summer bod: buckle down + step it up!

injury update: thanks to a combination of an amazing chiropractor, an incredible doctor, a “cocktail” of drugs, and a lot of prayer – my back is feeling so much better after my little spill.  the doc said that the inflammation was pretty severe so he had me on some muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory meds which made me feel a bit loopy – i’m afraid to go back and see emails i sent while my head was in the clouds.  anyhow, i took it easy for the week and only had a few minor panic attacks about not being able to hit the gym, but i did walk every day for at least an hour and was more careful than usual with my food intake.  the outcome though was not negative at all: it made me appreciate my body even more, be more mindful with my nutrition, and made me crave the gym….so now that my body is back in action, watch out because i’m ready to go as we head into week #3 of the 12-weeks to a summer bod program.  (p.s. thank you for all the well-wishes/sympathy/positive thoughts!)

last week you (hopefully) hit the gym at least 5 days and were active all 7…and i gave you a nutrition program so you could start cleaning up your act.  here’s the thing: i’m all about enjoying life and my mantra is to “live life fit” but enjoy all things in moderation. but i’d be lying if i didn’t tell you that there comes a time when you have to buckle down and do some dirty work to reach your goals.  training for the competition last year made me realize that sometimes we cave to temptations because it’s easier, but often times we learn so much more about ourselves when we push through.  so as you plan for the coming week really think hard about what your goals are and reflect back on that big goal that is driving you.  how important is it to you?  is temporary satisfaction more important than long-term success?

if you’re following me through this 12-week program it’s because you want to step it up and be your healthiest self that you can be.  and i’m right there with you!  that’s the beauty of this – i’m real…and i have my struggles and insecurities just like everyone else.  case in point: i’m at the grocery store the other day and see 2 guys from my gym and one says to me “oh you’re the girl from the gym with the SICK abs!  i’ve never seen a 6-pack on a girl like that before.”  and all i can think to myself is “uh, yeah….like a year ago!”.  now i’m not saying i’m fat or anything extreme like that – but just because i have pictures on my blog and facebook flaunting my “sick” abs  (i must admit they were pretty awesome…and i literally worked my butt of for them!)…that doesn’t mean i don’t have rough days just like you.  so understand that where i am at right now is probably right where you are!  i could get frustrated and give up – but frankly, that’s not me.  so pick yourself up wherever you are and join me…we’re going to focus as we step it up even more this week!

weekly fitness challenge: burn baby burn!
i can’t stress enough how important it is to keep moving through your entire workout. if your goal is to lose body fat then you’re going to have to torch some major calories.  that means a workout regimen that is a combination of strength training (to build muscle so you burn more calories even at rest) with circuits in between sets and then some heart-pounding cardio sessions.  again – between sets you’ll want to do 30 seconds of either jump rope, walking lunges, hopping up and over a bench from side to side, squat thrusts, pushup, crunches, leg lifts…you name it – just keep MOVING!  we’re going to continue with the same splits this week – and some of you asked what a split is: it’s just a term for how you “split up” working out the various muscle groups.  some splits would be doing all upper body exercises on one day and all lower on the next.  for this program we’re focusing on one body part per day so that you’re in and out of the gym in an hour tops.  for cardio this week – we’re going to pick it up just a bit more because to burn fat you have to burn calories!  just to define: steady state cardio is where you keep your heart rate about the same through the entire workout – aim for about about 75% of your max (max = 220 minus your age).  intervals are where you push yourself every 2 minutes all out for 30 seconds then recover for 2 minutes, then do it again!  take a few minutes and plan out your week ahead in your fitbook: jot down each day’s workouts so you have a plan of attack.  here’s your weekly plan:

monday: back + 35m steady state cardio
tuesday: chest + 20m interval cardio
wednesday: 30-45m active rest (walking, etc.)
thursday: legs + 35m steady state cardio
friday: shoulders + 35m steady state cardio
saturday: arms (bis/tris) + 20m interval cardio
sunday: active rest (play softball, go for a swim, ride your bike – just move!)

**TIPS: for strength training keep doing 3-4 different exercises per body part with 3 sets per exercise. looking to bulk up? do 8, 6, and then 4 (or to failure) reps. wanting to build strength & muscle tone? aim for 12, 10, and 8 reps – but always push yourself so the last rep is tough!  need a resource for WHAT exercises to do for each body part: check out the books/mags that i love or even just go to either shape.com or bodybuilding.com and type in (for example) “chest exercises”.

weekly nutrition challenge: choose wisely
so if you’re in this – yes you may have to forgo some temporary pleasures…but it will be worth it and you might just learn how capable you are along the way!  with summer right around the corner i start switching my afternoon coffee breaks with friends to walking-talking get-togethers and choose to opt for fresh berries for dessert instead of soufflé.  these are choices i make pretty much every day, however like everyone i want to be in tip top shape for summer too.  instead of following some crash diet (four-letter-word!) – i make little tweaks that make a big difference.  here are a few things you should try this week with your nutrition:

  • get a 1L bottle of water and aim to drink at least 2 per day.  then add in 1 cup of green tea (fat burner) and 1 glass of emergen-c (little packs of vitamin c mix at the grocery store).  not only do you take in even more water so you’re drinking almost a gallon a day, but the vitamin c blocks cortisol (stress hormone) that promotes fat storage.
  • fill up on healthy foods like veggies and broth-based soups before a meal – research shows you’ll consume fewer calories at each meal.  just be careful that veggies are grilled or steamed (and not soaked in butter) and that the soup isn’t loaded with sodium.
  • cure your sweet tooth with natural sugars like fruit or even trick yourself into thinking you’re eating something sweet by topping a baked sweet potato with cinnamon and a little (key word little!) splenda.  want my recipes for healthy but sweet treats? click here.
  • limit alcohol.  moderation – yes.  buckling down to get in the best shape of your life?  well – you might just have to say no (gasp!) to some things for a short while. whether it be alcohol or juices or soda – when you’re trying to get in tip-top shape, it’s important that pretty much all your liquids be either water or something low calorie with a health benefit (green tea or coffee…and easy on the sugar/cream).

continue to follow the meal plan from last week – but this week be more mindful of the choices you make.  set yourself up for success and learn to say no.  we get so accustomed to thinking we can have whatever we want when we want it – but the truth is, some things require sacrifice.  you know i’m all about enjoying life, but let’s focus…buckle down…and in less than 10 weeks we’ll be in killer-fabulous shape and be able to “maintain”.  for now, buck-up!

wow. i feel harsh. maybe it’s because i’m so dialed in right now and focused that i don’t want to let anything or anyone get in the way of my goals.  let me know if you have any questions…comments…concerns…or just want to vent.  now that my body is healed (cue the angels singing…awwww!)….i’m so in this and am bringing you right along with me. make it a great week!

in (tough) love,
angela



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