Back to School 6-Day Workout Program

Back to School Time

Back to School Time

Hard to believe it’s nearly that time of year. The Staples commercials are in full effect and Walmart line-ups are reaching an all-time high. My boys have their new backpacks and lunch bags ready to go and I’m mentally preparing myself to get back into supply teaching full swing. I have to think about school Lunch and Snack Ideas for my lads again.

How did you do fitness-and-health-wise this summer? Did you gain a few vacation pounds? I did better this summer and maintained my weight. I tried to keep up with some light workouts and I’m thankful that I did because my knees are pain-free. Really, I think it’s the stretching at the end of a workout that’s key. I don’t really stretch unless I’ve exercised, which isn’t good.

Anyways! If you’re looking for a challenging gym workout, here’s one that you can do in 4-6 days (just remove one or two of the cardio days if necessary). If you only have 3 days a week to workout, try my 3-Day Workout Program.

Here’s the Program (modify as you see fit):

Monday: Legs  

Superset #1

  • Seated Leg Curl 3 sets 15 reps
  • Squats 3 sets x 15 reps

Superset #2 –

  • Reverse Lunges 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Leg Extension 3 sets x 15 reps

Superset #3 –

  • Plie Squat – 3 x 15 reps
  • Split Squat (see pic below) – 3 x 15 reps

Tuesday: Cardio/Abs

  • 25 mins HIIT Cardio or 35 mins Steady-State Cardio and Abs

Wednesday: Back/Chest/Shoulders and 15-20 mins Cardio

Giant Set #1

  • Barbell Row 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 3 sets x15 reps
  • Seated Shoulder Press 3 sets x 15 reps

Giant Set #2

  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Cable Crossovers (or Dumbbell Flies) 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Lateral Raises 3 sets x 15 reps

Thursday: Cardio/Abs

  • 25 mins HIIT Cardio or 35 mins Steady-State Cardio and Abs

Friday: Arms/Cardio

Superset #1

  • Seated Dumbbell Curl 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Triceps Push Down (or Kickbacks) 3 sets x 15 reps

Superset #2

  • Standing EZ Curl Bar 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Lying Down Triceps Skull Crushers 3 sets x 15 reps

Superset #3

  • Seated Hammer curl 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Triceps Bench Dips 3 sets x 12 – 20 reps

Saturday: Glutes and 15-20 mins Cardio

Superset #1

  • Glute Bridges (see pic below) 4 sets x 20 reps
  • Kick Backs 4 sets x 20 reps per leg

Superset #2

  • Deadlifts 4 sets x 20 reps
  • Wide Stance Squats 4 sets x 12 reps

Sunday: Day off 

Split Squat (source: crossfitzone.ca)

Split Squat (source: crossfitzone.ca)

Different Types of Glute Bridges (Source: http://losing-every-extra-pound.tumblr.com/)

Different Types of Glute Bridges (Source: http://losing-every-extra-pound.tumblr.com/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you like the program. Let me know what you think!

Yours in Health and Happiness,

Erica 

Tone It Up – 28 Days to Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous Review

214461Yesterday I wrote a review about Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis Method and it was a bit negative. Today I want to share with you an A-MAZING workout program created by Katrina Scott & Karena Dawn. I purchased their book Tone It Up: 28 Days to Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous when school ended and I did their program over the month of July. I missed a couple of days here and there but I really enjoyed the book. I don’t have one negative thing to say!

 

 

Positive Points: 

 

047891_TIU_771) This book is UPLIFTING. Each day there is a Word of the Day and a Mantra which are inspiring.

2) The women are happy and healthy and REAL. Their pictures throughout the book make you want to get together with your BFF and frolic in the ocean.

3) The workouts are totally do-able and challenging. They progress weekly and include cardio workouts (follow theirs or do your own), HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and Circuit Training. You can choose your own weight based on your ability or do some exercises without any added weight.

 

black_blue_angle_photoshop4) I did the workouts while camping one week. All I needed was a mat, two sets of weights (I brought 10 lbs and 5 lbs), and my GymBoss timer. A timer is helpful and I recommend getting one. You do not need a gym membership to do this program – it can be done in the comfort of your own home or while travelling.

5) There is no diet included but there are wonderful healthy eating tips. I admire the women for not creating a cookie cutter diet to go with the plan. Bravo!!

 

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 because it follows my personal philosophy of healthy living.

Yours in Health and Happiness,

Erica

Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Method Review

Hi there. It has been a ridiculously long time since I blogged and I feel a bit awkward getting back into it. It’s like that first moment when you see someone from your past and you don’t know how to start the conversation. How are you? What have you been up to? How’s the family?

Okay, niceties aside, I feel compelled to do a few fitness guru reviews (try saying that 10 times fast). Today I’m going to give you my opinion of Tracy Anderson. I don’t want to be negative and I realize that karma can be a real you-know-what when you put others down but I’m writing this from a health perspective entirely.

Womens-Health-June-2015-Gwyneth-PaltrowFirst off, I purchased the June 2015 Women’s Health magazine with the beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow gracing its cover. Gwyneth looks lean and healthy and happy and she says that she feels more comfortable in a bathing suit now than she did 20 years ago thanks to Tracy Anderson. She began working out with Anderson in 2006 and now the two women are business partners. The magazine article was just so positive that I Googled Tracy Anderson and purchased her Metamorphosis DVDs.

The DVDs arrived in the mail last week and I was so excited to try them out… inside the package are several pamphlets and a tape measure that my boys broke in about 2.5 seconds. One pamphlet is entitled, “Let’s Get Started,” and on the first page is a message from Gwyneth, herself. It is extremely positive and ends with, “Her program might seem a little tough at first, but stick with it. Have faith in Tracy – she transformed my body and I know she can do the same for you.” Lovely.

tracy-anderson-coverNext page is Tracy’s message… First sentence is: “Perfection is possible.” Uh-oh. I don’t like where this is going. Right off the bat that is such a scary message. What exactly is perfection? Tracy goes on to say, “Picture your ideal body, whether it’s a sexy celebrity body, or a friend that you have always admired. My Method allows me to design that dream for you.” Honestly, I can’t believe how horrifying it is that somebody can make a delusional promise like that. I probably would have believed that crap in the past. A better message is this: Be the Best YOU. Don’t try to be/look like somebody else or you will set yourself up for failure. 

Okay, this brings me to the next pamphlet, her “Dynamic Eating Plan.” Holy smokes, there’s nothing dynamic about it!!! You basically starve yourself for 90 days. Not basically, you DO. And no wonder she can make guarantees about weight loss when you aren’t putting proper nutrition into your body. First off, Tracy does not provide a daily calorie count. I’m 5’11” so no cookie cutter diet is EVER going to work for me. If you starve yourself, you actually mess with your metabolism. Anderson says, “I’ve spent years researching nutrition and its effects on the body – both good and bad. I’ve developed an eating plan that’s healthful and delicious, promotes weight loss, satisfies cravings, gives you mental clarity, and offers a path to physical transformation.” Bull$#%^!!!!

I wanted to see if anybody else had researched her bogus diet and I found out that the daily calorie count for the first week is 700 calories!!!! I also found out that many other women have shared the same thoughts about this program. One woman had a tough time not vomiting up her “Power Juice.” Needless to say, I’m not into dieting anyways, so I decided to just jump into the workouts and see what I thought.

The Metamorphosis Method is a 90-day program with 6 days working out and 1 day rest. Every 10 days the “weight” workout changes but you have to do the same half-hour cardio dance each time. I found the dancing pretty fun but I can’t imagine doing it every day. BORING!! Tracy gives a bit of a pep talk on her cardio DVD, and tells you that “Even if every family member has had big hips for the past 17 generations, you don’t have to.” Wow. What about that minor thing called bones? And again, she states that if you do everything she tells you to do, you WILL have a perfect body.

The “weight” routine. Notice the deliberate quotation marks. Tracy says that you never need to use more than 3 lb weights because unless you can keep up with weight lifting, you’re just going to end up with saggy skin when you’re older. Wow. I say lift what you can because your muscle mass decreases after age 35 and personally, I want to be able to get up when I fall without a broken bone when I’m 80 years old, thank you very much. There is nothing wrong with a dancer’s body, and I think Tracy looks stunning, but I find muscle on women to be equally, if not more, attractive. To each their own. No shaming, no judging.

side-dip-and-high-lift-400x400Tracy begins the routine with some arm lifts, which are slightly challenging with the 3 lb weights due to the arm positioning (and the fact that I have long monkey arms). She then does standing and floor ab work, and finally, she moves on to the gruelling butt/hip work. I purchased the Hipcentric DVDs so I can only imagine what the Abcentric ones are like… I have to do 5 different leg exercises on my hands and knees for a total of 220 reps on each leg. There is NO rest. I feel compelled to do the workouts because I spent $140 on it!!! I did the workout twice last week and three times this week. The only body pain I have is in my neck from being on my hands and knees for so long!!

Final thoughts: I think this workout is okay if you don’t mind repetitiveness. I might incorporate these workouts in with others just to keep my body guessing. I don’t agree with the diet at all. That’s all for today. Talk to you soon.

Yours in Health and Happiness, 

Erica

Benefits of a Gym Membership

Time to WorkoutI’ve been a member of several different gyms since I was 18 years old. I have also worked out at home, but I realize that I am just not as motivated when I’m alone. There is a certain energy that comes with a group of people from all ages and walks of life on individual health missions. A vibe. It’s downright inspiring.

My first gym membership was in Squamish, B.C. I had moved there with my parents from Clearwater, B.C. right out of high school (Dad was posted there with the RCMP and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life). I worked at the Sea to Sky Chevron gas station as a cashier and at Gem Jewellers (sometimes both jobs on the same day) but was a bit lost. When I first started working out at the gym I just did cardio. I got on the treadmill and was like a hamster on a wheel. It wasn’t until I joined the Army that I realized what a real workout felt like. When I moved to Petawawa, ON (with nothing but two big duffel bags) I joined the Base gym for free. I looked at all these big guys working out and felt like a weakling. But it wasn’t long before I learned my way around the equipment – having programs ripped out of magazines helped a lot.

When I was posted to Kingston, ON I had access to the Base gym, but I decided to join a little hole in the ground (literally, it was in the basement of a strip mall) and that was the first time that I really felt gym comraderie. There was one other fellow from the military there, but the rest of the people were civilians and a group of them met at 6 a.m. to do circuit training together. They asked me if I wanted to join in and I said yes. It was so much fun, and I never wanted to miss a workout.

Here in Toronto I joined Goodlife Fitness and I have been really happy with the clubs. Here are my top reasons for sticking with a gym:

1) Motivation – Hands down, #1!
2) Day Care – When the boys were babies, the daycare was an amazing place. I got to have a workout and I also got to meet some wonderful women (a few whom I’m still good friends with today!).
3) Equipment – I only have workout videos, a few weights, bands, and a ball, so I find the various equipment at a gym really keeps my body guessing and makes my workouts so much more fun.
4) Classes – I used to do classes all the time before kids, and they were a ton of fun!
5) Regulated Temperature – Here in Canada, a run outside is not always an option (I have seen many people brave inclement weather, but icy sidewalks are not my idea of a fun time).
6) The Extras – Massages, swimming, hot tubs, steam rooms…

Anyways, those are my reasons for sticking with a gym. It’s really cool when you go back after a hiatus and see the same people there. You feel like you never left and they welcome you back and ask where you’ve been. It makes you feel special. If you are looking for motivation and don’t already have a gym membership, I encourage you to consider it.

de2efda7547f55791f2ded229c35d26aYour in Health and Happiness,
Erica

16 Reasons Why You May Not Be Losing Weight

136560654Are you struggling to lose weight and feel like you’re banging your head against a wall because nothing seems to work? Do you think you are doing everything right but aren’t seeing results? I have felt like this before. First things first – you must write down what you’re eating, drinking, and how you’re exercising. As well, your lifestyle plays a key role in weight loss. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you overworked? Stressed out? All of us have stress in our lives but it is important that we can channel the stress in positive ways.

Here are some reasons why you may not be able to lose weight (beyond eating too much! that’s a given!):

High cortisol levels (cortisol is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands that acts in response to physical, mental, or emotional stress) may play a role in lack of weight loss if you find you are doing everything else “right.” Shapefit.com has this advice for keeping your cortisol levels in check:

1) Avoid very low calorie diets, especially for prolonged periods of time. Low calorie dieting is a major stress to the body. Low calorie diets increase cortisol while decreasing testosterone. Do not starve yourself!!

2) Use stress reduction techniques (stress, anger, anxiety, and fear can raise cortisol)

3) Avoid overtraining by keeping workouts intense, but brief (cortisol rises sharply after 45-60 min of strength training). Very important.

4) Avoid overtraining by matching your intensity, volume and duration to your recovery ability. Decrease your training frequency, and or take a layoff if necessary. Ease into workouts if you are a beginner or have taken some time off from exercise.

5) Suppress cortisol and maximize recovery after workouts with proper nutrition: Consume a carb-protein meal or drink immediately after your workout.

6) Get plenty of quality sleep since sleep deprivation is a stressor and can raise cortisol levels. Easier said than done if you have a new-born, but understand that this may be playing a role in lack of weight loss. Give yourself a break and don’t stress! Eat healthy and don’t give up.

7) Avoid or minimize use of stimulants; caffeine, ephedrine, synephrine, etc. I personally have to have my cup of coffee in the morning – it keeps me going! But I just restrict it to one (big) cup.

8) Limit alcohol since large doses of alcohol elevate cortisol.

9) Stay well hydrated. Some studies suggest that dehydration may raise cortisol. Drinking lots of water is just sound advice anyway. Sometimes we feel that we’re hungry, when really, we’re just dehydrated.

Check out this great video:

Some other good ideas for weight loss are:

10) Ensure you are getting appropriate amounts of Vitamin D 

11) Be mindful of your eating. Chew your food. Taste it. Savour it. Imagine it fueling your body.

12) Refrain from dieting. Eat a balanced diet. Stay away from stupid fads that have you cut whole food groups out.

13) If you have an office job, be sure to get up and stretch, take a brief walk, etc. Try not to sit for long periods of time.

14) Switch up your workouts. Your body gets used to the same workout over and over and over… Shock it. (not literally)

15) Try interval training or circuit training.

16) Eat several small meals each day rather than three large meals.
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If you can think of anything else that has worked for you, feel free to comment below.

Yours in Health and Happiness,
Erica