do not chant, except for "Mommy give me money".
12. You will look like you jumped in a pool and walked out without drying off (and your towel went in the pool with you).
13. It may or may not stink in the room.
14. You should be careful to not bump into anyone after class. Both of you will get "slimed".
15. If you are pregnant I would strongly advice to NOT try Bikram till 6 months after you have your cute lil one.
16. DO NOT, I repeat, do not re use any workout clothes or items that were in the Bikram room with you.. and wash them ASAP.
17. You will see improved strength and flexibility.
18. You will still have the "favorite" teachers and the less favorable even with the monotonous routine.

All in all, Bikram turned into many fun girls nights for our clan, even when the workouts were killing us.  It might do the same for you; but one things for sure, you will be stronger, more flexible, and a lot more sweaty :).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Body sculpt or step aerobics...which one is best for you?

Jamie is currently working on obtaining her group fitness instructor certification so I knew she would be the perfect person to review a few group exercise classes.  They can be intimidating, and there are so many it can be hard to know what is just right for you.  Jamie is also a newly pregnant lady fitting exercise into her 9 months of pregnancy!  GO JAMIE!  If you get to meet Jamie, make her your friend, you will never regret it (I have been lucky to be a friend for 6 years).  I know you will love this review and get out to try one of these classes.

BODY SCULPT AND STEP AEROBICS


I am a huge fan of group exercise. If you are like me, I get a little self conscious when it comes to exercising or trying new movements or weight machines for the first time, and the thought of having a one on one session with a personal trainer watching my every move intimidates me. Group Fitness classes give me so much more peace of mind. Now you may think, “Wait a minute. You are saying instead of having ONE trainer watch your every not-so-graceful movements/form, you’d rather have an entire class do the same?” Trust me when I say, no one is looking at anybody but themselves in that gigantic mirror and/or the instructor up front, especially if they are new to the class or it’s the first day of class, in which case, everybody is new! All participants are sure to be at different levels and just looking for something to spice up their workout and/or try something new, just like you!

 If you are considering a group fitness class, but not sure what to take or where to start I will share a couple that I, myself, have tried and have fallen in love with! The first is Body Sculpt. If you are looking for something dynamic and challenging, this is a great class! Body Sculpt combines dynamic weightlifting at a cardio rate to give you a fun and efficient workout. I love Body Sculpt because it uses a variety of equipment. From hand weights to resistance bands, bosu balls to step blocks, body bars to stability balls and everything in-between. Body Sculpt gives you such an array of equipment and exercises, you are sure to never be bored. Another reason why Body Sculpt is not only fun, but also a great workout is that it is all about efficiency. The goal is to work as many muscle groups as possible. The more muscles you can use, the more fat you burn AND muscle you build at the same time! You’ll do things like tricep dips with a squat or planks with a leg lift. Plus it’s all at a cardio pace. If you are starting to get nervous at the task at hand with a Body Sculpt class, don’t! Like I said before, everyone is at a different level and there are lots of breaks and transitions throughout the allotted time. Also if you start the class at the very beginning and stick with it the workload slowly increases and your body will be able to keep up. 

The second class that I really enjoyed is Step Aerobics. Excuse me if I sound a little outdated, but hear me out. Step Aerobics is an amazing cardio workout. Disclaimer: You will sweat… A LOT.  I didn’t believe it myself when my sister invited me to try her step class she was teaching at her university recreation center. However, I quickly changed my tune after that first class. I don’t think I had ever sweated so much in my life! Step Aerobics is a series of movements of stepping up and down on a portable block. You may choose how high or low you wish to have your step, obviously, the higher your step, the more intense your workout. The beat of the music increases speed as the class progresses. My reasoning for liking this class is because it was a nice break from running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine and a little less mind numbing. It has an element of dance and some jumps and leaps, and as the class progresses, so does the intensity. You learn more complex moves and “routines”, if you will. Also some step classes will combine some core and arm workouts using your step block as well; which is great for someone who is looking for that “all inclusive class”. 

If you haven’t been to a group fitness class and your current gym or rec. center offers them, I strongly encourage you to give them a try. Most gyms have the two classes I just described, plus a plethora of other class that are just as worthy to try! Those two are my main favorites/go to’s. I have also tried Spinning, Yoga and pilates, and yes they all, as well, have my stamp of approval. Get a girlfriend or two together and try a group class. You’ll be sure to get a challenging and enjoyable workout and if you stick with it, you will see some positive results! 

-Thanks Jamie!  Love your insight on the classes!